The lousy results in the garden this year were weighing on my green thumb, so I was relieved to discover that other people experiencing the hot-and-dry this summer also have zucchini with only male blossoms, beanless bean plants, and few tomatoes. The plants are too stressed to set vegetables. I don't know how to combat this in the future, though, assuming hot-and-dry is here to stay. Shade cloth?
This past weekend, my SO and I left the garden to fend for itself and visited Milwaukee (details here). One home we visited merits mention here, because despite it's postage stamp size, the yard was not only full of plants but also boasted a koi pond and a patio canopy, the latter from Target. After the heart-stopping estimate for an aluminum pergola, I have been looking at alternatives, including Coolaroos (thanks, ErinFromIowa, for the idea!) and patio canopies at Lowes (which was my SO's original idea for shading the patio), so it was helpful to be able to quiz someone about their personal experience with one.
Today, while watering (no rain fell while we were gone) I spotted a few bag worms on the arborvitae. Not the infestation from several years ago, but I'm glad I noticed them before any damage was done. I also found a winter squash growing on the vine in the meadow, a nice surprise. And the sweet potatoes and Meyer lemon tree are still very happy with the weather so far this summer. Good for them.
Speaking of the meadow, I am rethinking it. In its current incarnation, it is just too much work to maintain, even with the help of my SO, so I am contemplating reducing it to two 4'x8' beds near the patio (the better to photograph butterflies, my dear). Then I will turn the space into an orchard. Maybe. It will be something to meditate upon this winter.