AT THE END OF THIS week we can kiss July goodbye. It’s been an above average temperature July for sure and around my house in Ridgeland and it’s been an above normal amount of rainfall July. I know the storms have been very spotty but the spots have been above my house for the most part. I work with seven or eight guys every day who are from all over the metro area. It’s interesting to hear every morning just how spotty the storms have been. One guy will say he had to pull over on the way home due to heavy rain and someone else saw not a drop.
Mimi and I have had every rain that has floated over the state it seems. We had a big night out planned at a concert that was going to take place at Renaissance Mall a couple of weeks ago. The opening bands played, and we had a blast seeing everyone we knew at this great event. Before the sun went down the temperatures cooled down nicely. Just about the time the headliner band was to start playing we could see dark clouds in the distance, the cooler wind began to blow a little harder, then we began to see lightening. There was an announcement for everyone to hang tight while we wait to see if this thing was going to blow over. The beast of a storm headed right for the concert area. The next announcement was for everyone to run to their cars and wait for the storm to move on and that the band will play come Heck or high water.
We were having so much fun we decided to sit in the car and listen to some music and wait it out. When 11 p.m. came we looked at each other and agreed that surely the band wouldn’t start this late. We went home disappointed that we didn’t get to see one of our favorites, but we had fun trying. We don’t get out much. The next morning we woke up to find out that the band did, in fact come on at 11:30 to play a full concert. They let everyone that hung in there into the VIP section. Some of our friends that stayed said it was really fun to be a part of the small crowd that stuck it out. If we had waited 30 more minutes we would have been in that tribe.
Last weekend we were leaving our house to make it to the Brandon Amphitheater to catch Chris Stapleton when we got a call from the friends that we were planning to meet there that there was a rain delay. We checked the radar and decided that it was going to blow over by showtime, so we headed that way. Luckily we were right this time and the show went on.
I guess during these hot and steamy months there really is a 50% chance of rain every day. I don’t even listen to the weather reports during July and August because I won’t believe them anyway. I just keep things covered as if it’s going to rain.
Our yard looks so lush for this time of year, it looks like we live in coastal Oregon. The lawn is thick and green, our bedding plants look as if it’s late spring and our newly planted trees are growing like crazy. I’m used to seeing things shutting down when we get this kind of heat, they usually sort of go dormant just to protect themselves from the stress. The only bad thing is that the weeds in my beds are also growing like there’s no tomorrow. It’s going to have to cool down a bit before I do anything about that.
There are a few things that need to get done before the end of August. Your camellias and sasanquas need to have their final pruning. If you wait any later than that you will be taking the chance of having way fewer blooms next time they bloom. They begin setting bloom buds right about September 1 so you won’t want to be pruning off next winter’s blooms. Azaleas need to get their final haircut for the year before the end of August or the same thing will happen, nothing worse than a low bloom spring because of a mistake made back in the summer.
I lay off the fertilizers during August and September just because I don’t like to stress the plants any more than the heat already has. This is why I use the slow release fertilizers that organic fertilizers give us, nice and slow just like a plant likes it, there’s no reason to push them any harder than they need be.
This is a great time to shop your favorite garden center for deals. Most of us are trying to push our stock out of the nursery so we can prepare for the fall season. Some of the sales will be on gift and hard goods and usually plants can be found for a bargain. You can plant this time of year; you just have to be diligent about planting them properly and about watering them correctly.
Landscape companies plant all summer long. We try to educate the customer about keeping the plants thriving until the rains and the temperatures begin to fall later in the year. It’s a good time to freshen up the mulch that you use to keep the ground around the plants cool and to keep those weeds at bay. Freshening up your mulch this time of year is a very inexpensive way to make it look like you just got a new landscape when you really didn’t. I’m thinking about pulling up everything in my vegetable garden tomorrow. I’m just tired of looking at the spotty tomatoes and I can’t keep up with the okra. My beans stopped producing weeks ago so the whole garden is just a mess that makes me feel like I need to be out there fooling with.
I just don’t feel like it so I plan to clear it all out except for the asparagus bed. I will mulch my rich soil and just let it lie until it’s time to plant our fall garden. I’m not saying it’s time to do this to your garden, I’m just saying I’m just not in the mood any more this summer. I’m throwing in the veggie towel for this summer. I think I’ll like the cleaned-up look better than them screaming at me every time I walk to that side of our yard.
I’M HOPING THAT you’ve had a great July and can sneak yourself to the beach or the mountains or wherever it is that allows your mind some peace from all the news these days. The ridiculous television and social media world are enough to make you wonder what in the world is wrong with humanity these days. I have found that unplugging from all the silliness sure makes it easier to see the real world and to realize that people really aren’t as bad as the rhetoric makes us want to believe. Free yourself in the soil of your private utopia in your own back yard.