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Monday, August 6, 2018


Because I have just sold my old home of 45 years and am housebound in my new one with no garden or landscaping (until I'm back on my feet next year) and, thus, am homesick for midsummer flowers, butterflies, bees, and birds, here is a post from several summers ago.


It’s the summer solstice. The sun is beating down, and air conditioners up and down my block are grumbling as they try to cool things down inside their homes and cause periodic brownouts. Hummingbirds and butterflies visit my Rose of Sharons by the back door and the scarlet bee balm flowers in the back raingarden. In that raingarden, huge clusters of white blossoms cover the three-foot-tall native hydrangea. In the front yard, purple coneflowers, butterfly bush, native and hybrid day lilies, sage, peppermint, and lemon balm are all blooming, and the honeybees, bumblebees and more butterflies flit from flower to flower, as if at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Crimson geraniums and ruby begonias sit on the front porch and steps while zinnias bloom in rainbow shades in the basement window-well boxes, visited by wasps and yellow jackets, also important pollinators, though hardly my favorites.

I don’t know how this happened. It should be just barely spring, but somehow it’s that hot, full, lazy buzzing time already. It’s been in the 90s and 100s for weeks. We’re in a drought and long for a good rain, but clouds bypass us. We’ve used all the collected water in our rain barrels on the soft potted plants—geraniums, begonias, and zinnias—but even the hardy, drought-resistant natives are wilting in this heat.

In places where the climate tosses this kind of weather at the native populace all the time, they’ve developed a siesta culture to deal with it. When the sun is hottest, when everything slows down or crawls into some shade for a nap, they go inside thick-walled houses (to keep out the heat) and rest. We who live in Anglo-European cultures, however, bustle on, as if our Puritan taskmasters were flicking their whips at our backs. “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.”

If the globe is indeed warming and the world’s climate changing drastically, we might be wise to adopt the siesta culture during the increasingly hot weather. Plan to rise early and retire right after lunch until late in the afternoon when we’d arise again and return to work, continuing until much later at night, eating a late dinner at 10:30 p.m. and going to bed at midnight. People would have more energy, and we’d get more done. It will never happen, of course, because of those Puritan taskmasters and their whips, so long ingrained in our national DNA.

I’m finished with my blog post now, and I’m going to be smart and take a nap in a cool inside space. But first, let me wash some dishes and water those poor drooping plants and run to the post office and answer some emails and…

What’s your ideal way to handle blazing hot midsummer?

Linda Rodriguez's Dark Sister: Poems has just been released. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, based on her popular workshop, and The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, an anthology she co-edited, were published to high praise in 2017. Every Family Doubt, her fourth mystery novel featuring Cherokee campus police chief, Skeet Bannion, and Revising the Character-Driven Novel will be published in 2019. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust, and Every Last Secret—and her books of poetry—Skin Hunger and Heart's Migration—have received critical recognition and awards, such as St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices & Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” published in the anthology, Kansas City Noir, has been optioned for film.

Rodriguez is past chair of the AWP Indigenous Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International Thriller Writers, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community. Visit her at


Gloria Alden said...

Linda, I love this blog because you could be writing about what's happening here in NE Ohio. The weather is hot and muggy so I don't spend a lot of time outside except for the few days when it cooled down a little and there was a nice breeze. Of course, I have ponies, chickens, a barn cat and my son's peacock next door to feed every morning and the ponies in the evening, too. Like your gardens I have lots of flowers, too. I put all the annuals I bought in pots or hanging baskets. The other flowers are those who come up every year like a hundred at least day lilies as well as
some others, too. I'm sorry you're missing the gardens you so enjoyed. I never plan to leave my old house and the trees, shrubs and gardens around it.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Next year for your pot garden! My herb pots sat in the driveway for 2+ months this year until I could get the deck stained.

If it's not the blazing sun and humidity, it's the chigger mites, which have been vicious this year.

On Saturday, we visited the Hamilton County seed farm, which collects native wildflower seeds to plant in the county parks. Fascinating.

Kait said...

What a lovely blog - I can't wait to read about the garden in the new house when you feel up to it, but thank you for sharing the garden in your former house again. It's like a breath of fresh air.

We're sweltering here in SW Florida, and with red tide and green algae, there's not much hope of relief. A visit to your garden was the perfect antidote.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, all those animals + the huge gardens sound like a full-time job. How do you find time to do all that and write?

Linda Rodriguez said...

Margaret, the seed farm sounds so intriguing. I'd love to visit it. Stay strong against the chigger mites! (Stay inside.)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Oh, Kait, red tide and green algae. What are we doing to our world? So glad you enjoyed the garden reminiscence. Next year, we'll start building a new garden for the new house.

Shari Randall said...

I loved the chance to "walk" in your old garden with this blog, Linda. I have no doubt that you'll make your new home a garden spot, too. I have my pot garden - mint, cilantro, tomatoes, plus some dahlias, which despite the fact that this know nothing gardener put them in a pot, are growing.
Hope your shoulder is doing better!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Shari, you totally can grow dahlias in a pot. You can grow almost anything in a pot. I'm counting on that for my new garden--peonies, Rose of Sharon (brought in a pot from the hedge at the old house), ditch lilies, you name it.