How Do You Prepare Your Garden For Heat Waves?

Somehow a Russelia flower fell exactly onto an Agave spine

B&N got walked at sunrise, when it was still quite cool
   The first extreme heat wave of the year was predicted almost a week ago, giving me time to prepare the garden for an ordeal.  Potted plants either went into the ground, or into the shade.

Safe you are in the ground now.  I hope.  
  If there wasn't shade where there needed to be, I rigged some.

Of course, daily watering, and dashes outdoors to spot-water, too.  

I over-filled the urn fountain, so birds would have a constant water source.
 Best of luck to you, little guy. 
 A thermometer outside, but visible from inside, so I can stay inside.
9:24 am
 11:22 am
1:31 pm:
 Make ice tea to stay hydrated
 Deadhead aggressively (because many flowers will be ruined anyway) and pick lots of flowers for vases (for the same reason).
I enjoyed admiring garden flowers while I could.  They won't look like this after two days of 100F-110F (43C) heat.

Eryngium planum 'The Hobbit', planted last year, came back.
 Erica verticillata picked today to flower for the very first time.  I made sure the soil was moist and gave it a cooling fog of mist for a few moments. 
 Mystic Series Dahlia, delicious color in early morning light, behind its metal fence support. 
Lagerstroemia 'Ebony Fire' aka 'Black Diamond Crimson Red'
 L. 'Ebony Embers' aka 'Black Diamond Red Hot'
 The Leucophyllum 'Thunder Cloud' decided to flower for reasons known only to it. 
 With Agave 'Blue Flame'
 Oh, that's pretty
The first Zinna flower.  Watered the Zinna plants, then watered them again.
 Why doesn't my flower look like the ones on the seed packet? 

  Time to retreat into the house and read some garden blogs.  On the way in, I happened to find my glasses that have been missing for a week.  They are now well-watered. 
Unfortunately, despite my efforts, I'm already seeing some dying plants.  I'll make a tally when it cools off--Wednesday, probably. 

2:44pm:
I did not mention mulch, which holds in soil moisture and keeps the soil and root systems of plants cooler, (besides preventing weeds), but mulch is a given here.

What do you do to prepare your garden for a severe heat wave?  Do tell!

Comments

  1. Shade and extra water, like you do, plus things like planting densely and mulch, to help keep the ground cool-ish. And AC and indoor plants to help the gardener. Stay cool!

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  2. I'm groaning just at 90's in our forecast. Stay cool! I do the same as you, move containers to the shade, mostly, and start watering things as soon as heat is predicted. I try to water Arctostaphylos and other water-sensitive plants well before the heat arrives, so they're hydrated but not sitting in hot, wet soil. More often I run out of time and they just have to survive without. I generally don't shove things in the ground because I don't have time to run around my huge garden to water new plantings daily.

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    1. High temperatures are tough on the gardener too, not just the plants. The Artostaphylos here--the Baja species A. pungens is dead, 'Austin Griffiths' is fine and dandy, and A. 'Howard McMinn' has one slightly sunburnt leaf. The soil here is so light and free-draining, they seem to be able to take summer water, though like you I avoid watering on hot days.

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  3. Well, I do some of the same things as you, mostly water extensively beforehand. I seldom deadhead to begin with, a chore I should do more often. Our summer sun is at a different angle from yours, so I don't think I've ever used shade cloth. An iced latte is my drink of choice. I hope your garden survives.

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    1. Mmmm, iced latte sounds good right now! Yes you do have different light there--and it stays light longer in the summer than here--makes summer very different and winter quite gloomy? The garden--some of it is just fine, and some of it--well, shopping opportunity...

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  4. I've been pulling stuff out this morning, stuff that didn't make it through yesterday even well-watered, mostly annual flowers and vegetables. It was time for the pansies, they've done so well and lasted so long. But zinnias? dried up and brown. A cucumber, too, which is not unexpected, it likes spring. 114F yesterday, hottest day I've ever experienced.

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    1. Wow, your pansies made it to July!?!?!? Impressive! Zinnias here are fine--I thought they'd be toast. I did water them multiple times in the afternoon, maybe that helped. 114F, you be careful out there. It ain't safe!

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  5. Water thoroughly, rig shade, and await cooler weather for a final tally. We beat your 104 with our 109! (This is insane…)

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  6. Both AccuWeather and Weather Underground predicted less extreme temperatures for my area and I allowed myself to be deluded. Still, I watered in advance of the "warm-up" and distributed the last bag of mulch I had on hand. (I thought I had 2!) I picked lots of lemons and should have picked flowers, as most everything - including the blue Lisianthus and the Shasta daisies that were looking so good! - fried yesterday when our temperature hit 110F and stayed there for hours. Even the Fatsia and the begonias in my lath house suffered. The strong dry winds, continuous even late into the evening, were part of the problem. Today's 90F+ temperature and higher humidity feel almost comfortable by comparison.

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    1. We watered beforehand, put out umbrellas to shade things and set the sprinklers to water longer overnight. It was about 110 in Northeast LA, and some leaves look crispy today (wisteria in particular). Not sure which things will die. Our A/C started making screeching noises so we turned it up to 83 degrees and it has quieted down for now (my husband bought a new compressor motor for it so we are ready in case it dies). Many iced drinks have been consumed in our very hot house.

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    2. @Kris. Sounds like it was even hotter where you were. Yikes! I am surprised by what is toasted and what is not--the Lisianthus is fine here, some long-established roses are toast. My 'Camoflage' Fatsia is in desperate shape, while the 'Spiders Web' version is find and dandy. Best of luck to your garden! Only 93 so far today.

      @Rachel 110 too? Yikes! I was worried too about our A/C though I had it checked recently. So far it is okay. 83F must be miserable to try to sleep in. Iced drinks, yes, one sounds good right now. :)

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  7. Yes, we're having ghastly weather for sure. It got up to 111 here yesterday. Today was a balmy 102. I hope your garden pulls through completely. Loved your photos! Clematis is always so lovely. Oddly, the best jackmanii I've ever seen were in the midwest. They always seem more delicate and fragile out here. Is the climate too hot?

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    1. Ghastly: perfect term for it!

      Dry heat. Moist heat the Clematis thrive. The deep rich moist soil, frequent year-round rain, and humid summers in the Midwest make Clematis very very happy and therefore spectacular. The ones that like winter chill get their winter chill there, too. The specimens I've seen in MI and IL (for example) were spectacular.

      I guess the silver lining of our less rampant Clematis are that they can be grown with roses and not completely cover up the roses. Did you know there are something like four or five clematis native to SoCal? Their flowers are not spectacular, though.

      I need to get the "after" photo of the Dahlia. It's completely toasted.

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    2. Dry heat is the problem, I meant to type.

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  8. We use shade sails and umbrellas, judicious hand watering on tender areas. Move potted plants under the awning. All these seem to help at over 100 degrees, but still the colors fade and things don't look anywhere near "vibrant".

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    1. Good idea on the umbrellas; a neighbor covered her some-sun-exposed Bromeliad collection with Ikea umbrellas!

      What you said about faded and not vibrant--oh so very true. That is what I adored about our cool May and fairly cool June--the richness of both foliage and flower color. All gone now until...November, maybe.

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  9. Good morning Hoover Boo,
    It's great that you are writing a post about heatwaves. In Holland we are not used to have this
    kind of weather. But also things are changing overhere. Haven't got a drop of rain in 2 month's.
    At moments like this I am greatfull that I only have a very small garden. It must cost a fortune
    to water your garden.
    Have a wonderful day and I hope the temperatures in your country will drop down soon.
    Rosehugs Marijke

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    Replies
    1. Yes the water bill is expensive. Also this month the electricity bill will be much higher because we are running the air conditioner machine. We only run that a few days a year--in weather like this. It is 93F/34C today, so we are beginning to cool down. :)

      I hope you get some rain soon. In your country that long without rain is very unusual!

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  10. We’re having some sort of heat wave but nowhere near as high as there. Lots and lots of watering...

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    1. Warmer water for the koi--they get hungrier! Mine are gobbling.

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  11. I now realize that I shouldn't complain to you about heat waves. The waves aren't so hot here. Yet here we get high dew points (humidity) which makes it feel like in the 100s. Never 110 though. I think you did all you can do for your garden. I giggled at reading and seeing your glasses. I often misplace items in the garden. Luckily they show up eventually. We are doing our dog walking very early in the morning too. Water water water.

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    1. Heat with high humidity is I think more uncomfortable. When it is very hot here it is usually quite dry. I do not envy your humid summers!

      We walked the dogs before 7 am this morning and it was too warm, even with shade most of the way. We got them back into the cool house ASAP. My neighbor walked her Lab and then they came home and both jumped into their swimming pool!

      I lost those same glasses the week before; they fell out of my pocket when I was in a friend's car going to lunch, then I lost them yet again and thought they were gone for good, then there they were in the Dichondra argentea. How they got there I have no clue. They were full of water spots.

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    2. We just came off a stifling two weeks of humid high heat (94/feels like 100, 70+ at night), with a return predicted later this week. So these few gorgeous days of respite -- a real rain followed by cool, dry air -- are something precious to savor. Farmers all scrambling to get haying done while drying conditions are perfect (and while it's pleasant to be outside, even at midday). I'm grateful to have had all the late-planted acquisitions survive the scorching steam; burlap cages and lots of hand watering were involved. They have a chance to stretch out their toes and actually grow for a bit now, rather than just survive.

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  12. As heat builds in summer, I usually fertilize all ferns and evergreens with my "summer tonic," which consists of 2 TBS fish emulsion and 2TBS Epsom salts per gallon of water. I also make sure all plants are well mulched. I keep everything watered, usually early in the morning and often again in late afternoon, especially for potted plants. Watering can be a brutal chore, which is why I am so glad for all the rain we have had this summer. Often the high heat triggers afternoon thunderstorms. Meanwhile, it is also important to keep gardener as well as garden well hydrated!

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    1. Good point about keeping the gardener hydrated as well.

      I'm curious as to the reason for the epsom salts. What is the purpose for that?

      Summer rain, a great rarity here--once a decade, perhaps, and scanty even then.

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  13. I can't think of anything you didn't already do. Wait it out, that's about it. We have 14 days of temps above 95 ahead of us. I'll be doing what you did, many times over.

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    1. I can only add to the "wait it out": gripe about the weather to anyone who will listen!

      14 days of 95F ahead?!?!!? Oh, more fortunate here. Not that hot for that long here. Yet.

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    2. I had visitors so I forgot to pre-water, ending up with a lot of crunchy plants. At least I can see what works without water and what doesn't and continuously adjust at the selection process. Still a scorcher out, even today.
      Love the watered glasses, btw. ;)

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  14. Yikes, that's just too darned hot! We seldom get temps even approaching that. I remember a couple of days a few years ago when it reached 100. We're close to the water and there's so much shade in my garden that I've never done anything other than water during warm spells. I hope your losses are few!

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  15. Those are daunting temperatures to endure.

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