This happens to me every year. Faced with drought, heat and bugs, I retreat from gardening and hide in an air-conditioned cave until Fall. And yet I get restless and bored not gardening or landscaping. Some people get cabin fever in Winter, I get it in the Summer.
This year has been worse, though. Financial hardship beyond what we’ve experienced means spending absolutely no money on anything frivolous. Having an infant has meant little to no spare time beyond the most basic of maintenance, which, in my case, seems to amount to a couple hours of mowing per week. And the fall of the Chinese tallow was probably the death rattle of my Summer gardening ambitions. Not only has it taken lots of effort just to clean up in any basic way, it trashed so much of the garden space – plants, brickwork and small structures – that apathy was almost a foregone conclusion before the tree even settled, however chipper I tried to remain about it afterward. Considering I probably need two solid weekend days alone just to grind up all the fallen branches and crushed plants, time I can’t seem to muster these days. I know this sounds rather defeatist, but dropping off the gardening map in Summer just seems to be how I’m built.
It’s rarely all that permanent though. Once the weather cools down a bit, I start to plan and build landscaping features. I rip out plants that didn’t work and start learning new ones I want to plant for next year. I start to scrounge Craigslist, Freecycle and empty lots for new (to me) building materials. I build new beds, walkways and other structures.