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The Dog Days of Summer

By: Jamie Seitz
August garden struggles are real. Can we just skip to September?

Perfect garden weather

You know those gorgeous summer mornings when the sun is shining, and the air is thick with the sweet scent of phlox and roses and fresh cut grass? There is no place you’d rather be than enjoying a cup of coffee on the patio in your bare feet as you wake up with the birds. You can’t help but smile and whistle a jaunty tune as you dance back and forth between rain barrel and flowerpots until each happy bloom has had its drink. A stroll through the garden for red, ripe tomatoes and handfuls of fresh cilantro means salsa for lunch in the backyard while the kids swing. Each new day stretches out before you, feeling full of promise and purpose and possibility.

Yeah, well… it’s August in the Midwest and those days are over. By 7 a.m. it’s 90 degrees and climbing, with 100% humidity so there is no promise, purpose or possibility of happily doing anything outside because we are in Hades, friends. The air is thick alright, but not in a good way. It’s the pea soup kind of gross that requires you to shower after stepping outside for the simple task of getting the newspaper or the mail because you’ve sweated through your shirt.

Then reality sets in

There are no more adorable mornings on the patio with the birds because it’s too hot for coffee now and if you listen closely, the birds are actually chirping a heat advisory -- to tell you that even they despise this devil’s weather.

These are the days when you wonder how upset your neighbors would be if you mowed your lawn at midnight by moonlight because it’s the coolest time of the day and you might do it in your underwear. Then you remember your lawn is sad and brown anyways. These are also the days when the water barrel runs dry because August laughs out loud at the idea of rain during this month and the crack that opens to the molten center of the Earth in your front yard is now wide enough to swallow your dog. These days, to get your flowers and garden the sweet water relief they need, you need an engineering degree to concoct a contraption of hoses and sprinklers across the yard and time it just right so it’s not evaporating away immediately in the heat of the day.

August is only mostly terrible

Oh August, we miss the lovely days of June and July when we couldn’t wait to get outside, barbecuing and playing pickleball and reading in the hammock. But no. Now we sit inside with the shades drawn, listening to our air conditioners drone on and on, and dread next month’s electric bill.

Fine. I admit August has some redeeming qualities. It brings the heat for spicy peppers and there is never more zucchini in my garden. It’s perfect swimming weather and there is something quite romantic about sultry, August nights.

But 100 degrees? Honestly? Stay cool, friends.


Jamie has been quoted many times saying she could do without the month of August. She could also do without beets, the word moist, and the chipmunks that like to dig in her green beans. She does, however, adore the rest of summer, especially the delicious smell of phlox on a warm summer evening.


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Published: July 31, 2022
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