Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Barbecued Pig Wearing Lipstick

We're in the middle of a heat wave here in the PNW, and my garden has become the equivalent of a smoked, barbecued pig, despite the sprinklers and hoses that I've been hauling around. Although they were predicting triple digit temperatures, it looks like the high of 95 last Friday was the worst it got. Still, for this part of the country, where it rarely hits 90 in the summer, that's hot. And we've been getting more temps in the 90s this week.

Diphylleia cymosa (I think) dying back despite getting watered every other day

Looks like it's ready for Halloween

Another leaf of something -- Astilboides? -- in the same bed

As of the end of the day Tuesday, there was a record-breaking lack of rainfall in the region as well. A record of 51 days without measurable rain at Sea-Tac airport was set between July 7 and August 26, 1951. We are now at 52 days and counting.

I freely admit to not watering this poor Uvularia

Poor Schefflera delavayi, I limbed up the serviceberry that was providing shade last fall without thinking -- too bad they don't make plant band-aids to fix boo-boos like this, Mama kissing it won't help much

Rheum palmatum collapses and dies in the summer no matter how much water you throw at it

If you follow my blog, you probably know how I feel about hot weather. That's not just a matter of dislike. It literally sickens me. My digestive system reacts badly to hot temps, I get nauseated and lose my appetite. (Don't tell me to just drink more water, it's not dehydration. Believe me -- Been there, tried that.)

If Rodgersia lives, it will get moved in the fall to a spot where it will get more water and more shade -- although come to think of it, I've made that promise before

Some of the patterns are kind of pretty

Then, of course, to add even more distress, we've also been blanketed by smoke from wildfires in British Columbia, which has aggravated my asthma, and brought on fits of coughing every time I go outside. The only good thing about the smoke is that it mitigated the heat somewhat. The sun reflected off the smoke in the air instead of heating things up as much as it would have otherwise, which is why it only reached 95 and not 105. The Weather Service has issued an air quality alert, which states in part "Many places in the interior from Seattle southward were reporting air in the unhealthy category Tuesday evening. Northerly flow aloft will continue to transport smoke into Western Washington from wildfires in British Columbia through early Thursday. In addition, atmospheric ventilation in the interior lowlands of Western Washington will remain poor." A PNW smoke map here showed air quality as unhealthy in Puyallup, which is a larger town close by. There is also a burn ban in effect, no one is even allowed to light up a charcoal grill for cooking.

You can read about the smoke event here.The smoke is bad enough, in fact, that the New York Times ran an Op-Ed piece on it this morning, which you can read here.

Foxglove that I was so proud of earlier in the spring does not die pretty

Ugly foxglove leaves

Unhappy honeysuckle

No matter what I do from now until fall when the rains return and the weather cools off, my garden is going to be a smoked and barbecued pig, and nothing I do, whether it's watering, pulling weeds, deadheading or adding new plants, is going to make it better. Like Congress a few weeks ago when it kept trying to dress up DonTCare, like a pig wearing lipstick, my garden is going to be ugly.

And now, because you have endured some ugly pictures, not to mention my incessant whining, I'm going to end my post with something beautiful -- the lovely Ella Fitzgerald singing "Heat Wave."

Ella Fitzgerald sings "Heat Wave"


  1. Sorry to hear about your weather and the smoke, Alison! We get similar conditions sometimes and they are miserable. I hope your lovely PNW weather patterns return soon, and you and the garden feel better!

  2. A co-worker was joking that you guys were getting out weather when we had a temporary cool down I to the 80s. She has family there and they are experiencing similar issues. I hope your regularly scheduled weather patterns return soon and that you feel better!

  3. I'm sorry that the heat and smoke are causing you and your garden so much grief. The forecast calls for the smoke to clear out, cooler weather, and even some rain on Sunday. Hooray!

  4. I'm glad that you specified it's a bbq'd pig, not just a normal pig with lipstick! Ya, this smoke is nasty. I am so over it, I just wish it were over. My garden is doing okay with the heat (and what water I give it) but I can't hardly stand being out there. No record breaking dry here, our dry-streak is 71 days! Back in the '60's.

  5. That just sucks. Crossing fingers for rain to ease some of those nasty conditions. Hang in there!

  6. Poor garden and poor gardener! Although our summer has been a bit milder than usual thus far, I know how you feel as that's how summer usually affects our gardens too. When the temperatures soar, even pouring water on plants doesn't do much - they don't seem to be able to take it up. Last year, I resorted to putting up umbrellas here and there, which helped a little, although the wind kept blowing them out of position. As to the smoke, stay inside as much as you can until those fires are out!

  7. Every garden has good and bad weather years. You may be surprised at how things bounce back once temps cool and it starts raining again. I think all your rain came to the east coast. After two drought years, I've hardly had to water at all. Here's to better garden days ahead!

  8. Oh, oh, I just can't stand it. I'm heart broken for you. I hate drought and I don't care what anyone says water from the hose is not like a good, steady soaker from the sky. I wish you rain!

  9. That's hotter than we were...until this past week at 97-100F daily, as our monsoon took a break. With smaller leaves, our plants just stopped flowering, but I can see what happens with your large foliage in such conditions.

  10. Oh, that is so dispiriting. And so bizarre for your part of the country.

  11. Since you are resigned to your crispy garden, you can just enjoy the leisure of late summer. Just put enough water on it to keep it alive.

  12. i think you got rain today and hope your garden rebounds happily with new green growth and flowers. high 90s is usual for us and i hate the summer in southern oregon except for tomatoes and those fortex beans you sent me growing rapidly, successfully in my new this year community garden plot with abundant sunshine.


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