In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
August, 2007
Regional Report

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The soil for variegated ginger and its companions is deeper than it looks in this planter!

Midsummer Gardening

Let's face it, some days the garden feels like an oven and I'm the hen. Rain, sun, wind, humidity -- almost every day has them all. Timing can be everything in maintaining shrubs and lawns or planting the fall garden full of vegetables and flowers. Water early, or check the ditches if the weather has been rainy to be sure they're draining. Walk the garden when it's most comfortable, usually morning or evening. Of course, that means keeping the mosquito repellant by the door along with your straw hat or cap. If the heat doesn't bother you, soldier on at midday if you like, but be sure to stay hydrated. Whatever your comfort level, drink a glass of water each hour you are in the garden, and pace yourself so perspiration can keep pace with exertion.

Shady Retreats
Make a place to retreat to in the garden if you don't have a shade tree situated in the direction of the prevailing breeze. A screened-in porch or lanai, gazebo, open-ended carport or potting shed, or simple shack made of 4x4x8 posts under a sheet of tin will provide relief to the gardener. To keep going longer in the garden, seek shade for breaks instead of air-conditioning. If you have ever begun shivering upon returning indoors, you know why such abrupt changes in temperature are not recommended.

Hose for the Toes
Soaker hoses are efficient, conservative devices for applying water to your garden. Inground irrigation systems can be effective as well, but neither has the appeal of a sweeping sprinkler on a hot afternoon. You and the birds, and sometimes even the mail carrier, will appreciate the backyard water park occasionally. Any plants that get their leaves washed in the process won't complain, either. Take off your shoes while weeding, and let the hose trickle over your toes on its way to the soil. You may be surprised how much cooler you feel; you may even look forward to a hot day so you can indulge in this simple pleasure.


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