Friday, July 3, 2009

The dog days of summer ...

I was wandering around this morning, feeling remiss for not having posted for a while, and looking for things of interest in the garden.

But since it was 104 yesterday and we're months into our summer, I had a hard time finding anything new to write about. And then I saw Tanner sprawled out in the sun and it hit me ... July 3rd or no, in Austin, Texas, it's the "Dog Days of Summer" already.

According to Wikipedia, the term "Dog Days" was used by the Greeks and the Romans (who called these days caniculares dies) after Sirius, the "Dog Star," Latin. The dog days of summer originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise, which is no longer true, because of the precession of the equinoxes.

Here's the icky part: The ancients sacrificed a brown dog (look out Tanner!) at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

Dog days were popularly thought to be an evil time "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour , dogs grew mad and all creatures became languid, causing man to burn fevers, hysterics and phrensies" according to Brady's Clavis Calendarium, 1813.

I don't think my wine is sour and I'm not sure if the seas are boiling, but I will definitely be on the lookout for mad dogs and hysterics at my house!

But, I can see how the oppressive heat could make you believe in all those things, don't you?


Here are a few bright spots in the oppressive heat ... Esperanza.
Desert Rose
Duranta
Coneflowers
Pride of Barbados
The mixed pot by the front door with Mexican Heather, Rudbeckia, Hibiscus, Zinnias, Potato Vine and Snapdragons.