I was out soaking the flower beds tonight in preparation for Wednesday's predicted 94-degree heat wave. There's one last soaker hose to activate tomorrow, and then the garden will be as ready as it can be -- unless I buy dozens of beach umbrellas to shade the plants. That would be quite the sight, but not as far-fetched as it would have seemed 10 or 12 years ago.
In those days, my garden had dozens of mid-size terracotta pots. This year, I sold all the mid-size pots, since they dry out way too quickly in the burning hot sun. Now I use immense glazed planters and plastic planters that can hold moisture better, and I line the one or two remaining terracotta pots with plastic to reduce the rate of water loss. But I've also minimized the total number of pots, moving most of the plants into the ground, where they stay damper and cooler. And, finally, on the south and west sides of the house, I've moved away from fragile flowering plants and am planting small hardy shrubs and grasses, sages, lavenders, groundcovers, and succulents that can survive dry periods.
Still, it's alarming to see that the sedum "Autumn Joy" is flowering -- in early July. The pear and apple trees already have sizeable fruit. And, in spite of my tenacious watering, all the hardy geraniums have pretty much flowered themselves out already.
Perhaps we should just go out and get some Saguaro cactii and have done with it.