A ridiculously hot day
I was up early this morning watering from 8am, any areas that were not watered last night. The auricula theatre, front field rose border, new cornus in the field, containers, polytunnel, pumpkin patch and back garden. When I’m watering the pumpkin patch, there is a magical moment. The planting holes are all marked with a cane, this is to help me direct the hose when watering. Each squash/pumpkin is planted in a hole in the plastic black sheet so carefully directed irrigation is essential. There is a fake butterfly on a spring wire inserted into each cane. One cane has lost its butterfly and a dragonfly perches on the cane, one real dragonfly amongst a host of fake butterflies – a rather lovely sight!
I am approaching today with considerable apprehension, even at 8am, the temperature is high. My intention is to get all potentially vulnerable plants to have some sense of moisture around their roots to try to get them through this difficult day. I then went around deadheading dahlias which really do not appreciate this extreme heat, especially the big bloomed ‘dinner plate’ dahlias.
We are being visited today by one of my dearest friends, Anne, we are both bassoonists and play in the same orchestra. We spend almost all the time she is here sitting at a picnic bench in the shade under a nut tree in the orchard. We have a brief walk around the garden but the heat is unbearable, so we do not linger. By far the best place to be was the mushroom house and if this weather continues, I think I’ll move down there! We had a lovely lunch, particularly so because I didn’t have to make it! Meave made a pasta salad, which was mixed with a ‘pesto type’ sauce made from two types of basil from the polytunnel – normal large leaved basil and the small leaved Greek basil. The pasta also included the first of our cherry tomatoes. She served this with a large leafy salad with our lettuce and cucumber. For desert, we had one of Aideen’s ice cream creations – gooseberry flavour, using mainly the purple gooseberries. This was not only delicious but also a beautiful colour!
I was hoping we would have a thunderstorm at the end of the day with plenty of rain, but James really worried me by saying his weather app said no rain for a week! I think he saw the expression on my face and offered to do the watering that night whilst I prepared the dinner which I was very grateful for. Tonight’s dinner was a traditional ‘coq au vin’ making use of the first shallots and served with broccoli and new potatoes from the garden, I will cook lots of potatoes and they can be used for potato salad tomorrow. It is quite a challenge digging out potatoes from the first potato bed because the bed is full of large borage plants. I attempt to dig out the potatoes without dislodging the borage (which is permanently full of bees!) and the other companion planting of phlox, verbena and cosmos. If I am successful, this leaves a raised bed full of flowering plants much more use to the garden than bare dug over earth. I would also like to put in a word for my wonderful broccoli plants in the polytunnel which I expected to have finished weeks, if not months ago (there is a tray of basil still waiting to replace it when it is removed).These Autumn sown plants grew to a handsome size with lovely blue/grey/green leaves and each produced a central single floret and I thought that would be it. However, every time I remove a floret they re-sprout new ones and I’m still harvesting large bowls of broccoli and tomorrow is the start of August!