Thursday, July 26, 2012

How Did We Ever Survive?

Without air conditioning....

Phlox Blue Paradise loves the heat and has been deadheaded to keep blooming until frost.

Our central air stopped working the other day and you would have thought we were all going to expire, even the dog was miserable.  Luckily, our service man came quickly and had us back in the cool the next day.

Phlox Lavender David

Phlox David
Later blooming

Phlox Eva Cullum
Later blooming

Phlox Franz Schubert and Laura
Deadheading now for rebloom until frost

My Mystery Phlox
Unlabeled last year at Home Depot

Phlox Thai Pink Jade
A gift last spring from the Garden Writer's Workshop

Well, I guess you can see I am really hooked on phlox for the heat.  Even in 100 degrees and some water it bounces back.  If you really want to love phlox just make sure you plant something in front of it to cover it's not too pretty legs.

I did not grow up with air conditioning but I do remember my brother and I going to my aunt and uncle's house (they had all the modern conveniences) and putting our faces in front of the window unit.  Maybe it didn't get this hot then, but in the city the homes were quite close together with little air circulation.

Geranium Blue Sunrise begins with yellow leaves that slowly turn green, weaves gently, loves the heat!

Bob's Blunder Geranium, hugs the ground but also weaves very gently, bronze leaves and tiny lavender flowers - doesn't even know how hot it is outside.

I could barely think about the garden when I was wondering where and how I was going to sleep.  I think I now know how the plants feel with day after day of heat and no cool place to go.

Heliopsis Sunshine Lorraine
I have had this plant for several years and this is the best it has been.

Daylily Tetrina's Daughter
Tall and slim, about four feet middle-late blooming

We didn't spend much time in the house during the summer, catching fireflies in jars during the evening and going to the park district pool during the day or frolicking under the circular sprinkler on the front lawn.  After building our little tent cities in the backyard sleeping under the stars was a great treat.  The popsicles tasted like real fruit with banana being my favorite.

I had to take the zinnias out of this planter because I could not supply enough water to sustain them, but not so for Verbena Imagination.

Dahlia Mystic Illusion and Phantom Petunia and I have certainly found out what Gerber daisies like - HEAT!

I am planning ahead for more hot summers, Allium Summer Beauty has been planted for summer, fall and winter interest.  It likes the heat and is drought resistant.

I was a gardener back then with my carrots around the catch basin, rhuburb and corn along the south side and morning glories growing up the garage wall.

My carrots now are coming up under the daylilies in my vegetable garden, daylilies cut down, carrots revealed.  Well, we will see how this works out!

(The header is the alley garden with Panicum Northwind, Centranthus Alba, Agastache Blue Fortune, Nepeta Walker's low, Sedum Autumn Fire and Sedum Vera Jameson - all drought and heat resistant)


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Eileen girl !
Isn't it amazing when we think back to our childhood and how we lived .. we lived on the shores of Nova Scotia when I was a youngster then moved to Ottawa when I just started my teens .. and the change of climate even back then was hot for us .. we survived without AC though!
All your plants are looking lovely.
You do the most fantastic containers I have ever seen .. your garden is so full and lovely I don't know how you keep up with it!
Keep it coming because it is gorgeous !!

Lona said...

Hi Eileen. We are so spoiled anymore. LOL! I know when our electricity was off I was going stir crazy and smothering. LOL! Your phlox is so beautiful this year. Much better than mine. Mine just did not grow well at all. Have a lovely week.

Balisha said...

This comment is going to be full of compliments. First of all...I love your header.
Then the way you wrote this post..your way of interspercing bits about your life amongst the pictures of your beautiful flowers. You paint a lovely picture...Balisha

Darla said...

I was just telling my girls the other day about when I went to Costa Rica and they do not have a/c or screens on the windows...your phlox might be Nikki...glad your a/c is fixed.

Beth said...

Eileen, You are right to be thinking about plants that tolerate heat and drought. Kind of makes me sad to think this type of summer could happen on a regular basis. Last night I told my daughter we are thinking of moving to Houston to get away from the hot summers here! lol
Love your phlox - what a great performer and beautiful colors. Love verbena Imagination too.

Zoey said...

Gerbera daisies never do well for me. Maybe it's because we don't usually have temps over 80.

I only have a window AC unit in my bedroom. I don't know how I could sleep on the few hot nights we get without it so I can imagine your pain.

Neat idea to plant carrots under the flowers.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joy,

My friend is going to Nova Scotia this fall, hear it is a beautiful place. I have had trouble with a few plants I used in containers, won't be trying them again.

I am becoming an expert with the hose nozzle and hopefully my arms are improving from dragging the hose around. I bought the industrial one at Home Depot and it weighs a ton!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lona,

We are spoiled with all of our conveniences. The phlox has done well in the heat and I just do a broadcast of fertilizer in the spring. However, I am reading that it does like to be fed compost around the base.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Balisha,

We will wish we had some of this warmth in a few months. But, from what I am hearing our weather is on the upswing as far as warmth.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey, I have never had luck with those Gerber Daisies either until this year. You may be right, they need high heat to flourish.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Darla,

I hate not knowing which plant I have, but it was such a good price I couldn't pass it up. It could be Nikki but it seems more coral than the ones I saw on the internet.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Beth,

My neighbor just moved to Houston last week. We were feeling sorry for her but I think she is better off than us right now!


Leslie's Garden said...

Hot is right! And I grew up without air, too. Even with air I still complain about being hot! I think it might be hot flashes:) Your phlox are gorgeous. Do you find they give out after a couple of years and need replacing? I haven't had too many of them and after about 3 years they start looking kind of ratty. Your pots are gorgeous, and I love that pretty little pink allium.

Mary Anne said...

Eileen: Funny, my phlox is looking gorgeous and thanks too for your tip on dead heading phlox. Didn't even know dead heading would bring more flowers to this HOT HEADED perennial. Your tips on other plants loving the heat will go into my file of Heat Loving flowers! Need you to speak at VG in the spring. I will be in touch. M.A.

Kalantikan said...

Your plants don't look like they suffer from heat. They are better adjusters than us perhaps. And if you feel the heat there is already too much, you should experience ours during our dry season. Our plants die, even deep rooted trees sometimes die too, and that is even with very high humidity of 85-90%. What about that? You are luckier!

Bernie H said...

There was no such thing as air-con in any of the houses in my small home town whilst I was growing up. We all survived somehow. I remember pleating a piece of card at night time and using it as a fan to help cool me down on a steaming stinking hot summer's night under the mosquito net!

Glad to hear you had the air-con fixed in quick time. It's hard to go without when you've enjoyed the comfort.

Your collection of Phlox do indeed seem to be thoroughly enjoying all the heat. Gerberas do very well here too in our summers. As usual your garden is looking as pretty as a picture, despite the conditions.

Larry said...

Hi Eileen... this is a good year for phlox and yours are certainly a testament to that! I had all but eliminated them from the gardens because of mildew problems, but am now returning to them... especially the disease resistant shorter varieties and the 60 plants I added this year are for the most part looking great. I can't say as much for all my new delphiniums but I've always had some difficulty establishing them. We had a nice slow 8/10ths last night around midnight and another 2/10ths today... things really perked up! A lot of rain has been missing us but some areas have been getting torrents here in Wisconsin... I feel like we may be turning a corner... I certainly hope so... take care, Larry

Yael at Home Garden Diggers said...

I love all of the colors of your phlox. They are so beautiful and fragrant.

Yael from Home Garden diggers.

Jennifer said...

Hi Eileen, I have been asking myself the same question. What did they do in the days before air conditioning? We only have a few window units, but at least they take the edge off. Yesterday, I bought a few more phlox. You just have to love them at this time of year.

The Country Nest said...

Funny I think we have all gotten used to the AC and now it is hard to survive without it. I used to work in the heat all day and be fine, now I am good for nothing and the heat zaps me.
Your phlox are so beautiful and I love them all.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Leslie,

I have not had trouble with phlox giving up after a few years. I notice I lose a few stems each year but it seems to fill out again the following year.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Mary Anne,

Some pholox take to deadheading better than others. Blue Paradise seems to be the quickest to rebound with more blooms.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Kalantakin,

I know heat is all relative and it's just that we are not used to it.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Bernie,

You certainly live with more year round heat than we do. I guess eventually we will learn what to grow that will flourish. Right now a lot of people are still trying to grow plants that do not do well in the heat.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Larry,

I am planning on adding a few more phlox varieties. They do well in my garden because they don't take up a great deal of room and can come up behind other plantings.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


The phlox are becoming the new staple in my garden along with the daylilies.


Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

It's hard to believe that it's been hotter in Chicago than North Carolina. I had all my friends in Chicago teasing me about how hot the summers are here but then I reminded them how warm the winters are :-) I think this extreme heat is just a this year thing. Last year in Carolina there was a bad drought - this year ample rain. Let's hope so !

Alicia said...

You have some beautiful blooms! Our air con broke down last summer, it was dreadful. I think the heat felt worse because we were so used to being cool inside.

Cottage Garden said...

I've heard how hot it is out there Eileen. Well done for keeping your lovely garden going! We had a week of high temperatures and now we're back to normal!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Yael,

Thanks for dropping by!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Carolyn,

I hope you are right about the heat, but the climatologists are predicting that this is going to be the norm. Whatever I plant I try to keep this in mind.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks for visiting Alicia.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jeanne,

Between your rain and our high temps we must have broke some sort of record this summer.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Country Nest,

I am dripping every day this summer. I am sure it is not healthy to go from intense heat into the cool air.


garden girl said...

My dad was big on technology, and we grew up with a/c (along with having the first color TV on the block.) As long as I have a cool house to retreat to, I don't mind the heat too much. But it sure can be tough on garden plants, especially combined with the lack of rain!

I love all your heat and drought tolerant plants, Eileen. You show how right plant, right place, right conditions can equal beautiful garden, even if the tough weather conditions we're experiencing this year.