GBBD – August – Will it ever rain?

Yesterday the sky was overcast in the way I remember August days in England; the air felt thundery, rain had been forecast but I wasn’t very hopeful.

At around 5pm I could see black clouds on the horizon and hear the constant drum of thunder, I even saw some small flashes of lightning; I could see the dark shadow of rain actually falling between me and the horizon.  Would it rain here?  With my whole body I was willing it to rain – I almost imagined myself running outside and being soaked by large drops of water, f it running down my face, drenching my hair.

I can hear my English readers laughing, I know you’ve all had a wet, cold summer and I must sound like some crazed woman who should be taken quietly by the hand and put somewhere safe.  But to continue, a breeze picked up, the breeze felt cool – wonderful; IT MUST RAIN!  And, well, it did rain, a bit, maybe 15 minutes of good gentle rain that the ground sucked in, and my poor plants almost seemed to drink in, and then the sun came out again and it was warm and humid all over again and I felt let down, as if I’d been teased by this small taste of what could be if it rained for a day, 2 days, a week!

OK, so today is back to being hot! Humid and hot, my skin is prickling, today feels worse than before but the garden has had a little drink and there is the promise that summer is nearly over.  The 15th August is a holiday in Italy, the Assumption of the Madonna, a bit like August Bank Holiday in the UK.

There are some flowers in the garden, although apart from some Perovskia on the bank, some Hibiscus and a surprise, all the other flowers are where I irrigate.

Perovskia

Hibiscus – the flowers are smaller this year but it survives with minimum irrigation

The triangular rose bed is looking full of bloom, there is a reason for this; the irrigation pipe has broken several times so the bed has been soaked and the plants respond by blooming.

Rosa Scepter’d Isle

Half the line of Rosa mutabilis are flowering, the other half are not.  All are getting some water but the ones that are flourishing are also getting a small amount of run-off from the vegetable beds; just a little amount of water makes so much difference.

This year has been the hottest since we moved to Italy, nine years ago at the end of this month.  For gardening it has been challenging and I sincerely hope that it will be another 9 years before it is quite so hot again.  By next month I will know which plants have survived their test and which I will need to replace with something more drought tolerant.

Two of the Hibiscus were grown from cuttings taken by a friend and I would like more; I’ve noticed she has a white one with a purple blotch, now must be a good moment to take some cuttings of that.

I mentioned a surprise earlier; as I was walking around the garden this morning taking photographs my eye was caught by a plant covered in flowers, more flowers than leaves it seemed.  I’m certain that 2 days ago it wasn’t flowering; it is almost as if the rain has prompted it into life.  The bees love it, I’m happy because I know that it is a little tender and I had thought the freezing temperatures might have killed it this past winter.  What is it? A Westringier!

More flowers and leaves, if it flowers like this when its a larger plant it will be amazing. Westringier

Click on the image below to see all the flowers blooming in my Hesperides garden today.

Rosa Scepter’d Isle

Thanks to Carol at MayDreamsfor hosting, I’ll also link to Blogger Blüten hosted by Gesine@Seepferds Garten. Thanks to both for hosting this great meme.

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40 thoughts on “GBBD – August – Will it ever rain?

  1. You have so many flowers, I wasn’t expecting such a variety from your recent posts, it shows how resilient some plants are.

    • Not so many, Pauline and as I say the most are in the bed that was over watered when the irrigation tubes broke pouring out masses of water! That’s what makes the difference. Christina

  2. Your plant that responded to the rain looks like the good ol’ Texas Barometer Bush – Leucophyllum frutescens. Looks like ‘Silverado’ variety to me. I have several and your pictures look identical to mine. It will always respond to rain that way and it TOTALLY is a barometer bush….you see it bloom and it may even mean that rain is coming! Or you had a wee bit. CHEERS! Dont water it and DEFINITELY never fertilize it. Also, don’t prune it. IF you must…early spring other-wise it will not flower for you. But FOR SURE no fertilizer.

  3. P.S. by the time you read this message….the flowers will likely all be gone …dried up on the ground like they were never there. Until the next rain… 😉 Pretty neat plant! one of my favorites. If you water it, it will likely not flower as much. but it likes the rain when it gets it.

  4. Hi Christina, I enjoyed your slideshow! No one would guess your weather was so dry. I know what you mean about watching those clouds and hoping for rain. So many times big black thunderclouds will fill the sky with lightning, only to skirt around us and go down the road to dump the rain. Fortunately, some of those clouds have chosen us. I am grateful for every drop!

  5. Oh I really feel for you. I know what it’s like desperately wanting rain, even living here in Wales. We had a spell last year where it didn’t rain for 3 weeks (I know nothing in comparison to the months of dry you get) but even then it was a relief to get some of the wet stuff so I didn’t have to spend ages watering the plot. Do you tend to get any wetter weather in September?

    Despite the drought you have a remarkable number of flowers and the hibiscus is gorgeous.

    • Yes but thee weekd without rain in Wales is very hard on the plants that are used to so much more. that is one reason for trying to grow my plants ‘hard’ so that they have some chance of dealing with the drought each year (although this year is officially hotter and drier than for quite a few years). Christina

        • I hope I have enough to make some jelly this year; a friend has given me the recipe and I have some Certo (that it needs to set). I would also like to make pomegranate molasses as they do in Syria and Iran, it is fantastic on salads instead of lemon or Balsamic vinegar. Christina

          • In Iran they use the pomegranate molasses to make a lovely dish with ground walnuts called khoresh fesenjune. It is traditionally cooked with duck, but often small meat balls are substituted for the duck and I prefer it with the meatballs. It is served with the steamed Iranian Polo. It is a tasty winter dish.

  6. Enjoyed seeing your lovely blooms here and in the slideshow. Westringier is a new one to me. I’m growing very fond of Perovskia (although mine is not situated very well in my garden).

    • I was sold the plant as Westringier, but Xeristyle below is quite correct it looks exactly like Leucophyllum frutescens, she’s also right that most of the flowers have already fallen. Christina

  7. I know what you mean about the tease of a storm that doesn’t come or drop a bit of rain….hottest summer on record here and driest…I never thought I would be thankful for clay soil and wet springs with native hardy plants that have stood up to this nasty summer….your lovely flowers at least must bring some solace…wishing your weather changes for the better soon…ours is as we are getting more storms and cooler temps this weekend. I’ll send it your way.

  8. We had proper storms breaking what heat we have here on Saturday night, though it is muggy again now. I hope that you have cooler summers to come, and that most of your plants have merely slept through the heat rather than been lost to it. Still lovely blooms today though, the rosa Sceptr’d Isle is beautiful, and that Westringier is fascinating.
    Sara x

  9. I know just how you feel–I’ve done the rain dance many times this summer as well, usually to no avail. Your garden is looking lovely in spite of the lack of rain.

  10. Hi Christina, glad you had a little rain, hope there is more to come. You have some truly beautiful roses – I have inherited several, but will have to wait until next year now to get to know them and work out what to plant with them. Good to see the knautia flourishing! Like Sara, I hope you are pleasantly surprised by the number of plants that survive to bloom again next year, when hopefully it will be a little cooler and wetter.

  11. HiChristina – I really couldn’t hope with the heat you have, I would just be so miserable. Whilst the rain here is tedious I wouldnt swap it. Today we have had heavy rain for an hour or so and non-stop moaning!!

    As ever I am impressed with how your garden stands up to the heat and have no idea what the mystery flower is. Sorry

    I am willing to rain your way

    • The rain won’t come for a while yet; all I can hope for is slightly cooler nightsd will may create some condensation thats actually helps the plants quite a lot. I’m surprised how well I’ve coped with the heat this year; usually it’s not humid so is more bearable than English hot days although it is impossible to garden after 9am or before 6pm. Christina

  12. Those are some resilient flowers! I hope you start to get some refreshing very soon. We are finally getting some cooler temps, which is helping everything perk up a bit. But this year has not turned out as I would have wished… just too dry. There is always next year, I guess. 🙂
    ~Julie

  13. Christina sorry you didn’t get more rain, after the bit of rain we had end July it’s been dry again till yesterday and today when we have had a bit of rain but surprisingly for where I am my soil is so dry the rain has barely wetted it, like you it needs a good downpour now, how your plants cope with the heat you have is amazing like the plants I saw in Egypt, the plants that are blooming are beautiful, isn’t it lovely to come across wonderful surprises in the garden, it always gives me a little lift, your garden always looks so full of blooms, Frances

      • I did say ‘looks’ so full of blooms 🙂
        I often think nothing much is blooming in my garden then I go round with my camera taking photos come in and download on the computer and it suddenly looks like a lot is blooming, I think the reason (for me anyway) I feel there is nothing much is because my garden it big so it is all spread out, I imagine you too have quite a large garden,
        a gardener asked a question to the panel on GQT friday, should he plant for drought, flood or pave it over and sit back with a glass of wine,
        it’s hard working with the weather, Frances

      • Christina it’s right at the end and they don’t give much of a helpful response it’s the fun question they often put at the end of the programme though they did say no paving due to draining gravel instead, I think they liked the wine idea 🙂 Frances

  14. Wonderful slide show! A lot of the gardeners here are desperate for rain, too. My garden depends heavily on my irrigation system since I can never count on receiving enough rain to keep everything watered. I think we have some of the same roses. Do you have a William Shakespeare 2000?

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the slide show. Yes, you’re correct, I have three R. William Shakespear in the circular rose bed, with irrigation it repeat flowers very well. I love its perfume. Christina

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