I decided to spare my family a litany of watering instructions for the house when we took off to Texas to see the kids recently. Just regrouped unplanted specimens (from ongoing landscape projects) in the shade, mulched around them heavily and really water- logged them. Permanent residents got the same treatment. Just trying to make sense of this year’s unusual weather. If you didn’t water, you pretty well had nothing in the garden. And as for deer coming in to graze, ask my dad why he’s referred to as "disco dad!"

The trip to the botanical garden was hot but definitely worth it. We support Garvan Gardens in Hot Springs, but our Garvan visitor’s pass was gladly accepted in Dallas. Investing in membership at one garden can get you into many other gardens around the country. Cardinal fans up in St. Louis for a game should make a point to visit their botanical garden. Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden, having opened in 1859. The garden covers almost 80 acres. Master Gardeners from the area contribute significant volunteer time there as well.

Next time you nibble on a piece of Swiss or cheddar cheese, consider that some cheese makers in Vermont are recycling their diary whey to companies that make environmentally friendly wood-finishing products from it.

Speaking of earth-friendly, did you know that several states and municipalities have taken it on themselves to get residents in "green mode". In Maryland, a resident can go to a participating nursery and use coupons issued by the state for $25.00 off when buying trees. It’s part of their plan to plant 50,000 new trees by 2013. Residents in Austin, Texas, who incorporate native, drought tolerant plants in their landscape and convert from a water-needy lawn can receive rebates of up to $30.00 per square foot per of converted land. The list goes on: New York gives incentives for "green roofs" and Indiana, for establishing rain gardens to reduce storm water runoff.

Stay cool, Stay hydrated. This (miserable summer weather), too, will pass.