Dreaming of Snow

Royal Star Magnolia bud in snow

When the alarm woke me this morning, I was dreaming of snow. Not the fluffy cotton candy variety. This was moisture-laden snow; the kind that weighs down branches to the ground, that makes killer snowballs and giant snow people.

It was glowing across the landscape in the light of a full moon, reflecting that orb’s light so brightly that night navigation sans flashlight would have been no problem. I remember my dream self saying, “When the sun rises, this will melt quickly, seeping down to thirsty roots, replenishing the water table. Then I woke up.

The unrelenting heat and drought has me feeling like this poor bedraggled Eastern Tiger Swallowtail:

Tattered but determined

Despite its shredded wings, this beauty was flitting between lantana clusters, drinking deeply in the noon-day sun today. I am trying to be inspired by its determination.

In fact, many of the plants in my yard and gardens continue to bloom despite the near total absence of soil moisture and a searing sun that fades flowers mere hours after opening. Look how wonderful the Chinese Pearl-Bloom Tree (Poliothyrsis sinensis) looks despite our hellish weather:

At peak bloom despite the heat wave

A less tattered Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is managing to find nectar inside this tree’s tiny flowers:

Where is the tree finding moisture for nectar?

Coneflowers were made for this heat. I so admire their stamina:

And my well-mulched, barely watered ornamental sunflower mix, ‘Sun Samba,’ continues to wow me with every new bloom that opens. Check out this one:

Undeterred by our heat wave

Although it’s true that our temperatures have backed off from the 105-degree range to the upper 90s, the stagnant, humid air mass (code orange air quality) and snubs by nearby rain clouds mean my yard is suffering bigtime. I confess it’s beginning to drag me down a bit.

This kind of weather always challenges my spirits. It’s hard for me to watch the plants and animals in my yard suffer as they seek water, food, and shade. Some years back — at least a decade ago — I wrote a poem about how this kind of weather affects me. I thought I’d share it with all of my readers who are also suffering through the current heat wave.

Dog Days

The summer swelters are here.

Days that make me want to burrow

deep into the earth, praying hard

for the wet blessing of a rain drop.


Trees droop their shoulders,

leaves limp as fingers dangling

without purpose.


Nothing sings.

Nothing moves

but the dragonflies gliding

through the thick warm soup

that once was air.


Hard to breathe.

Hard to care.

Caught in the doldrums,

I take baby breaths,

and dream of the quiet chatter of sleet

as it hits a tin roof.

Sweet dreams, my fellow gardeners.


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