101 In The Shade

     I am experiencing a new phenomena- difficulty in productive summer gardening. 
     Most of my life I have harvested in Zone 5. I now grow in Zone 9, and the challenges are almost reversed. 
     Zone 5 has a lot of snow (like five months of the year) so there is plenty of time to drool (and become over confident), perusing gardening catalogs. 
     Zone 9 has a lot of sunshine, so you don’t spend a dedicated season to the pursuit of fantasy gardening, hence, you miss the rare successes of inexplicable impulse ordering.
     Zone 5 is cold. Many lovely English cottage-type, soft, fluffy,sweetly pale flowers like to grow in it. They are labeled perennial but they are wrong, and you replant new stock every dog-gone year.
     Zone 9 is hot. Many amazing prehistoric-type, geometrically challenged, bold colored flowers prefer this. These are also labeled as perennial, but, there is no mention of the endless hours you will spend hacking plant growth back so you can find your way to the car.   
     Zone 5 has a shorter growing season, but you can grow almost anything. No citrus. Never citrus.
     Zone 9 has a long growing season so you can indulge in successional plantings nine out of twelve months per year. Lettuces are difficult but citrus goes crazy! Sounds great!
     Except the bugs are bigger, my tomatoes are anemic, and the black spot is BLACK, because it’s 101 in the shade, and we are all wilting… with a few exceptions. 

The hibiscus are saving me.

A rich coral shade of hibiscus

A vibrant lemon yellow hibiscus bud


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