Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Enough with the end of summer chatter!

What day is it? August 18.
When does summer officially end and fall begin? September 23rd.
So let’s do a little math….summer “began” on June 21st, and “ends” on September 23rd that means we are currently not even 2/3 through summer. It’s not ending people!!! We still have over a third left to go!
This seems to happen every year. I’m completely immersed in summer, loving every single minute of it and I start to hear the (not so subtle) chatter that summer is over.
Now I recognize that for kids going back to school we are getting down to the final few precious days of lazy summer, but not everyone is going back to school. Let’s celebrate the weeks we still have left not throw them away in a rush to fall. After all it will be there soon enough. Let’s celebrate the warm sun while we still have it. Deal?
I remember feeling this way last year too. And I went back to see when I blogged about it. Wow, I made it until the end of August before it got to me. Maybe I’m feeling a little more “cheated” this year because in Portland spring never really happened and summer was late to show up, and has been rather cool. In the spirit of celebrating summer I’ve been including pictures of my agave collection throughout this rant. After all nothing says summer like a spiky agave baking in the hot sun. Pictured above, in order:
A. Parrasana
A. Shira ito no Ohi
A. lophantha 'Quadricolor'
A. Americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’ pup
A. potatorum
A. gypsophila 'Curly'
A. 'Mr. Ripple’ (Very kindly sent to me by Denise of A Growing Obsession, thank you Denise!)

And because when I start taking pictures of the agaves I find it very hard to stop here are a few more… Agave ovatifolia
Agave americana 'Variegata'
Agave ‘Cornelius’
Agave bovicornuta
Agave parryi truncata “Retro Choke”
Agave ocahui x attenuata blue (also called Blue Glow)
Agave filifera
Agave cupreata dwarf cowthorn
Agave americana 'Variegata'
Agave funkiana 'Blue Haze'
Agave Americana ‘Medio Picta Alba’
Agave ‘Burnt Burgundy’
Agave “Blue Flame” (A. attenuata hybrid)
Everyone needs at least one agave.
At least one…but more than one is even better.
So what about you? Is your summer glass half full? One third? Or are you part of the tribe that thinks there is just one tiny sip left?


  1. The air feels different here, so I have been thinking of fall. But you're right - I should be celebrating that the days are still hot.

  2. There was no rain for days in a row, then last night it came and little plants bowed and succumbed but they got in the morning covered with dirt. Our summer is never ending.... bangchik

  3. Mr. R. looks to be in amazing company. We finally made it into the 90s today, but no end of summer chatter from me either, but then this coast is getting off easy this summer.

  4. Oh, there's a LOT of summer left in Austin, and if you run out of it in Portland, just come on down. It'll be in the 80s well into November.


    I cannot WAIT until the first signs of fall appear. I broke my hard-and-fast rule yesterday by digging up a plant and moving it in 103 degree weather. Dumb! But I just wanted to be able to garden again!

  5. August so far has been beautiful here, so the end of summer seems far away. We still have a few weeks to go before it's fall and I refuse to talk about it until then!

  6. What a great collection of agave pics! It has been so incredibly hot around here and we never really got much of a spring... It's so humid that you step outdoors and you're soaked in sweat by the time you make it out to your car. The only thing making me want summer to last longer is thinking about the freezing cold of winter.

  7. I've been hearing this too and frankly I'm a little dumbfounded. I suppose for some people even the slightest sign of seasonal change sparks the need to discuss it. However it's still summer in my garden and I'm not looking forward to the death that autumn brings.

    The last Agave is a must have. I believe the species was the one I grew while living in Hawaii. They aren't frost hardy are they?

  8. Summer's just starting here in SF. Our warmest, sunniest weather happens in October :) We've had two sunny afternoons in a row!!!

  9. Can I get your advice on an agave for a container that can survive winter in a garage (not a greenhouse)? thanks agave master.

  10. Though I am normally a stickler for this kind of thing, I think it's totally defensible to be anticipating the end of summer now.

    If "summer" is defined as "the season when it's hot," and seasons are all held to be of equal length, about 13 weeks long, then "summer" lasts from the beginning of June until the end of August. Here in Iowa City, our average highest temperatures occur at about July 19. Six and a half weeks on either side of July 19 would be approximately June 4 to September 2. So we only have about two weeks left of the hottest season of the year.

    I feel where you're coming from, as I get similarly annoyed by everybody's eagerness to be done with winter (I like winter), but it makes sense for people to start talking about it in mid- and late February, because our average coldest day is Jan. 12, making effective "winter" more or less Dec. 3 to Feb. 25.

    Yes, I've spent a completely insane amount of time thinking about this. It's bothered me since I was a kindergardener that our classroom decorations about the seasons were divided up DJF/MAM/JJA/SON, when I knew the solstices and equinoxes (equinoces? equinoci?) were supposedly what defined the seasons and they didn't match up. But if you think about it in terms of the actual weather one can expect throughout the year, it winds up making more sense.

    I recognize that this all totally misses the point of your rantlet, which is that you don't want summer to be over yet. I'll let you call it summer as long as you want if you'll let me stretch winter out by a few weeks on either side.

  11. And that the polar opposite of what I posted today! Ha! I've been talking about the seasonal shift in my garden. But I have more flowers, so I think it's more noticeable to me than it would be to you. This is the time, in the heat, where most of my flowers close up shop. Having a year round garden it doesn't bother me too much. I feel a little sorrow to see the seasons pass, but I know it will be back again next year. As for me, I'm going to have to help usher my garden into fall a little earlier than I normally do this year. We are on vacation as of the end of Sept. Three weeks in the sun! So although my garden is fading, my summer is just beginning! look forward to some kick ass fall posts on all the fascinating tropical plants I find along our way through the Panama Canal, an Orchid farm I'll be visiting in Cost Rica, and the Fairchild Gardens in Miami! Can you tell I'm excited? :)

  12. Liza, there is definitely a difference depending on where you live, I suppose I wasn't really giving that enough of a nod in my rant.

    Bangchik, at some point in my life I need to live somewhere that summer is never ending.

    Denise, true...we haven't had day upon day of unrelenting heat. I suppose I would feel differently if we had. Maybe. I guess I did rant about our heat last year...but now we have air conditioning!

    Pam, what did you say your address was? I'll be there!

    Water Roots, I like your attitude!

    RFG, exactly....after fall, comes hell!

    Grace, glad to hear you agree. Nope...not frost hardy. It's a hybrid of A. attenuata which will turn to mush below 30 (I believe...somewhere near there...).

    Megan, ya except last October when we were there and SF set records for rain and cold!

    Elizabeth, agave master? Wow...that's some powerful language you're using! There are several that come to mind. Agave americana 'Variegata'is super easy and I've overwintered mine outdoors (under cover from the rain) no problem. Agave parryi truncata and Agave ovatifolia are also good choices and Agave montana 'Baccarat' should also do fine. You know about mixing the potting soil with a little chicken grit to increase drainage right?

    Evelyn, thanks!

    Mr S....oh I would love to talk weather with you sometime! But as for your "deal" I just don't know if I can do it. See winter is my very least favorite time of the year. As far as I'm concerned January was invented by sadists. It's dark, cold, rainy...the holidays are over and spring is so far away.

    Laura, so true with the flowers as indicators. I think because so much of what I grow is foliage based (and big leaves at that) they just keep getting better and better until frost does them in. Plus not having kids I'm out of tune with that rhythm too. Enjoy your vacation! It sounds amazing!

  13. I'm so with you, Loree! It hasn't even gotten hot enough for me yet. Well, there was that heat last weekend, but it didn't last, right?

    The agaves, grevilla, eucalyptus, olive, sunflowers, and tomatoes are happy, so I am happy with any and all sun and heat thrown at us. Remember, September can be the very best month in Portland!

  14. I thought my A. ovatifolia was an impostor...but it looks like yours...hmm...guess the only thing to do is buy another one to compare. ;)

  15. Since I've been so out of the loop for the entire summer, and now into fall, I just came across this post now. Ha. I'm probably the worst offender! Now that it's finally fall, just this morning I was hoping to get snowed in soon.


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