I’ve finally reached an amazing conclusion. If I’m going to garden through the long, hot summer, I should do so in early morning whenever possible.
Not exactly innovative, you say? Intelligent gardeners have been doing that forever, you snicker? Yes, well, there are two common warnings about being outdoors in summer, especially a southeast Texas summer. Avoid being out in the sun in the middle of the day and beware that disease-carrying mosquitoes are worse at dawn and dusk. I can expand on that. Where I live, it’s extremely damp and buggy until mid-morning. After that, it’s blazing hot. So, which will it be, mosquito bites or extreme heat? How about both? Let's toss in ninety percent humidity, free of charge, with either. I usually pass. But this year, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m on a rampage. My bare patch rampage.
But I’m taking a little azalea break today. Trust me, it’s needed.
I worked in the garden a lot this past weekend. At one point, in the heat of the day, I realized that not only was I covered in sweat and dirt, but also insect repellant. I hate having bug spray all over me. It’s one of the reasons for my boycott. But this year I’m out there. Of necessity, I cover myself with insect repellant. I spray it on in the middle of the day as needed. In this particular garden of ours, at this time of year, we need insect repellant almost any time we’re out there.
Please bear with me while I review. In the middle of the day, it’s very hot and moderately buggy. In early morning, it’s moderately hot and very buggy. But if the repellant takes care of the bugs, then it’s less hot AND less buggy. Moreover, the garden will have been tended before the work day even begins. It's a win-win.
Congratulations to all of you for knowing that since forever. For me, it’s a wonderful revelation. Let me enjoy it, insect repellant and all. After all, now I have more time in my garden.
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes. Even then, it’s often not necessary to engage.
As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.