Yesterday the actual temperature reached 90 degrees and the humidity was typical for a Michigan summer day. In other words, it felt like I’d been hit in the face with a hot, wet cloth when I stepped outside. A sensible person would have gone immediately back into the air-conditioned house. But I’m me so I decided to do a little gardening in the heat.
Several years ago I accidentally planted a Joe Pye plant in the west flower bed and a Diablo Ninebark in the east bed. The ninebark ended up directly in front of the living room windows. It was supposed to go in a spot that has a large blank space between two of the bedrooms. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late.
The ninebark has grown from an almost tiny shrub into a monster that regularly covers the living room windows. Not only is it unattractive but our living room faces north so that shrub keeps even the tiniest rays of sunshine from coming through the windows.
Mr. Comfortable had cut the shrub back in the spring but over the last couple of months it had grown a tremendous amount. And I picked yesterday to do something about it. Because gardening in the heat is the best way I know to cause sunstroke.
Some of you may be wincing at the thought of me hacking at the ninebark in the summer. It’s not the time to trim shrubs. I know. It could kill the ninebark. I know. But when I started gardening in the heat I stopped caring if anything else survived. If I’m going down I’m taking everything with me!
I continued to randomly chop off branches. Should this summertime hack job kill the shrub I know it won’t break Mr. C’s heart. If it survives he’s going to have to move it in the fall. This is a project he’s not looking forward to with great joy.
When I finished cutting back the excess I was so happy! It was so gratifying to see the windows and I know that devil shrub will not only survive but will probably grow back to its 10 feet by September.
Once I’d finished with the ninebark I sat down with some ice-cold water, thanking God that we have central air conditioning. A smart person would have realized at this point that gardening in the heat we were experiencing was a bad idea. I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being overly smart.
Early in the morning I’d looked at the vegetable garden. It was cool out then since the sun was barely up. There’s a tremendous amount of work to do if I’m going to salvage even a little of what I planted. And we had watered the night before so the ground would be easier to work.
So I set out to do just a few things in the vegetable garden. First I had to record its deplorable state.
One zucchini and a few cucumbers are all that sprouted from my
second planting. My poor Roma tomatoes are stunted and sad.
Then I decided, since I was already seeing black spots in front of my eyes that I’d only do a little bit. Letting the majority of the work wait for a somewhat cooler day seemed like a good idea at that point.
I started with the bell peppers. And I ended with the bell peppers. Honestly I didn’t even finish the peppers. While I’d love to say I grew light-headed and drifted gracefully to the ground like some fairy tale princess I think the reality is that I hit the ground like a very large slug. One minute I was sitting yanking at the weeds growing all around a pepper plant. The next minute I was lying nose to nose with the weeds and feeling nauseous.
They found the body here.
Gardening in the heat may have seemed like a good idea but it turned out to be anything but. Once I realized I wasn’t inspecting the base of the weed from really close up I picked myself up and went inside. It’s sure to be cooler at some point in the next few days. Meanwhile I’m sure I can over-exert myself in the house instead!