Taking stock after the heat

The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled.” – Sue Monk Kidd

A gardener’s leave is best left for the inert months but family commitments meant I had to abandon my plants to the not-so-tender mercies of outlandishly hot temperatures and another extraordinary dry month. My daughter though, was a good stand-in and this far north, the hose pipe ban had not come into effect.

Too scorchingly hot for Acer Trompenburg

This is the last summer all my plants will be potted and gathered together on the front dais. The larger acers in particular will be pleased to have their roots in the ground next Spring. Even though this is a sheltered north facing site, both ruby-leaved Trompenburg and the small variegated. ‘Ukigumo‘ suffered significant leaf scorch

Cool dappled shade with shelter from cold north and east winds or westerly gales is what most acers prefer. Variegated foliaged acers need the most care ~ Burncoose Nurseries

pink mophead – lone survivor of the drought

Obviously the thirstier plants suffered the most and sadly only one hydrangea mophead remained in the pink – the rest literally browned off. Normally I gather these for winter floral arrangements but instead am ringing the changes this year with poppy seedpods as well as strawflowers, and drumstick aliums which I’ve grown for the first time.

The garden always feels tired by August and especially so this year. It is however a good month for taking stock of successes, disappointments, as well as considering upcoming changes.

I was certainly glad that I cultivated some parts of the back garden terrace. Although it is all still a work in progress, and the soil is very much undernourished some flower and vegetable patches kept the weeds at bay for wherever there is bare soil, bindweed winds its inexorable, matted way.

I missed much of the runner bean harvest but had enjoyed cos lettuce and rocket before some visiting critter nibbled all the purple sprouting broccoli and a few outdoor tomato plants. Slugs took all except one sunflower. The castor oil plants (Ricinus communis) were beyond temptation given that all parts are poisonous but the 5 out-of-date seeds, have grown well in this hot, dry heat.

keeping weeds and predators at bay

Next week builder buddy is returning to continue with more of the landscaping project. It will be the last major construction, though next year will involve several timber builds.

If the weather holds, and back pain improves, I can proceed with removing the rest of the grass in readiness for, laying down gravel. Having delineated growing areas. I will need to make soil improvements, as well as plan what plants go where. The list of necessary purchases is growing and I’ve begun drawing up a visual wishlist of ideas for Japanesque back garden, the cottage garden front and the woodland areas which morph from the Japanesque to the native. Lots to do over the winter months but Autumn is not yet here and i must take time to enjoy what is still growing.

Take a scrolling view through the garden on the cusp of September

7 thoughts on “Taking stock after the heat

  1. Such a pity about the acers! But that single hydrangea is a beauty… I’ve been sitting the rose bed this past week removing that dratted bindweed, too!

  2. Gardening has been such a challenge this year, and not a little dispiriting on the scorching front. It’s good to hear you’re still full of plans despite back pain and setbacks.

      1. Much at the allotment is now looking very dismal despite being watered. The runners have been rubbish, but they might just rally as the leaves still look lush. Beetroot have been and are being quite good as they were well mulched in advance of drought. Just been making borscht. Butter beans are looking likely to be the most successful crop (i.e. apart from the polytunnel toms). Also some self-sown chard is being rather brilliant. It’s popped up all over the place in between other veg. When I try to grow it on purpose it usually goes straight to seed. The joys of gardening – you just never know what will turn up – best laid plans etc.

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