End of Month Review July 2022

 It can't be August so soon, it just can't be!!!

oh yes it can and what a hot dry July it has been.  I think there was brief mention in the news that we might have record high temperatures (and we did) and here in the usually mild-middle we have very little rain to speak of.  The garden, it is fair to say, is not happy.

The front garden at first glance does not look too badly effected.  It does face north so is protected from a lot of the heat.  I bought this new obelisk for my Gertrude Jekyll rose at Hampton Court Flower Show.  I had to trim her back in order for her to fit, she will recover soon enough I am sure.
Not all is happy and dancing in the front garden, this fuschia in the front border is looking a bit crispy.
The succulents that spend their summer outside are enjoying the warm.
and the planter of annual bedding plants has been kept watered and seems quite happy.  The begonias are taking over a bit, but I am pleased with how colourful it is.
Keeping all the various pots watered at the moment does feel like quite a challenge.  I do not water them or any part of the garden daily and I try to water different parts on different days so that it is does not take too long.  There is talk on the news of hosepipe bans so I do worry about how to keep watering enough. I do not use sprinklers (I don't own one) and I tend to use the hose pipe to water the pots not the actual garden.  Most of my water is done by watering can.  I usually only water pots and new plantings but this year some existing plants have needed some additional help too.
I never water the lawn, that has to look after itself.  It does look fairly green still in places nonetheless.  The green is largely weeds wildflowers, there is not a lot of green in the grass itself now.
The bees are enjoying the warm, especially now the cardoon is flowering.
and the Eupatorium maculatum, or Joe Pye Weed as it is known, is providing a great source of food for butterflies and bees in the garden.  I planted the original plant a few years ago now and it has been divided to add a couple more in the garden.  It is a great plant: wonderful for pollinators, a nice froth of colour and creates good height.
A new addition to the Pond Border is the rusty tree.  This was also bought at Hampton Court, it was my 'extravagant purchase'.  I have been looking at these trees at shows for years, never quite committing for one reason or another.  This year it was 'just do it' as you never know if this will be the last year you will see them.  If you look closely you can see the small bronze coloured fruit....
these are actually bronze solar Moroccan Fairy Lights which were gifted to me by Lights4Fun.  When I first chose them I thought they might look nice on my rusty tree when it arrived, and I am delighted with how wonderful they look.  The rusty tree has another purpose as well as giving structure to this border: more of that another day..... 
Did I mention we needed some rain?
The edgeworthia has been suffering from lack of rain.  I keep giving it a bucket of water every few days but it is struggling.  There was I worrying about it getting through the winter and it is a dry summer that is really making it unhappy.
The Exotic Border is looking quite lush.  The tree ferns are getting watered often.
The under planting in the Exotic Border is increasingly of hostas, who seem to be quite happy there.
and there are joyful moments like this clematis ascending the pleached hornbeams.  This has had no water at all and so far so good.
The hydrangeas in the Accidental Shrubbery are not totally happy but I am managing to keep them going, (just).
and the new butterfly border is a bit baked but I am managing to give the new plants enough water to keep them going and flowering.  
His gingerness has recently discovered the catmint in this border and has decided it helps with his arthritis pain.  Even sitting on it seems to help apparently.  So far out of the 8 Nepeta farrsennii that I planted, I have 7 definitely remaining.  I think the cats have killed one but I keep watering it just in case it does make a revival.  A couple look a little worn but they are so far managing to spread the load of cat-love between them enough to recover.
The Courtyard Garden is settling down after its revamp.  The bright yellow bistro set remains one of my favourite purchases of the year.  It is a lovely cool shady place in the summer and now it feels like it has real purpose.  It's only taken me fifteen years.....
Mavis is wearing begonias in her hair this year and she seems to be very happy with this.
and the meadow in a hanging basket is about to start flowering with intent.
The Pond is a sad green sludgy over grown mess.  It needs the plants thinning again and it needs some rain desperately.

and then just as I was getting ready to publish this update, the heavens opened and we had some much needed overnight rain.  The garden this morning is refreshed and singing with happiness.  It was not enough rain to restore balance to the garden, but it was enough to make a difference.  I look at the impact of the last couple of weeks on the garden and worry as ever about what climate change means for our future.  Like many I do what I can in my own small way but I also know it is not enough and I have to do more.   

Let us hope.  Let us act.

Take care and be kind

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