Can flowers flourish in one hundred plus temperatures?

Yes they can if you plant the correct ones, especially if they’re hardy native perennials. I’ve learned the hard way through the years of self-education and trial and error.

The following are the flowers which thrive for me: coreopsis of all varieties, orange cosmos, yarrow, blanket flower, celosia, blackfoot daisy, choral honeysuckle, mexican honeysuckle,  jasmine, midnight salvia, blue mist, white mist, scullcap, native vinca, passion fruit vine, purple bleeding heart, butterfly weed, butterfly bush, black-eyed susans, comphrey, turk’s cap, purple cone flower, native verbena, plumbago, rose of sharon, native hybiscus, jerusalem sage, lantana, pomegranate, herbs (mint, oregano, basil, chives, sage, thyme, hyssop, lemon verbena, catnip), zinnia and marigold (annuals from seed), ajuga, sedum, mexican petunia, four o’clock, and bat face cuphea.

I basically walked around the garden and named everything that is not only surviving, but thriving! Except for zinnias and marigolds which I plant from seed every year, these are all perennials which are either native to my area or are naturalized perennials.

If a plant is fussy and demands a lot of TLC, I either give it away with a warning or just pull it out and throw it in the compost! I only garden in the early mornings in this heat and that mainly consists of pulling up occasional weeds as I walk around or harvesting the fruits of my labor. We have a sprinkler system that runs twice a week, but I do supplement the vegetables with hand watering from rain water collected in barrels.

I always wear long sleeves, gloves, long cotton pants, a huge floppy hat, and gardening boots to not only protect myself from the heat, but also from insects or when I inadvertantly walk through a spider web! I feel invigorated when I have sweat through my clothes and when my hair looks like I just came out of a shower. I guess that kind of joy is the sign of a true gardener!

And then there’s the magic golden hour between dusk and evening when the air is like liquid perfume scented with the heady mish-mash of all the summer blooms ripening and dropping after the heat-bath of the day. The butterflies have gone to bed, the birds have eaten their fill, and the heavy air criss- crosses with lightening bugs signaling the end of another hot Texas day in the garden.

Sleep well. I’ll see you in the morning!


What is your favorite hot weather bloom?

The Summer Garden

Underwater light faceted

in the enormous aquamarine

set in bronzed stones.

A pale green mist lifts from the pool

follows the lantern lit pathways

back to the dark and shady grove

and the blackness

of the wych elms

and the limes

enclosing the garden

like impenetrable walls.

Here on a very warm night

with a honeysuckle, jasmine breeze

heady, rich and almost liquid

You can stand on the sun-filled stone

stretch and hold

the heart-breaking sweetness

of the night.

M.L. Emmett

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