Most nights, Cheryl Fleeger spends an hour dousing her flowers with the hose to protect them from the withering heat.
"I'm watering them once a day," said the 35-year-old Edgewood woman last night as she sprayed the flowers in front of her house on Perry Court. "The grass can fend for itself."
On a day when the thermometer reached 100 degrees in Baltimore and 97 at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, homeowners, gardeners and farmers all over Maryland struggled to keep their grass from burning, their flowers from wilting and their crops from dying.
Most dragged out their sprinklers and tried not to think too much about their water bills. But in Harford County, where the use of sprinklers was banned two weeks ago to avoid water pressure problems, a nice yard doesn't come so easy.
"It takes a lot of work," said Ray Hamm, 57, who lives on Perry Avenue in Edgewood. "We don't water the lawn at all. We try to water the flowers every other night."
Like most of his neighbors, Mr. Hamm keeps waiting for rain. He didn't see much in June.
In fact, June was hotter and far dryer than usual, according to Ken Shaver, a forecaster at the National Weather Service.
In Baltimore, the average temperature for the month was 79 degrees -- almost four degrees higher than normal. The thermometer reached 100 degrees twice, with yesterday's high tying the 1959 record.
At the airport, the average temperature for the month was 74 degrees -- two degrees higher than normal.
During a normal June in Central Maryland, about 3.7 inches of rain falls, Mr. Shaver said. But last month, only .62 inches of rain fell in the city and 1.08 inches of rain at the airport.
Standing behind the Jones Family Farms produce stand on U.S. 40 outside Joppatowne, Deborah Jones wondered how much longer the crops can last without a good soaking rain. "My husband is out day and night irrigating," she said. "I hardly ever see him."