summertime blahs

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Despite the blue skies in the photo above, the weather here in Southwest Florida has beenĀ DREADFUL this week.

I always tell people that “summer” is our version of “winter” because it’s a whole lot of extreme temperatures (very hot, as opposed to cold, but some of the plants are just as sensitive to it), dark skies (there was maybe one hour of sunshine this week, but then a storm rolled right in and took it away :/ ), and moisture- just BUCKETS of rain.

And it seems to be continuing.

It’s sort of weird for me to see all of my friends’ garden photos on Facebook and blogs because it surprises me that their gardens are *still* producing beautiful blooms and veggies, but then I realize that they are all in the peak of their gardening season.

My tall tomato plant is now down to just a few branches, but it’s hanging in there. It flowers and makes a few tomatoes. My goal with it is to get it to hang on until October, so when the water cools down and brightens up, it will be ready to grow quickly and put out fruit. The summer before last I managed to keep a smaller tomato plant going through the summer and when fall came it went bananas. It just grew and fruited like crazy, right off the bat.

febgarden4

I’m also starting to consider starting a *summer* garden. My poor geraniums (I have about twenty planters full) are all soggy and turning yellow, so I’m thinking about pulling their planters back behind the roofline, trimming the plants down to *just* enough that they make it through the summer, and putting pots with petunias in their place. Petunias do great here in summer (upon research I found out that they like the warm, soggy weather quite a bit!) and I like to grow them. There are a ton of interesting varieties. And, most importantly, they only last about three months, so when they finish up, it’ll be time to put the geraniums back out. Same with sunflowers… and I’m sure there are other flowers I don’t even know about that are similar.

The only thing keeping me from doing this is that I wonder if I really want to add ten or twenty more planters to my garden, even if it is just seasonal. It will make for extra work and that’s a major factor since I only have a bit of time in the mornings to garden now that the weather is so volatile (lightning strikes are no joke here in Southwest Florida, especially when you live on the water). I have to give it some thought. This year I have a lot more daily maintenance in the garden than previous years because most of the plants I have are good for this zone, and they are hanging on for the summer. But I HATE “blank spots” in the garden, and what I hate even more is a row of planters with half-alive plants in them, drooping in sadness.

I don’t know. I know this is a tough part of the year for me in all areas- I’m a big fan of sunshine and blue skies and breezes and being able to go outside whenever I feel like it, and so the dreary weather really is a challenge for me. I’m thankful that things continue to put on a show in the garden (like the hibiscus at the top of this post… it’s got a bunch of buds on it at the moment, which makes me so grateful- something to look forward to!) but I really do miss having decent weather to garden in.

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