SHARING SECRETS: The Dog Days of Summer…

Edited by Cathy Tylka for Let's Talk Plants! September 2021.


Question of the month -


The Dog Days of Summer…


1. What are you doing to survive them in your Garden?

2. And, more importantly, what is surviving because of the dry heat?

Joselle Spinoza answered…


... My Grevillea is completely unphased and continually flowering! Of all the succulents, the Portulicaria afra shows absolutely no sign of distress.

Monica Bockman replied…


... A nice layer of compost/mulch in the garden beds helps my plants withstand the warmer weather. My plants that are doing well in the dry are Toyon, manzanita, grevillea, butterfly bush, plumeria, variety of sages, buckwheat, and bay leaf tree.

Tynan Wyatt shared…


... My monkey oranges are finally pushing hard with the dry heat, they love it! My mangoes have also responded. This is important because I'm 1-2 miles from the coast and they get about one good flush a year so far. My CA natives are amazing, especially the monkeyflowers and Apache plumes. Oh, and the passion fruit are finally ripening which I will assume was speeded by the heat.

Cindy McIntyre stated…


... have planted native plants over the past few years and only water about once a month.

While Ida Rigby of 92064, pronounced…



1. To survive I am preparing the garden for fall planting, tearing out things that have been here 28 years now (Poway) and looking ratty and envisioning new plantings.


2. Surviving Plants: All Southwest natives (Toyon, sages, Palo Verde, Turk's Cap), Australians such as callistemons (red, purple, green and pink flowered varieties), pomegranates, chitalpas, wisteria, pineapple guava, cut leaf mulberry, redbuds, Arbutus unedo, tough old roses such as 'Madame Isaac Pereire' and older ones such as 'Mermaid,' 'Dortmund', 'Morning Jewel', 'Lyda Rose', 'Francis Lester', and 'Parade' and a wall of 30-foot-tall night blooming cacti. (insert photo 6 here)

And Cindy Bruecks, of 92107 usually but presently 86005, added…


... I'm spending the summer in Flagstaff, USDA Zone 5. The astonishing thing is that while we were locked down in San Diego for Covid, several plants died of drought/neglect. However, not ONE plant native to the area and the elevation croaked. The secret to surviving extreme conditions is to have well-established natives. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Christopher Burrows mentions…


... Shade cloth. Peppers and eggplant are doing well. Zinnias are beginning to go down.


And I, Cathy Tylka, 92026 say …

... when I started this column with a question a couple weeks ago, I had nothing to report, but now my brown figs are going off!

Had to throw in a picture of the kids and the grand-dogs of summer! And I am also getting a lively number of grapes and passion fruit!

Cathy Tylka, RN, retired Emergency Nurse, found her love of plants and the SDHS merge many years ago. Cathy acted as Treasurer for the organization and volunteer for many activities. Now, more than happy to assist in gathering questions to ask you in the Sharing Secrets area of the Newsletter.