June was scorchingly hot and dry. Plants burned and let go of their leaves under the intense heat. A retreat into the earth was the only solution. Now July has brought storms and rain and cooler temperatures. Handy showers interspersed with brilliant heat. The garden has taken on a new vigour and is blooming once again, tumbling and jostling with renewed energy.
Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ with cosmos behind.
A joyous jumble of sunflowers, echinacea, rose ‘Pullman Orient Express’ and the ever fabulous salvias in a stunning range of colours. They were hacked back hard a month ago and now look at them. The thug-like equisetum looks so dainty with its tiny, airy white flowers behind the nepeta. There’s a penstemon flowering there too as well as shapely nigella seed heads.
The Jerusalem artichokes are getting in their stride with the wide spreading, ever reliable ‘Red Velvet’ salvia behind. The tall mallow adds majestic height.
Here, nestling in behind the nepeta is a cream salvia, salvia ‘La siesta’ in dusky pink, ‘Bordeaux’ further up and ‘Trewithen’ just seen in ‘bubble gum’ pink.
Mixes of flowers bloom in pots. Chocolate cosmos, lobelia, pansies, geranium and a blue salvia.
A solitary day lily lingers.
A pale monarda thrives in the semi-shade and is set off by the darkly handsome physocarpus ‘diabolo’ behind.
Spiraea ‘Anthony Waterer’ puts on a pink show. This hardy shrub fears no extremes of heat.
We all have favourite plants and salvias are one of mine.
Putting on some growth this year.
This shrubby, violet salvia catches the eye. It’s a good spreader too and is very hardy.
A more recent addition, ‘La Trinidad’. The lipstickiest of pinks!
Another salvia. Taller, more graceful and with periwinkle blue, longer, tubular flowers. Not of the hardy variety but I’m going to cover this ‘Blue Monrovia’ and see if it will go through the winter.
Then there are the super reliables. Plants that never fail you and never fail to impress.
Agastache ‘Apache Sunset’ with it’s pungent, liquorice-mint scent.
Verbena rigida, a great self seeder.
Salvia forskaohlei, sturdy with lovely blue-purple flower stems. A native of Greece and Turkey and loves full sun.
A mix of coreopsis. Plants that lift the spirits. Such happy, little plants and no garden should be without them.
Good, old verbena bonariensis. Here, they have self-seeded perfectly along the edge of this bed.
The rain in July has meant that conditions for the hibiscus hedge have been perfect. It is putting on such a show at the moment.
On cue, a bumble bee lands on the hibiscus flower as I take the photo. The hibiscus hedge is truly stunning this year. Must be perfect conditions for it.
Big, double blooms.
Singles with a red heart.
The hibiscus hedge with the paulownia tree (foxglove tree) behind, which I planted as a tiny cutting about 7 years ago.
The rain-and-sun cycle encourages the pumpkins, cucumbers and courgettes to push out their flowers. Much fruit will follow undoubtedly!
Tomatoes start to ripen, at last.
Courgette ‘Ronde de Nice’. Better pick it soon before it becomes a monster.
This potimarron (hokkaido squash) is swelling nicely. When ripe they have a lovely, chestnut flavour and make delicious soup.
Some field pumpkins grown from seed given to me by an American friend. These conserve for a long time in a cool pantry.
..and the giant pumpkins. Tiny plants that I dumped on the horse manure heap are now taking over, big time. Their pale yellow fruit promising to become big, orange heavyweights.
And it is the time of the cicada, deafening us with their electric-sawing sound. Usually difficult to spot, I was gardening last year and heard one very close by. It sounded as though it was coming from this tree. I looked but could not see it.
Can you spot it yet?
Closer still and I was staring straight at it…
..but couldn’t see it until I was this close!
Cicada – amazing camouflage!
As I write, the thunder is once again starting to rumble. Time to unplug all our sensitive electrical equipment for fear of damaging power surges. After the heat of the day, the garden will once again profit from some refreshing rain.