Summertime Sameness

There’s a certain sameness to the end of summer. The increased fly population, uninvited to outdoor picnics and patio gatherings; the honey bees circling out-door garbage cans, looking for those sweet, discarded remnants of fermented fruits and veggies; and the fading of summer blooms, as they wither and fall to the ground. As we look forward to summer breezes changing direction, heralding the start of autumn, we know that this summer has not held that comfortable “sameness.”
Most of the time we are prepared for each season and know what to expect, but the summer of 2015 has been very unexpected in a number of ways. Erratic weather patterns of extreme heat and humidity, coupled with the on-going drought, have made the summer one loaded with challenges for all gardeners, even the herb gardener!
Since most herbs enjoy a Mediterranean climate, they will usually thrive in the hot sun. But bear in mind that the Mediterranean also provides a cool coastal breeze that provides them some relief during the day. In my Fallbrook herb garden, some of my herbs have actually “baked” to death, in spite of a protective landscape shade cloth. (Oh, well, didn't have to dry these herbs.) Others, never before bothered by bugs or fungus, were. Still, other herbs which usually laugh at drought, needed water to barely stay alive. Usually carefree, the drought-resistant herb garden has been very much the opposite this summer. However, the great thing about gardeners is our ability to adapt. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be gardening.
In spite of all of my garden’s demands, I have enjoyed an opportunity for learning. Yes, I have learned what herbs will enjoy sustained heat and not yield to bugs or any fungal attack in my CA herb garden. Surprisingly to me, what I call my “standard” herbs have out-performed some of the new cultivars I have added to my garden over the years. The herbs I grow year after year, and use culinarily and medicinally, are my basil, rose, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, borage, and English lavender. Although common, they never disappoint me, during growing season or harvest.
It's always better to know a few herbs intimately than lots of herbs superficially.