What To Do When it’s Too Hot to do anything

Take advantage of the wilting heat to fiddle with crisp stems that are prone to breakage: tie up floppy dahlias, unravel wayward bean and morning glory vines, tuck tomato branches back where they belong in the trellis. At midday these plants are limp and easy to work with – assuming you’re not so limp yourself you can’t bear to be out there.

This is about last call to cut back repeat-blooming roses – new growth needs quite a while to toughen up before freezing weather. But cutting them back is well worth doing ; by now a lot of the old foliage is bound to be freckled with blackspot or turned to lace by the Japanese beetles. Removing it instantly makes things look better, and it usually results in a good flush of fall bloom.

Even when it’s too hot to work, it’s not too hot to write, and the notes you take now will come in mighty handy when it’s seed and plant order time. Which tomatoes are ripening soonest? Which ones are fighting off the blight? Is there a rose that doesn’t appeal to our little brown and green pals? Which daylily is covered with buds, its blooming days still to come? You might think you will remember this stuff, but the chances are you won’t.

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