It’s a surprisingly cool, windy, and cloudy day when I’m writing this, and we even expect a bit of rain in the next few days. But that’s unusual for May in the desert–just two days ago, we reached 105 degrees F., nearly a month sooner than expected. And we anticipate being back to the upper 90s by the weekend.
In July, during an ordinary year, we enter the monsoon season, during which we generally receive half our annual rainfall (about six-to-seven inches spread over an eight-to-twelve week period). But before the rains come, we have heat and long, dry days.
I water enough to keep the garden plants alive, but I plant strategically, often holding off on annuals until the monsoon comes, and only planting those hardy annuals that can survive temperatures over 100 degrees.
I’ve come to see it as a second dormant season.
It’s part of the system here, and it has advantages, since fungus, mildew, and plant diseases often can’t survive it. And once the monsoon comes, everything comes alive within days and hours.
With the jet stream forming increasingly different and disrupted flows over the past several years, I am wondering about this summer’s patterns of heat and monsoon. Will the patterns we’ve come to count on continue? How do we shift our gardening in response to climate change?
For me, the priority has become to continue to nurture the habitat that my garden provides for hummingbirds, butterflies, lizards, songbirds, raptors, and other wildlife. These individuals depend on it.