Summer – A Seasonal Paean Or Pain?

Swelter, scorch, steam, sizzle,
Burn, blister, boil, broil
Frizzle, fried, feverish, fiery
Humid, hazy, hellish, hot
Summer is here
Winter is not.

To be perfectly honest, for the most part, I can skip summer. Its true. I succumb very easily to the heat and humidity and scurry to cool interiors faster than a New York cockroach can hide. The idea of summer is enormously appealing. Long days, slower pace, birds and bees in high gear, flowers exploding, fruits ripening, outdoor parties, picnics, bare feet, pool pleasures, lemonade, vacations and so much more. All good and much enjoyed. Yet, I spend a great deal of time longing for cooler, drier weather. Like spring or autumn.

My energy plummets severely in summer. I used to think I was just lazy. That always kept me in a heightened state of guilt which understandably was not happy making. It dawned on me only a few years ago that some people are not summer people. This is no different from those who cannot tolerate winter. They too, no doubt, relish the cozy times by the fire, the hearty stews, the warming drinks and the vigorous snow activities and in the end, be willing to by-pass the dark season all together.

If only one could choose the seasons one wants to enjoy. I know, I know ā€“ just move to wherever our preferences lie. Thats easier said than done isn’t it? Jobs don’t appear at will and more importantly, loved ones don’t necessarily want the same seasons. So what are hapless souls like me to do?

For a start, we plan our gardens for when we enjoy them most. In my case that is spring and then fall. In doing so, I’m not investing heavily for a time when I’m not around so much. Then, happily accompanied by birdsong and/or the trills of crickets, I spend only early morning and evening hours outdoors. The cooler times of day. Garden chores, moments of solitude and gatherings with friends and family all occur when the temperatures are tolerable.

The sounds made by the small fountain on the terrace soothes the over-heated mind and evokes images of crisp, verdant spaces by brooks and streams. Well sited benches and places for pause provide respite in shade whilst still offering choice garden views. As a matter of personal taste, my garden contains cooler colors like blues, whites and pinks. This too psyches my mind to think cool.

The part of my garden that is instantly refreshing and serene is the vertical garden. Deep burgundy heuchera contrasting with the soft greens of feathery ferns on a rich background of velvety mosses has the same uplifting effect on my spirit as the sight of the first honeybee on a still frost laced, early spring morning.

And what do I do when I’m seeking refuge indoors? I peruse spring bulb catalogs. Hence, there is a part of my mind that is in that season of rebirth as I imagine and plan. Once I place my order that will be sure to shock me at planting time, I’m already excited with anticipation. A good state to be in.

In creating a more supportive garden and atmosphere I find I’m so much better off. Removing any guilt for spending afternoons in air-conditioned comfort has not only been good for my mental and physical well-being but has considerably improved the quality of my life. And I still get to thoroughly partake in the many joys of summer.

As I always say – attitude is everything.

Young Echinacea opening.

Young Echinacea opening.


The vertical garden

The vertical garden


Close-up of heuchera against a backdrop of moss.

Close-up of heuchera against a backdrop of moss.


Summer pleasure

Summer pleasure


Astilbe and a White Admiral

Astilbe and a White Admiral


A place to pause

A place to pause


#gardenDesignSummer
(c) 2014 Shobha Vanchiswar

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