The dog days of summer.


I grew up with cool summers in my native Holland and the sweltering hot Virginia summers had me wilting most of those sweaty days when I first arrived in my new homeland. The humid climate was one of the reasons we decided to move elsewhere and thus in 1994 my husband Mark, the three kids and I pulled up stakes and planted out roots in Portland OR in 1994. We still think we found the perfect climate. Despite Portland’s weather reputation, I love the climate here and so do many flowers I have noticed. A long growing season and plenty of rainfall, what more can I want?
However not every day is a beautiful day of course and the Oregon’s generous rainfall does not materialize year round. These last many weeks, maybe even months, it’s been very dry around here. Usually we experience a few of those hot sweaty dog days in summer, even here in Portland (and sometimes even in cool Holland), but this year Mother Nature seem to bring it on a lot.
Irrigation is a challenge, the way my gardens are spread out and on different properties. I use long hoses, both from the front and from the back of my house to reach most of the gardens around the neighborhood and I also placed hoses in strategic places to connect my long hose to in order to even reach a further distance, all outfitted with shut-off valves of course. These hoses are for reaching the spread-out gardens. Then soaker hoses do most of the work. Drip irrigation has helped me preserve water and my own energy as the water slowly drips into the soil near the root of the plants. There are still gardens that lack a soaker hose in place and here I have to water overhead with a sprinkler or I hand water around each plant, which is what I prefer. this allows me to inspect the plants and it’s environment while watering. Although it is time consuming, it is also one of the nicest jobs: giving all those lovely plants a good deep drink, what’s cooler than that?

 

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Marianna

I am a florist and urban flower farmer, I grow my flowers sustainably in underused and neglected areas in my North Portland neighborhood. I make floral designs for all sorts of occasions and also peddle flowers at the local flower market.