"Never... had there been such a summer"

Zephyranthes sp.
Faux rain on a rain lily.

I tricked this poor lone rain lily into thinking it had rained and got it to bloom one more time for me, a fitting end to this summer of dryness.

"Summer, that year, ran through into winter without a break. No rain fell, lawns cracked and you could have swept the bed of the county brook with a broom. Never in living memory had there been such a summer." (Reginald Arkell in Old Herbaceous)

The weatherman informed us this morning that we could set a record today, the last full day of summer, with a predicted high temperature of 94F. The previous record was 93F.

He also informed us that summer officially ends tomorrow at 11:09 EDT.

Never has there been such a summer, at least one that I can recall. We've had dry summers, but not one that was quite like this one that started out so rainy in June.

I can also record that this summer, for the first time, I saw a fox in my garden. I went out to water last night and heard a crashing sound as the fox came out from beneath some shrubs and darted across the vegetable garden. I stood my ground and defended the patio.

Actually, I sort of froze on the patio and wondered if a fox would try to attack a person, like some kind of coyote or mountain lion might. I decided it wouldn't and tried to get a picture, but it darted off, and ran under the fence into the neighbor's yard and then presumably ran off across the street to the woods behind those neighbor's houses.

At least I hope that is what it did.

This is the first time that I've seen a fox in my garden, or even seen a fox in my neighborhood. What does it mean? Why was it there? What does it like about my garden?

Like every gardener, I want to create a garden that attracts pretty birds, buzzing bees, and maybe a passing bunny or two. But not foxes. Foxes, and raccoons, possums, chipmunks, squirrels and voles, don't fit into the idyllic image I have of my garden, unless they are cartoon like and don't eat any plants or destroy anything or leave any scat in the lawn.

After I saw the fox, I took a picture of my lawn.
Fairy's view of dry lawn with locust tree sprouts.
I had hoped to use this picture to show just how far tree roots extend out from a tree. The honey locust, Gleditisa triacanthos gives us some clues because it is a grove forming tree, so it sends up these sprouts from the roots here and there. These sprouts, in time, could become more honey locust trees.

In a normal summer, these sprouts would be regularly mowed down, but not this summer.

Never has there been such a summer.

I'm ready for a cool, wet fall.


Gail said…
Carol, It has been a strange summer~Hopefully the rains will return and your lawn will green up. nashville is very dry~there's no way i can keep all my trees watered~

I think the animals are all looking for water! The summer of 2007 when nashville had its biggest drought~hawks were stopping at the birdbaths.

Bless you. That was our summer last year. No rain and record heat. The only positive thing was seeing wildlife in unusual places. We saw coyotes and alligators in the neighborhood, driven there by lack of food and water. I hope you are too far north for alligators!
Rose said…
I am ready for the end of summer, too! Yesterday I finally broke down and turned the A/C back on.

Your poor lawn. I think we've had a few rainshowers here that missed you, because even though it's bone dry here, my lawn at least looks green. Or maybe those are the weeds I see:) Hubby hasn't mowed in two weeks.
Liz said…
Please take some of my rain, I would ask in exchange for some heat, but by the sounds of things I don't want it!

Good luck with the fox, I hope it doesn't return. I have enough problems with them in my garden, digging plants up out of pots and so on...
The fox is probably why you haven't had any rabbits eating up your garden lately. Not only will they eat rabbits but they will eat voles, moles, mice or any other little terrorist in your garden. It won't hurt you. They flee from the dreaded humans. I feel your pain about the drought. I don't remember anything like this either. It is sad.
It's been an interesting one for sure. Interesting too about the fox. They are like little dogs around here. I don't think they would hurt you unless protecting their dens.
joanie said…
Here in VA zone 6 we are under mandatory watering restrictions because of the drought. Your quote was a perfect description of how it is around here too. It's sad when even the weeds are wilted.
Anonymous said…
Summer has been weird all over. Here in Seattle, June was so much colder and wetter than normal, people started calling it Junuary. July and August were cooler and even dryer than normal. Things that normally bloomed in June or July were a month or more behind. The October rains started in September. It's the summer that wasn't.

scottweberpdx said…
Yikes...sorry to hear about the cruel weather. Here in Portland, we don't get any rain from around July 1 until late September, which can be a little difficult, except the temps aren't usually too bad. Can't imagine having no rain AND temps routinely that high...sheesh. Hang in there!
That is just pitiful. But at least you have a fox. That's good news. I must point out that neither a fox nor a coyote will attack you. They are shy creatures and stay away from humans. You don't have a dog, so you have nothing to worry about.
Annie in Austin said…
Sure wish some moisture from Hermine had reached up to drench your garden, Carol! Those numbers are just not right for Indianapolis.

I've only seen a fox a few times - once as I drove my mom on a quiet street near her house. Some motion along the side made me slow down, and we watched a red fox cross the road. We were both thrilled.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
Anonymous said…
i agree with Lisa at Greenbow. The fox is good to see (unless you own chickens). Predators like fox and hawks and owls keep the vermin and rabbits in check. It's all about balance.

We all need more rain to balance out this dry summer!

Wayne, PA
Anonymous said…
Oh, Carol, that lawn makes me sad. Knowing the joy you have of mowing it, that must be heartbreaking for you. How interesting that the year you decide to design your garden, you have a summer like this. The identical thing happened to me in Austin - new garden at beginning of 21 month drought and heat wave. I hope your plants are all safe and sound at your sister's house!
Goodness, your sad picture of what should be your lovely lawn brought home all the comments about the drought. Must be hard to watch. Re foxes, probably driven in to your garden by the lack of food elsewhere due to the drought. Won't attack people, but if you have a rabbit problem at all could be a boon... They are rather beautiful critters too!
Cindy, MCOK said…
Wow, Carol, I thought you were exaggerating the state of your lawn! I hope rain falls soon on May Dreams Gardens AND here at Wit's End!
I feel for you. Drought and heat are so hard on the garden and the gardener. And nothing can be done about it so it's easy to feel hopeless and become discouraged. I'm not going to tell you to look on the bright side or hang in there. Drought and record heat are just miserable and there's nothing cheering I can say to alleviate the pain.

Wishing you some rain.
LindaCTG said…
I can't believe it's so hot for you there, and I'm sorry. But I love the faux rain on that gorgeous rain lily! Now, I'm still enchanted about the fox. It's impossible for me to even imagine a fox in the garden!