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Early Flowers

Crocus Cyclamen coum Hellebore 'Merlin' Snowdrop Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Preparing For Another Heat Wave

Well, it is happening again. Today the temperature reached 100, tomorrow's high is 104-107 depending on who you listen to and Friday will be over 100 as well. This isn't quite the historical 112 degrees that we received earlier (Portland was even higher) but it is enough to be distressed about.

I opted to be cautious so I've covered my plants that suffered the most the last time this happened. The garden looks like ghostly ghouls are visiting. The Stewartia pseudocamellia tree (top photo) was the most difficult to cover because of its height. I should have given this tree a shadier location. If this kind of thing continues, I might consider moving it or replacing it altogether.

Another biggie is the Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo) in the northeast corner of the front garden. It had some tip damage from the last inferno. The smaller plants around it are both barberries. Berberis calliantha on the left was hit particularly hard and is slowly recovering.

The Wheel Tree (Trochodendron araliodes) was another victim and although it has quickly gained new leaves, it does not like the heat or sun.


And finally, a few dwarf conifers - Picea abies 'Pusch' (not shown) and Picea orientalis 'Tom Thumb' (below) -


One day down, two to go!


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I hope you get through the current heatwave without damage, Phillip. Remarkably, we haven't hit 100F once yet in my location this summer - yesterday we peaked at 94F but even that didn't last. Our inland valleys haven't been as lucky and I can't help but wonder if the other shoe will drop here before this summer's in our rear view mirror.

  2. Hah! Never thought it would be necessary in the PNW to cover plants in the summer because of extreme high heat. It almost always got hot at some point each summer and I was very happy I had air conditioning but would never have predicted this. I moved away in 2007 (which is hard to believe) and have never quite adjusted to the idea that summer, in Alabama, is not a fun time. I hope the PNW moves back to a more "normal" situation but it's not looking good for the future. In the meantime, this is the first summer here where I still have green grass in August. Even the long stretch that was always sparse and looked bad is now looking green and full.

    1. Barbara, it is crazy and we are really bummed about it. We thought this would be our forever home but that may not be the case.

  3. Before reading, I thought the first photo depicted a new garden sculpture ;) -- the temps are forecast a little lower than the last heat wave, thank goodness, so I'm hoping all your prep does the trick.


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