Going on holiday at this time of year is always a risk when you’re a gardener. Being away during what turned out to be the two hottest weeks for years is even riskier but that’s what we did. I tried not to worry about the garden while we were away!
I had deliberately planted fewer annuals (a scattering of marigolds, cornflowers and sweetpeas) and just six tomato plants outdoors (not in the greenhouse) because I knew we’d be away for just over two weeks and the garden needed to be as low-maintenance as possible this summer. My dad very kindly came every few days to water plants in pots, tomatoes and the new rose and perennials we’d planted this year, so I knew they’d survive, but everything else had to take its chances. If it hadn’t been for the fierce storm a few days before our return, I think the garden would be looking better than it does but there’s been a fair bit of collapse. Not surprising, really. No rain for weeks and weeks, so the plants were already parched and then they were thoroughly roughed up by the wind and heavy rain. Poor things. The grasses, especially the Stipa tenuissima, are looking particularly bedraggled, and the monster tomatoes, giant fennel and some of the larger Verbena bonariensis are listing drunkenly. Nothing that several hours with a pair of secateurs, a ball of twine and some stakes can’t sort out, though 🙂 And although it wasn’t enough to help the poor lawns, the rain we did have was incredibly welcome. It’s back to watering this week, though, as the temperatures have soared again and there is no rain forecast for the foreseeable.
So, that’s the garden at the end of July. I spent a couple of hours out there this evening dead-heading, staking and tying up, pulling out loads of Linaria purpurea to stop it seeding even further (there is TOO much) and generally saying hello to everything. Going on holiday is wonderful but it’s lovely to be back. Thank you to Helen, The Patient Gardener, who hosts the EOMVs.