After the rain

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.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 10

Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ with cosmos behind.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 09

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.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 08

The Jerusalem artichokes are getting in their stride with the wide spreading, ever reliable ‘Red Velvet’ salvia behind. The tall mallow adds majestic height.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 07

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.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 01 Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 02 Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 03 Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 04 Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 06

 

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 13

A solitary day lily lingers.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 14

A pale monarda thrives in the semi-shade and is set off by the darkly handsome physocarpus ‘diabolo’ behind.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 15

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.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 16

Peachy!

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 17

Putting on some growth this year.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 18

This shrubby, violet salvia catches the eye. It’s a good spreader too and is very hardy.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 19

A more recent addition, ‘La Trinidad’. The lipstickiest of pinks!

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 37

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.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 20

Agastache ‘Apache Sunset’ with it’s pungent, liquorice-mint scent.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 21

Verbena rigida, a great self seeder.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 39

Salvia forskaohlei, sturdy with lovely blue-purple flower stems. A native of Greece and Turkey and loves full sun.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 35

A mix of coreopsis. Plants that lift the spirits. Such happy, little plants and no garden should be without them.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 34

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.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 30

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.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 31

Big, double blooms.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 32

Singles with a red heart.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 33

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 28

The hibiscus hedge with the paulownia tree (foxglove tree) behind, which I planted as a tiny cutting about 7 years ago.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 40

The rain-and-sun cycle encourages the pumpkins, cucumbers and courgettes to push out their flowers. Much fruit will follow undoubtedly!

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 41

Tomatoes start to ripen, at last.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 42

Courgette ‘Ronde de Nice’. Better pick it soon before it becomes a monster.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 43

This potimarron (hokkaido squash) is swelling nicely. When ripe they have a lovely, chestnut flavour and make delicious soup.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 44

Some field pumpkins grown from seed given to me by an American friend. These conserve for a long time in a cool pantry.

Labastrou, garden July 22 2014 - 45

..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.

Cicada, summer 2013 - 1

Can you spot it yet?

Closer still and I was staring straight at it…

Cicada, summer 2013 - 2

..but couldn’t see it until I was this close!

Cicada, summer 2013 - 3

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.

 

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2 thoughts on “After the rain

  1. Cathy

    Your garden is looking so good! We have been having the same weather as you I think. Really love your salvias. I must try and grow some different ones.

    Reply
    1. lindsay53 Post author

      Hi Cathy. Yes, I am absolutely thrilled with the salvias. They had a great flourish until the end of May, went into a decline with the heat of June, and I cut them back hard but are now out in force again. The range of colours is astonishing. Recent acquisitions include ‘Sun Gold’ a lovely, bushy, lemony yellow one, ‘La Trinidad’ and ‘Desert Blaze’. So easy to take cuttings from too. They smell gorgeous and bees & butterflies love them. What more could you ask?

      Reply

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