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july has left me all but completely discouraged. gnats or something like them have completely eaten our basil plants. the searing sun scorched the remaining swiss chard leaves and my hyssop is burnt to a crisp.

money for the starters aside, it’s hard to kick these glum feelings as I imagine my green thumb turning black. could have soaked them more– but is that much water worth it (and ethically sound?) for the sake of a midsummer garden?IMG_7408

it’s no surprise that the champions of this heat are the native species, or at least the ones well adapted to this climate. it’s taken 10 years in and out of Tucson to *finally* truly see this landscape for its immense beauty. now- it’s my responsibility to translate this appreciation into our backyard. sometimes it’s really difficult to abandon those fantasies of a bountiful summer veggie patch identical to what I grew up with in the midwest.

but rather than smashing a square peg into a round hole, I’m determined to learn more about planting with the monsoons here in the Sonoran desert, so that next spring and summer we can yield water-wise crops.

IMG_7409as if to whisper, “don’t be so hard on yourself…” the passiflora vine bloomed just after the first hard rain. her dazzling lavenders lasted only one day and then withered.  IMG_7412

she impresses me so because she’s in a very neglected part of the yard, sans irrigation or shade. only a tiny bit of rainwater encouraged tremendous growth. a perennial lesson in being content with one’s lot, and finding inspiration in otherwise unsavory conditions.IMG_7416