Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Friday, July 29, 2011

Joe Pye Weed, My Man

It’s hotter than a boiled peanut! Time for the hard-core gardeners of the Mid-South—like Allen Bush—to show what they’re made of.


Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum ‘Atropurpureum’)

stands tall in the July garden with Rose Cooper Bush

Louisville, Kentucky

Photo: Allen Bush

By Allen Bush

After two hours of weeding and planting in the sweltering morning heat, it’s usually time to throw in the towel. Well, not quite. I keep a towel handy to wipe the sweat off my creased brow and dab my receding hairline. This is one coping ritual for mid-summer. A cool swim later in the afternoon can work wonders, too. But the Lakeside temperature is hovering near 90 F (32 C).  There’s no magic, there. When the morning temperature hits the low end at 80 F (27C), as the sun comes-up, you know you’re in for a rough ride the rest of the day. There’s no stopping 90 F (32 C) or hotter. During spells like this, when the humidity is as stifling as the debate on debt limits, it’s hard to catch a break.

July wasn’t hot straight the way through, and I wasn’t stuck in Kentucky all month, either. I caught a breather in the Colorado Rockies, with good friends, looking at alpine wildflowers in early July. My pals Kirk Alexander and Panayoti Keliaidis organized a great tour. I’d call home each day and Rose would tell me about the skyrocketing Louisville heat index that hovered in the triple digits for days. I tried to be sympathetic. The annoying heat index – a summer flogging by forecasters - combines ambient temperature with the relative humidity. But it doesn’t skewer “the hardware of reality.” It’s hot and we all know it.

I didn’t tell Rose I was wearing a cotton sweater at 10,000 on the road up to Pikes Peak.  Nor did I dwell on walks through meadows in the alpine tundra filled with primroses and alpine forget-me-nots. 

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Posted by Julie on 07/29 at 02:07 PM
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