Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bamboo and the Anacostia River at the bottom of China Valley

Summer is so much about the heat I forget that gardens are really about the light! The river  sparkled Monday and so did the arching cane of our big bamboo. It's a great bamboo. While cleaning it up this spring we cut a few pieces fully 5" in diameter. The photograph doesn't show it but this cane is rooted at least 40 feet away on the facing slope; the entire culm moves constantly in the wind gracefully inhabiting what would otherwise be a troublesome void.

Ever the obsessive gardener I have already checked the weather forecast this morning (Tuesday 5 am) and see that we are looking at 3 more 90 F degree days this week. That sounds worse than it'll be miserable but,. so long as nighttime temperatures fall into the 60's or low 70s hot days aren't so bad; the short days and low humidity of late September ensure this nightly cooling. All 90 degree days aren't the same; the air is drier now which makes heat less oppressive and the ground and building and trees and vehicles all cool at night so that when you move into the shade in the afternoon its often comfortable. In August when I walk out the door on my way to work the bricks of the house are warm to the touch. I'm shivering now sitting at an open window.

Low humidity is a godsend to us; not so much so for the plants.Transpiration rages and new or shallow rooted plants are stressed. In another few weeks to a month, temperatures will fall and rain will fall (we hope). Then we'll be able to do our fall planting and transplanting.

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