As a child, I lived in the Rocky Mountains at a high elevation where we used to say we had three seasons--winter, July and August. It was very hard. There were years where we would get out of school for the summer, and then have snowfall the second week of June. Easter was often a white holiday. The growing season was very short. And the brief couple of months that were "summer" were so fleeting that it was very hard.
When I was 10, we moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area of California where I was born. We moved during the depths of February's coldness in Colorado to the sunny climate of a drought year in the Bay Area. I felt like I'd entered Eden. It was heavenly to see ice plant in bright bloom in people's front yards as I walked home from my first day of school on Valentine's Day. Flowers on Valentine's Day! Incredible!
Since that very memorable move when I was 10, I've lived in other places and other climates. But I never felt at home anywhere but here in the Bay Area. So I determined that I needed to stay here throughout my adulthood because I needed this climate. And that determination has been a good one and a real blessing.
The downside to our climate is that all the wonderful things that Jodi and many others out there in the northern hemisphere love about summer aren't part of my reality. I have to prepare myself every year that sometime around May all the major gardening work needs to end until autumn comes. With the fair freckled skin of a redhead, I cannot spend time in the direct summer sun for very long even with sunscreen. And our heatwaves are so extreme with Fahrenheit temps often-times hovering in the triple digits, that my garden maintenance chores need to be done well after 6 pm in the evening and sometimes even after sundown when the cooler breezes finally blow in off the waters of the San Francisco Bay. So my tomatoes and vegetables, my citrus trees, the spectacular curtains of bougainvillea blossoms, and my sub-tropical "Hawaii garden", have to be enjoyed in fits and spurts while I remain holed up in an air-conditioned house usually sitting in front of a computer trying to be creative for three months straight.
The other downside to our climate is that we rarely, if ever, get rainfall during summer. Our rainfall for the year occurs during the late fall, winter, and early spring. That's when the hills of the Bay Area turn a gorgeous shade of green. The green hills of January are a favorite sight for me. But during the summer, the hills are a golden yellow as the seasonal grasses and plants die because the rainfall has ended. This means that growing things in the garden during the summer and using water responsibly (always a concern even in a non-drought year) are always problematic. The majority of the beautiful blooms end in May and don't come back until the cooler days of autumn. So while everyone else in the northern hemisphere is enjoying an abundance of blooms in their July and August gardens, I am waiting (sometimes not-so-patiently) for September to come so I can enjoy color again instead of dried up leaves and pathetic looking roses.
So for all my blogging friends in other parts of the northern hemisphere, please excuse me over the next 9 months as a revel in gardening again after having been cooped up for 3 months. My summer is like your winter, and I've got a serious case of cabin-fever. I apologize in advance for my enthusiasm as I re-enter the world of swinging my sledgehammer at things and continuing where I left off in May. I promise that my exultant state is not intended to "rub it in" that we finally will have exciting new birds in the gardens--your birds. And if my posting ever becomes sporadic, you'll know why. It's because I'm finally able to go out and "play in the dirt" again because autumn has finally arrived!
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