Having survived the brutal July heatwave, we are now experiencing some atypically mild temperatures for the “Dog Days of Summer”. With the memory of the heat lingering, I can still see a client’s newly installed plants wilting under the oppressive heat and lack of rain. But we have been given a reprieve and the “Dog Days” are, for the moment, not bearing their teeth.
Where did the phrase “Dog Days of Summer” originate? I ask this question as it has been driven into my mind by a mad spin instructor who likes to play a song by Florence and the Machine, “Dog Days are Over”. Who knows what the song means, but it seems as though life is heading downhill in the song. Me, I can’t wait for them to be over as I love the weather in September, but I am enjoying these few nice 80-85 degree days.
Loosely translated, the “Dog Days” are from mid-July to mid-August and, for most of us in New England, these are the hottest and most stifling days of the summer – days best spent on the beaches of the Cape and Islands or on a lake up north. The phrase comes from many ancient cultures (Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and others) who noted the time of year when one of the brightest stars in the sky, Sirius, rose with the sun in the morning. Romans believed that this bright star combined its heat with the sun and made these days unbearably hot. Sirius for thousands of years has been known as the Dog Star as it is the leading star in the constellation of Canis major, which is one of Orion’s hunting dogs. So during the year when Sirius rises in the morning, it is considered to be the “Dog Days of Summer.” In the interest of disclosure, I gathered this information from a few astronomy sites and the previous link.
With that, following are some images from my garden during these “Dog Days”.