The average annual temperature in St. Louis, according to Wikipedia, is 56.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual precipitation is just a hair under 39 inches; compare that to Seattle, which gets just a hair over 37.
It doesn’t sound bad at all, if only it were spread out across the seasons. The problem is that St. Louis weather specializes in extremes: cold in winter, hot (and sticky) in summer, with torrential rains that swell waterways and despoil basements, too often followed by pitiless droughts that threaten crops and rosebushes, and turn lawns into spiky brown wastelands. (This message was not brought to you by the Chamber of Commerce.)
We’ve had three enervating weeks of triple-digit heat indices, three weeks of mercilessly blazing sun and barely a cloud in the sky. Our efforts to keep our plantings watered have kept them alive, but nothing is really flourishing except weeds and strangler vines. The number of blossoms on the Rose of Sharon bush outside the kitchen window, usually covered with blooms at this time of year, barely numbered a dozen.
Then clouds piled up in the western sky. The sun was briefly blocked, and we enjoyed a blessed hour of steady rain.
It cooled things off for a span. More than that, three hours later I glanced at the Rose of Sharon, and discovered, to my amazement and delight, that it was suddenly covered with tiny green flower buds, swelling almost as I watched.
The weather is back on its sauna setting, and more triple digits are forecast. Still, the plants are making the most of this brief respite, greening up and taking strength from the soaking. Faithful care and resilience have their rewards, and the Rose of Sharon will bloom again.
– Sarah Bryan Miller