Summer Heat

Three Ways To Know When Summer Ends and Fall Begins (According to the Cat)

Most Beloved

#1. The cat is subsumed by melancholy

“Oh yet to relish, to sleep, to bathe in the heat of the midday sun–”

–sighs the cat

Oh yet to languish, to sip, to savor a cup of catmint tea–”

–bemoans the cat

Listen for verbal sighs and dramatic monologues. See especially planned pauses. Watch for wistful longing and waxing poetic. Smile and nod as you listen to your cat’s woes.


Act 1, Scene 1: Bay Window in the Breakfast Room.

Most Beloved upon seeing a shadow and in her most dramatic voice:

“In the middle of a mid-summer’s heat, late July or early August or perhaps middle August or maybe just summer’s end, without significant rainfall—almost enough to feel the standard repertoire of feelings common this time of year. June has bloomed, the massive undertaking of mulching and weeding, planting and wanting to be outside in 75 degree-weather has faded, and a certain weariness sets in. All-out efforts, even down to the hiring of help in the gardens, have not delayed the setting in of what always seems too short a bloom season.

One month in full summer bloom, June through July, then the sudden drying up where not only flowers fade, but moods do too. A bittersweet longing for what can only ever be temporal, an ache for beauty and warmth year round, and the reality that late summer brings the heaviness of high humidity, temperatures too hot to be comfortable outside, and the dip of disappointment that no matter how fierce our efforts, no matter how much our devotion, colors fade, the blooming ends, and the browning decay of this too soon mid-summer still come.”

Most Beloved sighs to take a paws (or “pause” in lay terms)

Serviceberry (Serviceberry Trees lose their leaves earlier than nearly all other deciduous trees in our area)

#2. The cat sees what she wants to see

Resurrection Lilies

Resurrection lilies revel us in their sudden vertical growth and striking pink blooms, a shade far more common in the spring here than during the mid-late summer months.

But where is my Beloved Catmint?

Where has my catmint gone?

Herbs, in full bloom, spill over the sides of their pots.

Chocolate Mint, German Chamomile, Greek Oregano, and Sun Hostas

Daylilies, also in full bloom, burst in a sundry colors.

And aquatic life–lily pads, canna lilies at water’s edge, resurrection lily preparing to bloom, koi beneath the lily pads–still define the periphery of summer in our gardens.
Resurrection lilies preparing to open, koi pond, lily pads, canna lilies

#3. The cat forgets how beautiful Fall can be

And so yes, Most Beloved, the leaves are beginning to drop–the 100-year-old Silver Maple is shedding some leaves; a few Elm tree leaves are sifting down; and the dwarf-mounding chokeberries have traded their green summer attire for crimson leaves and purple berries.

Look up at skies laced with love, and glance around to see flowers yet to bloom. Fall ushers in cooler nights and gentler days, though dearest one and forever Most Beloved, the temperature today is nearly 90 degrees.

Gardens at Effingham

And perhaps most importantly, Most Beloved?

Sunshine, glorious and warm, still radiates from the bluest of skies, willow-wisp clouds still drift carefree, and our many trees and shrubs still lift up their arms with joy.

Most Beloved

Gardens at Effingham

I am Most Beloved, she who looks after all of us here at Gardens at Effingham. I have always enjoyed a cup of catmint tea, the company of good friends, and stories that delight and visit me regularly from my garden journals and notebooks. I invite you to join us for a good cup of tea and stories from the sketchbooks, notes, and heart of Gardens at Effingham.

Summer Heat

Ode to Joy of Being a Cat

Coneflowers (echinacea) in the Sun Garden

Allegretto vivo

Scherzo. Forte. Crescendo without denouement. Succession of notes, days metered in the click-click of 4/4, key of A (for August heat), unstable and trilling, repetition the same and in measured heat, 90 degrees plus and even when not, humidity to sear the presto. 

And then there’s moi. Ode to the joy of lounging here. Finishing a power nap and contemplating another. Stretching—stretching,  sauntering off to nibble kibble, lap a bit of water, then curl up to watch the world through the grande windows of the music room. 

Or at least my world here at Gardens at Effingham. The roses are in bloom again (I am partial to the hot cocoa tea rose hybrids and the Mr. Lincoln 7-foot tall deep red tea hybrid), butterflies flit by (I like the Tiger Butterflies), and Strat Cat has passed by at least thrice now—twice while strolling about the grounds and once, just to sit and stare in the window at me. He seems utterly captivated. Perhaps it’s my pink nose? The way I swish my tail? Maybe he can smell the salmon I had midday? 

Perhaps he thinks I conduct the orchestration of all that we (ahem, they) do here. Since this morning a cacophony of metal and grinding, a hodgepodge of coming and going, and a collective disarray of sights, smells, and sounds. Andante and Allegro. I think I made them go away however, as all is quiet now and the truck, machines, and general disorderliness and discord has dissipated. 

Resurrection Lilies sing songs of hope, chanting in time sweet scents divine.

And so Bravo and all that jazz. I am she who is Most Beloved, and from inside the music room, I gaze outward on a world that is all my charge. These gardens and the cats they keep. The masons here to repair our brick walls. The butterflies and hummingbirds, the song birds and the bluejays, the cardinals and the robins, the squirrels, chipmunks, even the koi in the pond. 

All is a tempo. Save for rain. We could use rain. (Am I in charge of rain?)

Ever respectfully yours,

Most Beloved

Hiding behind the Petals
Gardens at Effingham