Summer Treats

Summer is approaching and we welcoming the anticipated heat with treats! For Father’s Day Weekend 2024, we are doing our first ever Ice-Cream for Dad Day on Saturday. Doug Grimm will be mixing up vanilla ice cream in a 5 gallon, tractor-powered ice cream maker. But besides the ice cream, what are some other outdoor things that are summer treats for everyone?

When I think of summer, there are a lot of things that come to mind. Summer officially opens in June, typically just as kids are getting out of school. And the first thing that comes to mind with that is swimming. I never much liked swimming as a kid, and I still do not, but my kids do. I prefer to just sit in the water and chill. Running water, a lazy stream, the family pond, whatever.

Planning Your Landscape To Include Summer Refuges

What does all that mean? Well, if you are an outdoors person like me, then it makes sense to plan your landscape with a place of rest outside, even for the heat. I cannot afford a swimming pool yet, but we have filled a stock tank with water. If you can afford one, or already have one, then happy splashing! But there are many other things you can design into your landscape to give you a refuge from the heat of the day.

laying the summer hammock

Shady Spots to Swing

The hammock is where I like to be. The problem is usually where do I put it? I only have 2 trees in the yard large enough for the hammock, or I could go down to the woods. But I like to be near the house to keep 1 eye on the kids. As you plan your landscape, you can create nooks under trees or a vine-covered pergola with hammock posts. Or a place for a large swing. One of the trends in swings is to create them with a futon sized frame for a small mattress in waterproof covers. This is excellent for laying down on.

bean teepee

Flower Rooms and Bean Teepees

What is a flower room? Well, it can be anything really. But to me, it would be a specifically designed spot within my landscape where flowering vines and other flowers are used to created a hidden space, cool and shaded, where the kids or I could rest during the heat. In fact, I am already planning one in my 2023 tomato bed. It will have hog panels curved over and attached at the top to make an igloo looking structure. O that I will plant flowering vines. Around it will be zinnias, dahlias, ageratum, petunias, and more.

Bean teepees are made with bamboo or other wood poles planted in a circle and tied together at the top, like a teepee. You leave a small gap for an opening, string wire or rope around it, and then plant pole beans on it. The beans cover the teepee and shade the interior. It makes a great place for someone to sit in the cool during the heat.

Summer Fruits in the Garden

Another thing you can do when planning your garden is to include various fruits for summer snacking. I do not mean that you need to plant a whole orchard, but rather mixing in summer bearing fruits into various parts of the landscape. Adding these edimentals to the landscape not only provides you with fruit, but they add beauty to the while area.

What fruits ripen in the garden in summer? Depending on where you live, any number of fruits may be found. If you live somewhere tropical you may have lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Semi-tropical areas can have figs and watermelons earlier than those of us in the Central Great Plains. Here though, we have cherries, apricots, strawberries, and serviceberries in June. Then we have peaches, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in July. August is also great for peaches and grapes. It may sound difficult to get some of these into the landscape, but there are ways. Check out my post on Fruit Tree Guilds to see more.

ice cream in the summer

Ice Cream

Ice cream is one of the oldest summer treats, dating back to sometime around 900 B.C. That is when a similar concoction made from milk and fruit is thought to have been thought of first. No one seems to know when our version of ice cream appeared, but that does not matter. It is here and we love it. If you are like me, and tired of buying soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup laden ice cream at the store, then you can make your own at home. Cream, sugar, vanilla, salt, and ice are all you need to make it!

And if you have planted any of the above fruit, you can add them to it. One of my favorites is homemade black raspberry ice cream. My grandma used to make vanilla ice cream while I picked black raspberries for her. She would mash the berries with sugar in a pot on medium heat until boiling, then cool for 5 minutes and pour over the ice cream. Yum!


Summer does not have to be the burdensome time of heat and stress that a lot of gardeners make it to be. There are a lot of ways to stay refreshed and keep cool in the summer heat. Remember to plan your garden for you so that you will always want to be out in it.

Happy planting!

author of summer treats

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