August

I’ve been busy gardening through the 100°F days right up to our current absolutely wonderful range of low 80’s with a nighttime drop to mid 50’s. It reminds us of what New England temperatures use to be and why people enjoyed living here during the summer.

I took a break from working outside and went on a tour of the historic gardens at Strawbery Banke last week with a friend and my Master Gardener group on the final day of the oppressive heat. It went well over 100°F, and it was sweltering. The tour was great, the company was fun, lunch at Gino’s Chowder House was delicious, but I sure did appreciate the A/C after I got home.

Weeks of temperatures going over 90 have taken a toll on plants. I’ve had to pull out several of my vegetable plants and my blackberry harvest is being impacted by the high heat. A blackberry or raspberry is made up of a series of drupelets, those small circles that make up the berry itself. The berries that are in the center of the plant are perfect, while the berries on the outside may have one or more drupelets turn white. As a home gardener, I can just cut those out but for those farmers hoping to sell their crop, it can be devastating.

I’ve also had to dig up dark leafed plants and move them to a shadier spot in order to save them. On the plus side, the phlox and brown eyed susans are loving the heat. Did I mention we’re also in drought status, so watering is a challenge.

On Thursday, we went to New Castle with a friend to watch the parade of tall ships as they made their way into Portsmouth. The weather was overcast but nice and cool, and where else can you sit and enjoy the view of the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, Fort Constitution, Whaleback Lighthouse, and the Wood Island Life Saving Station except right there where the Piscataqua River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

To top the week off, our refrigerator decided it would be a good time to leak, cause water damage, and then gasp its final breath. Thanks to younger members of the family helping, the leak was halted, the food is in multiple coolers, and a new appliance arrives tomorrow. I can’t say I want to repeat any of this experience any time soon.

This morning I’m headed to Maine to pick up a donation to the Master Gardeners of 100 tomato cages. I’m looking forward to seeing the garden that could utilize that many.

Hope the weather in your area is back to a more normal range and that you’re having a good August.

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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67 Responses to August

  1. Our weather here in Pennsylvania dropped back into the comfortable range too. We planted a lot of shrubs this spring. We were lucky in that the spring and early summer were full of rain and moderate temps so they are doing well the but watering this past month has been a lot of work. Our peach crop locally took a hit with a late frost in the spring so they cost almost as much as gold! Weather keeps you on your toes.

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  2. Murphy’s Law says:

    The tall ships are an amazing sight and the “mermaid photographer” is a hoot! I’m glad to see your blue bottle plant is doing just fine!

    The Strawberry Banke Gardens are lovely. Glad you had that outing, but it had to be a challenge walking around in the heat and humidity. You New England gals are tough!

    There’s nothing like the experience of your refrigerator dying in front of you while you’re frantically trying to save your food. Then the joyous sticker shock when you shop for a new one! So glad you will receive delivery of your new fridge so quickly.

    Ginger

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    • Murphy’s Law says:

      You know me Judy…always looking for the bright/funny side of things. That whole episode with the refrigerator would have made a hysterical episode for Lucy, Desi, Ethyl and Fred! It would be in reruns for years! 🤗
      Ginger

      Liked by 1 person

    • That ‘mermaid’ had propped herself in that spot and garnered quite a bit of attention. When the ships were all gone, she came back down the path where we were sitting, and she was a ‘senior’ woman so I had to smile. Oh, Ginger, that day at Strawbery Banke was like being in a swamp. It was a lot of fun, but boy was it wicked hot and humid. The prices associated with refrigerator/freezers is enough to make you choke. We bought a name brand but preferred the inside space to all the bells and whistles on the outside, and we ended up paying more. Go figure. Once, the old one is hauled out, and the new one in, I’ll start the grocery list for what we lost or had to toss. It’s going to be a costly week, but I sure will be glad to move out of three coolers. 🙂

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  3. Marilyn says:

    Larry watches the Weather Channel so we’re well aware of the heat and drought conditions in the NE. Your brown eyed Susans are beautiful. Our neighbor has three big clumps in front of her condo and they’re doing well. I have a couple plants in the back of our condo. They are flowering too. We have moved to cool weather here. It feels great. The best part is no AC, so we’re saving on the electric bill.

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    • I love those Susans. Glad your weather has cooled off. We slept two nights with the windows open, and it was wonderful. Since our electric rates went up 111% the first of this month, I’m trying to save on electricity costs as well. Best to both of you. We miss you.

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  4. I haven’t been to Strawberry Bank in years, but I’m going to have to make a visit!
    Your garden looks wonderful Judy, this is an amazing time of garden year but it is going fast.

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  5. Sheree says:

    You have a beautiful garden which is testimony for all your hard work

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, what a week or so you’ve had! Sorry about your fridge, though. Replacing one these days seems to mean less and/or less handy storage. I dont get it! For that price, we should be able to also drive these things!

    And do I say this every year, or was this summer the hottest yet? I’m quite ready for Fall/pumpkin spice anything — and so are our yards. Some high-sun grass spots are literally crispy.

    Someone has 100 tomato cages?? I can’t keep up with the less-than-a-dozen we have!

    Here’s wishing you (and all your readers) a happy and temperate rest-of-August.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, the price of major appliances is somewhat staggering. We bought a major brand but one without the water and ice so there would be no future floods. We picked up a little more storage space, but paid more for it than the ones with all the water functions on the front. Like other things, it doesn’t make any sense. 🙂 Our grass is totally fried. Brown is the color anywhere that isn’t under a tree. I couldn’t believe 100 tomato cages either. When I went to pick them up, it is a large piece of property, but that sure is a lot of tomatoes. Our MG group will distribute to gardeners in our area next year, so they will go to good use. You have a good August too!

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  7. Your flowers look wonderful! I’m sad to report my Phlox isn’t doing well at all. Between the squirrels, the heat, and me being gone for a week they may not make it.

    The tall ships look so grand, and the air very cool with the fog/overcast sky. When I lived in the Bay Area and that rolled in during the summer we called it Mother Nature’s Air Conditioning. It was always a welcome relief from the heat. Speaking of temperatures and heat. It’s going to be 96 here today, but the nights have been dipping below 50, and we have Monsoon thunderstorms predicted again this week so, I’ll be covering the firepit, and bringing in the cushions.

    I hope your week is grand, and the trip up and back to get those tomato cages is uneventful. 😀🌼

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have so many plants in distress from the heat and drought, I am amazed that the phlox is doing so well. Fingers crossed for yours coming back. We haven’t had any rain in a while, and we sure could use it. I really wondered if there were 100 tomato cages at anyone’s home, and I can report that this gentleman had them. My truck bed was full. It will be fun to redistribute back into our county gardening community next year.

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  8. Oddment says:

    I could linger over that photo of the tall ships and the Whaleback Lighthouse for a long time. It seems so peaceful, especially with the overcast sky. That’s a beautiful image. Not so beautiful, however, the heat and the last gasps of a major appliance. What a headache. I don’t know how you lasted for that tour, as delightful as it sounded; temperatures that high would have had me home clutching ice cubes. Your Brown-Eyed Susans, different from the rest of us, are having a great time! I think we compared nostalgic notes on phlox a few years ago; they sure take me back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • After so many days of >90°F days, it was amazing to sit there on a cool and overcast day watching the ships parade into port. The last gasp of the refrigerator just keeps on giving with the problems it created included a wet floor this morning from a cooler that leaked water. The machines these days are so technically adept, I think they should program them to announce ‘I will be expiring in 90 days, so replace me before you have issues.’

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  9. Su says:

    Sorry to hear that you had to deal with an appliance issue, and thanks for your reminder about Strawbery Banke and Gino’s. We’re doing a New England trip in early October, and should go to both!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your first paragraph exactly captures what I have been thinking and will be echoing in today’s post. What beautiful, beautiful weather followed that horrid heat wave. But still so dry. We have a well. It’s never gone dry, and I’d like to keep it that way. As a result, I haven’t been watering my perennials as much as I should. The annuals get the water. Keep going back and forth on this and am not sure what the right thing to do is. The tall ships are so elegant and beautiful. What a treat! Also, despite the heat, Strawberry Banke looks like a lovely place to visit. I’ve never been, but would love to go.

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  11. Joyce says:

    I love seeing how you’re enjoying the glory of New England! Those masted ships are right out of a Turner painting. The lighthouses, rocky coastline, roiling waters of the Atlantic, the fresh chowder!….all so unique to your area.
    Sad, though, to see actual evidence of global warming effects on food production. It’s been unusually hot here, too. Someone on my neighborhood FB page suggested putting water out for wildlife. I did that right away for our squirrel friends (and your deadly enemies! 😉) and had a grateful customer within the hour.
    Now, about those tomato cages! If there proves to be insufficient plants in NH needing bracing, they are usable for porch ghost Halloween decorations! Cover with white fabric and string clear Christmas lights inside….adorable! If I lived next door, I’d make sure your property was peppered with them for the season!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We do live in a nice part of our country, and I always appreciate it. Yes, I can imagine your outdoor friends appreciate that cool drink. We have a chance of getting rain today, and I have my fingers crossed and will be doing a happy dance if it comes true. I’d never seen that many cages in one place and actually thought maybe it was a slight exaggeration, but my truck bed was full. The best part for your ghost idea is that there were a couple of different sizes. 🙂

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  12. Oh what a sight to see! Being landlocked in Indiana, I didn’t know there were still ships that looked like that. They remind me of pirate ships, how fun! It makes me want to paint them.

    The temperatures have let up here, thankfully. I’ve had a few plants succumb but not many. Mainly potted plants when we were on vacation and dependent on the goodness of a nearby neighbor. At least she was able to keep most of them alive.

    Your heat garden with the blue bottles looks beautiful and very happy. I’m thinking of the harvesting kind of work that happens with 100 tomato cages, wow. The most I’ve ever had was 40 something and that was entirely too many for one person to put up. I had salsa for years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny, you mention pirate ships because several of the children watching were shouting the same thing. They would make a good painting. I think I’ve lost more plants this year than ever before. Yes, who could handle the crop from 100 tomato cages. I really thought maybe it was a guess, but I filled my truck bed. There will be some happy local gardeners next year when we share them.

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  13. Eliza Waters says:

    So relieved for the cooler temps… your poor refrigerator couldn’t take all that work, I guess. Luckily, you could get a new one promptly… I’ve heard grim supply chain stories!
    How cool that you got to see the tall ships come in. I remember seeing them in Boston in 1976 and it was a big deal, unforgettable!

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  14. BERNADETTE says:

    Hope you have a perfect summer day in Maine.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dan Antion says:

    Lovely photos today, Judy. Thanks so much for including the pictures of the tall ships and lighthouses. I may have to make a trip to see those lighthouses at some point. Good luck keeping the plants from cooking. I hope we can stay below 90.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It has been such a difficult year for gardens which here in the UK are suffering from the drought. Our’s is looking so sad but today we had a drop of rain.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ally Bean says:

    The brown-eyed Susans and the blue bottle bush call to me. Loudly. I love that look, whimsical yet planned. As for our weather here, it’s rainy beyond the norm. It looks like Ireland outside, that’s how green it is. Pretty, but wrong for August.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Dawn says:

    I always look forward to your garden updates, Judy! My Brown-Eyed Susans and Phlox are in full bloom here in Illinois, too. I’ve been enjoying cutting bouquets for our front porch! The past few days have been delightfully cool. This week the school buses will begin passing by.The heat always seems to return right after school begins! I remember visiting Strawberry Banke many years ago, with a dear friend who lives in your town. Oh, how I would love to see the Tall Ships and your lighthouses in New England, Judy!
    Sending a cool breeze your way today! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The lighthouses and tall ships are amazing! What a fun day! Love your gorgeous flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love your blue bottles! They might be even more drought tolerant than our succulents. What are they (what did they hold originally)?

    We have tall ship parades here every once in a while, and they are best seen from the vantage point of the old lighthouse at the end of the point. There must be something about tall ships and lighthouses that just work together.

    I hope you are enjoying cooler weather soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The blue bottles are on a bottle tree I bought in South Carolina. The bottles originally held some moderately priced fruity white wine. What I don’t do for my garden. 🙂 Yes, tall ships and lighthouses do work together. I hope you are well and you’re still writing. I always look forward to your short stories.

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  21. germac4 says:

    The tall ships are very elegant, and yet it must be a nightmare to control the sails!
    I feel sorry for you dealing with such dreadful heat, and no doubt it will be our turn at the end of the year. I find humidity drains me of any energy, as no doubt you are finding, especially when working in the garden . I must plant some Brown-eyed Susan, I have read so often they love the heat, and that much we can give them in summer. Best wishes and keep cool.

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  22. Indeed, I can’t imagine the toll this heat has taken on fruit growers. Those ships are so wonderful to look at! I’m glad you’re finally having a chance to cool off from those sweltering temperatures. You got the new fridge so quickly! Good for you. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • The tall ship parade is a wonderful thing to see. Yes, thank heavens they had refrigerators in stock at this point. We won’t discuss the cost of appliances these days – too depressing. When you’re living out of coolers, cost does get pushed back a little. Hope you’re still enjoying your new kitchen.

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  23. bikerchick57 says:

    Judy, I’m sorry you’ve had to endure so much heat. That is not fun and not good for anyone’s garden or business, even though your black-eyed sue’s are gorgeous. I hope that your temps continue to be more like normal and that you have a beautiful September.

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  24. Nancy says:

    I missed this post. But alas, I was off smelling the roses in Texas.
    That blue bottle tree looks amazing next to the brown eyed Susan’s!
    And a fun day watching the Tall Ships. Such a pretty area to do so. They are headed here on our part of Lake Erie very soon.
    Sorry about your fridge. Hope a new one came.
    Enjoy your trip to Maine for the tomato cages. Have a lobster roll for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Miranda says:

    I love the photographs of the tall ships and of Strawberrie Banke. I always love reading your blogs as they remind me of all our wonderful holidays spent travelling up and down the eastern seaboard of the US. Here in the Northumberland, UK we only got as far as 36 degrees (96 degrees) which is unheard of here. Hope its wake up call for everyone. Keep blog and posting those lovely pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad it brought back good memories of previous trips. Yes, it has been hot, hot, hot, and I’m thinking our weather is permanently changing and not for the good. I tried to follow your blog, but couldn’t find the ‘follow’ link.

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  26. Wow, 100-degree days! And gardening in them! I had a very old-fashioned summer of upper 70’s with upper 50’s at night. It was heaven.

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  27. Wonderful photos! Loving the tall ships 🙂

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  28. I’m catching up on posts after being away on a road trip in western Queensland for the last three weeks. It must be nice to have milder temperatures after such hot weather. I don’t know what tomato cages are, but they must have been growing a lot of tomatoes to have 100 of them.

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