July has been hot, to begin hot and humid and ending hot and windy; though probably it hasn’t been as hot as other years the humidity has made it less bearable. However during the last week the Tramontana blew and it was cool and on Saturday there were thunder storms – very unusual in Italy in July.
It has been a month where the vegetable garden has been more demanding than the borders. July has been a month full of vegetables and fruit, butterflies and bees, and dinners outside, beginning at sunset and continuing into the night. The sound of the Little Owl bring food for her chick, the bees so intent on drinking the nectar of the Datura flowers that they made perfectly circular holes in the petals so that they could enter even before they opened.
Savouring the first melon, the first sweetcorn; looking anew at my recipe books to find interesting new recipes for dealing with the gluts.
The lavender and perovskia have been attracting bees and butterflies all month. We have pruned the lavender (the last weekend of the month) it would have been better done even 2 weeks earlier – I feel I have regained the structure of the garden; it is only the cost that prevents me changing the lavender hedges to Myrtle.
The wind has been so strong I have had to irrigate even some of the borders that I usually leave to wait for the rain. Leaves have looked crisp rather than luxuriant. Some plants have surprised me with how well they have dealt with the weather. Hemerocallus are certainly overlooked as being suited to a hot, dry Mediterranean climate. They were flowering for much of the month.
Rosa mutablis has also been in flower for much of the month as has Rosa Molineux, R. Scepter’d Isle, R. Westerland and R. Clair Matin.
It has been cooking using the crops, trying to keep up with harvesting the tomatoes, zucchini, basil and the cucumbers.
I was thrilled that Caesalpinia gilliesii flowered this month. A friend gave me a small cutting last year, so I didn’t expect it to flower this year. It is now a small, very small tree.
The pleasure of the garden has been its abundance, despite the heat and wind for much of the month I have been very satisfied.