Out on the Prairie

People who aren’t familiar with the diverse areas and ecosystems in Colorado are always surprised by how hot it can get. Admittedly, it’s cooler in the mountains, but out here on the prairie, a hundred miles from those chillier climes, it can get hot. No, not a lower case “hot,” but HOT!! Capital letters all the way. Today we will get in excess of 105 degrees, though at the moment, it’s rather pleasant. At least for me.

I have to work longer hours today, so I didn’t plan on doing any outside chores. I went out thinking to walk around and check on my various garden spots. Some plants seem to thrive in the desiccating heat, but others, even supposed sun-lovers, don’t like as much direct sun as they’ve been getting. We’re not as high as Denver out here, but we’re high enough to be considered high altitude, and with altitude comes searing heat. (Shade generally mitigates the heat, but with the shade comes stinging insects, so it’s a trade-off for me.) It’s because I don’t want to be seared by the sun that I wear long sleeves even on the hottest days — oddly, though it might look ridiculous, it’s also cooler because it gives protection from the sear. And, of course, it’s why I wear hats. I certainly don’t need to char what brains I still have.

All of this to say that although I wasn’t planning on spending any time outside, I had to water some of the plants that weren’t doing well in the heat. And because I wasn’t planning on being out long, I didn’t wear my permethrined gardening clothes, but instead I wore my go-to-work black pants and t-shirt, so I expect to be covered in mosquito bites tomorrow. But it’s worth it, I suppose, to keep my plants alive.

Although many plants are supposed to need full sun, I’ve noticed that even that flora does well with a bit of shade, though there are some that do well regardless.

Among the plants that seem unfazed by the heat are the hollyhocks

And moss roses.

I’d never heard of moss roses (portulaca grandiflora) before this spring, but I am enjoying the various colors of blooms that come from one plant. It’s an annual that supposedly seeds itself and can become invasive, which sounds good to me — a carpet of flowers would be nice. For now, I’m counting blooms in the low numbers, but later on in the summer, they might do even better.

Other plants that seem to enjoy the heat are my cherry tomatoes and marigolds.

And the cactus, of course. The only problem with the cactus is that they have so few flowers, and each perfect blossom blooms for a single day. Which teaches us, I suppose, to enjoy the ephemeral things while they are here.

As for me and the heat? All I can say is thank heavens (and Willis Haviland Carrier) for air conditioning!


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5 Responses to “Out on the Prairie”

  1. Beautiful flowers stay cool! Says:


  2. Joe Says:

    We have the beginnings of a drought here as well as abnormally hot weather so I have been trying to save my plantings, but will probably sacrifice some of them rather than add to my water utility bill which is gonna hurt… but I must say the moss roses are appealing in this kind of weather since they don’t seem to be affected, and that cactus flower is *just gorgeous*!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      That’s a shame about having to sacrifice any plantings. I’ve mostly had to plant drought resistant plants because this is such a dry area, but since you normally get at least some rain, I don’t imagine the same was true for you.

  3. Uthayanan Says:

    I have cactus but never had a beautiful flower like this. Last 40 months I didn’t add any plants. And I gave some of my fruits plants. When I read It make me very sad of drought and need to sacrifice some plants. I am lucky that next seven days I am going to have some rain. Some times I don’t understand instead to send rockets in the sky with the same energy and money you can purify oceans salt water to make irrigation water to make lots of artificial lakes and grow plants. I don’t know the hot weather make me more sad than before and took my energy of positive thinking.

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