Pink dahlia and blue Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)

Summer’s End

It’s over…

Yes, I know summer doesn’t officially end for another 2.5 weeks. But according to the meteorological reckoning of seasons, as opposed to the astronomical one, summer ended with the month of August.

I am happy to kiss it goodbye. Summer had a late start here, but once it got going, it delivered a moderate heat wave almost every week. Nights were relatively warm too, so cooling the house (no a/c here!) was a bit of a project. It worked like this: first thing in the morning, open every window and door and get fans going to pull in the cool air of dawn. Once the outside temp starts to climb, shut all those windows and doors as well as curtains and blinds. This would keep the house at least 5 (Fahrenheit) degrees cooler than the peak outdoor temp. As soon as the outdoor temp dropped below the indoor one (usually by 7 or 8 p.m.), we opened everything up and got fans going again. Tedious, but fairly effective.

Now, I recognize that temperatures in the low to mid 80s (degrees F) are not considered super hot by many, but our “normal” maximum high temperature is 22C (72F). And most of us lack air conditioning. Hence the whining. And while I’m doing that, I’ll just add that there has been no rain at all since early July, so I’ve been best friends with watering cans, hoses, and sprinklers.

Blue Lacecap Hydrangea August 2022
This hydrangea now has its own soaker hose, so performed beautifully this summer.
Blue Lacecap Hydrangea August 2022

The Scarlet Bishop

Red Dahlia "Bishop of Llandaff"
Dahlia “Bishop of Llandaff”

One of my two dahlias (the other is the pink one in the featured image at the top of the post) is this scarlet variety called “Bishop of Llandaff.” It’s named after an actual person, and has been cultivated in gardens since 1924. The contrast between the bright flowers and the dark foliage adds to its appeal.

I have several plants. Three are planted in the ground, and have survived the winters. The ones in pots winter in the basement. They grow much better than the ones in the ground; this year the tallest branches exceeded 5 feet (pot included).

Red Dahlia "Bishop of Llandaff" closeup
Red Dahlia "Bishop of Llandaff" closeup with bee
Bees like the Bishop too!

I know there will likely be more warm days, but the sun sets earlier and rises later. The fog bank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca is swelling and drifts onto the land at times. Autumn is on the doorstep, and I’m ready to welcome it.

60 comments

  1. It’s virtually the same here in Belgium Audrey, and I too am looking forward to a cooler fall. I recognize the morning routines with the windows and fans! Here it’s been regularly 27-30C (80-86F) with peaks up to 34C/93F. We too are in drought conditions. Whereabouts are you located by the way? Oh, another by the way: I’m reading She Who Comes Forth!

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  2. Oh Audrey! What gorgeous photography and flowers…Muy bien! I, now only have a small, tiled garden and patio, which – nevertheless – daily please me. To see the sweetly-aroma-ed Stephanotis flower twice…was a huge treat. For my beautiful, childhood, rose-smothered garden to numerous others along the way, I give grateful thanks. xx

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  3. Beautiful blooms, Audrey. I still have the odd patch of colour, but nothing worth showing off. Yes, it feels like it’s over here too, though I’m reluctant to let it go. I’ve been waiting for the summer to get back into its normal stride, normal warmth, normal rains. Some trees are so stressed out with the dry they’ve been showing signs of autumn for weeks, their leaves turning, and we’ve had some early falls. On the plus side, the lawns haven’t needed mowing anywhere near as often. Your technique with the fans is one I’ll remember for next year. Air conditioning is almost unheard of here, too.

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  4. You may as well have been living in Spain! Except it doesn’t cool off at night. It has been a hot one (30C to 40C) most days. Yes, we have A/C but who wants to sit in the house all day? Fortunately, our complex has a pool so I take my book and sit in the pool and read. Your garden looks lovely inspite of the hot weather.

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  5. You are a credit to your garden and vice versa. We have (and need AC) but I still complain. We have a very spoiled New Guinea impatient that visibly wilts every day about 3 if there has been no rain, so one of us has to lug a single watering can out the front door, down 4 steps to water the delicate one and her more hardy plant siblings (geraniums, a Meyer’s lemon tree that we bought to late in the season for any blossoms, and an aster. Compared to what you do, we are definitely slackers. 😉

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    1. Not that big, actually. About 12 x12 inches. Every 2 or 3 years I take the tubers out and reset them in fresh soil just as growth starts. It’s also easy to start new plants by rooting cuttings of the new shoots.

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  6. Fall is my favourite time of year. Preparing, putting up ‘stores’ for winter (whether its food or memories), enjoying the smell of autumn and the textured cooler air… all wonderful. Love you pictures, Audrey!

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      1. Yes, it got hot earlier than usual and lasted for many, many days in a row, with very little rain. I moved my potted plants around a lot! The flowers lived but didn’t bloom much. The tomatoes also struggled but are now doing a bit better.

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  7. Hi Audrey, 22 degrees Celsius is cold for me. Our temperatures are that during our winter during the day time and I wear vests from May to September. I don’t like anything below 25 degrees C or about 35 degrees C. The lack of rain is a real problem everywhere it seems. We are predicted to have another cool summer with a lot of rain (above average).

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  8. We used to have ducted aircon, but it died of old age a couple of years ago so now we only have two wall units, one for the Offspring and a small one for my office. And we get 40+ C heatwaves in summer, so I do that same open-shut-open routine as well. Do you have any fans? They help with evaporation so you feel a bit cooler. Love the hydrangea!

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    1. Thanks, Meeka! Yes, we do have fans, and use them to pull in cool air in the evenings and early mornings. Some say one should blow the warm air out of the house, but our dog appreciates the little breeze from the fan, so we direct it inward.

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              1. lmao – oh I can see that! We had a little Aussie terrier cross [ankle-biter size] and if she didn’t want to move, she’d go limp dog. Total dead weight. Just the thought of such a big dog doing the same thing has me in stitches!

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