Siesta time

There is an oppressive curtain of heat over the garden, somehow exacerbated by an insistent insect hum. I have abandoned my spade and retreated to some shade but it is still much too hot. Breathing in, the air feels thick and fuzzy, like peach skin and the tingle on my neck tells me I will be wincing this evening. I wish I could snooze in a hammock, but I never have developed a siesta habit.

I have pip the lemon tree in my sights, and she is looking a little stressed and in need of a drink. Let’s let that just sink in for a moment. I live in Scotland, and I am worried it is too hot for my lemon tree……. The fig, on the other hand, is unashamedly euphoric and covered in hard green knoblets.

The sun was high in the sky by eight, but there was some dew on the leaves and a light breeze that made my morning PJ tour of the garden a real pleasure. I could even venture, briefly, into the greenhouse where finally some of this year’s perennial seeds have germinated. I see that another lupin has been munched though. Snail Hunt again this evening…..

In the mornings and evenings the bottom borders now have a glorious mauve and purple glow and the air is filled with the light fresh scent of the pale blue iris. The darker ones are less prolific this year so I think this may mean I need to split them. The slim yellow hemerocallis I scrounged from mum are doing much better. Last year the poor things had been remorselessly overcrowded by sedum and bergamot so I had an autumn clear out which has paid dividends. I now also have some nice clumps of bergamot by the pond (I never can bear to throw anything out).

I had been worried that the long dry spell would make the white camassia go straight to seed, but it is holding up and the bottom pond is looking rather elegant with drifts of cream highlighted by dots and dashes of yellow and orange and large pools of pink and red along the paths where the helianthemum and osteospermum have run amok. The white camassia was a mistake – I ordered blue. The bulb company were very good about it and replaced them the next year but I decided to leave the white in and I am glad I did. They don’t last as long as the blue ones, but nicely bridge the gap between the (much earlier) blue camassia and the marsh marigolds and the pond hemerocallis and other late summer flowers – a little serendipity in action.

The dry weather has frazzled the geraniums and the winds last week shook a lot of the blooms from the early peonies. The, fancier, later peonies are just starting to come into flower now. I have resisted watering them so far, but I do feel sorry when I see their little drooping heads so I may yet crack.

I have cosmos and antirrhinum in the cold frame ready to go in, but the clay soil needs beaten into submission first and a lot of compost added if they are to survive. This was what I was about this morning. I have a decent sized pocket ready for some red antirrhinum in the hot gar den, but there’s no point putting anything in now until the fiercest heat has passed. I am praying for a little rain before the cosmos have to go in as they are destined for a hideously rubbly clay bed at the front of the house. It is going to take a few hours of vigorous spadework to get that anything like ready.

As I wander round stickily, I find myself eyeing up possible jobs to do in the shade. I dug out a rather bizarrely placed box hedge at the back of the garage a couple of years ago. Rather than throw the box away I cut back the plants and dotted them in the border thinking that when they recovered I would try my hand at topiary. The stumps are leafing up again now and I am trying to decide what to do. Balls or cones would be easiest, but two of the stumps do rather make me think of running chickens. Perhaps their time has come….

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