The Slope on Tuesday 6th August

The intense heat that is August has arrived; it began in earnest last week and now the temperature hovers around the very high 30°’s C and into the 40°’s C.  Too hot for me.  I try to get up early, 6 is what I aim for but that is also the moment when it is a pleasant temperature to sleep so I have to choose, sleep or work in the garden – a difficult choice.  In the greenhouse it is 45.9°C – too hot for most plants to thrive, and impossible to enter except first thing in the morning.

I haven’t kept up with repeat sowing seeds I would like to have at all times, some days I can only just keep abreast with harvesting all the good things that are growing well; I’m not complaining but as I’ve said many times before gardening books and tv presenters rarely admit to how long the harvesting of tomatoes for instance can take.  While I’m picking I usually remove the leaves lower than the trusses and Italian habit that would, I think, help UK gardeners or gardeners anywhere the climate is wet or humid to avoid the dreaded ‘mildew’.

As promised I’ve photographed the slope in evening light rather than morning light; the sun is shining directly onto the slope for most of the day at this time of year.  Pennisetum villosum is the star of lower angle light and wherever it is in the garden it almost demands to be photographed late in the day; all the better as between 9 and 5.30 or 6 it is just too hot to be outside, I am lucky that the thick walls of our old house keep at least the ground floor at an acceptable temperature; when I walk in from the garden I sign with relief.

The Perovskia is not as blue

The Perovskia is not as blue


Pennisetum villosum catches the evening light

Pennisetum villosum catches the evening light


Prostrate rosemary hugs the wall it is growing over

Prostrate rosemary hugs the wall it is growing over

Solanum jasminoides Album continues to flower despite the heat

Solanum jasminoides Album continues to flower despite the heat


It is so hot and dry even Cistus shrink back into themselves and curl their leaves to offer a smaller surface area

It is so hot and dry even Cistus shrink back into themselves and curl their leaves to offer a smaller surface area

There are more fennel flowers ready to pick

There are more fennel flowers ready to pick

Is it hot where you are? Do you have summer rain that makes it humid or conversely are you in the middle of winter just waiting for those spring flowers to emerge?

25 thoughts on “The Slope on Tuesday 6th August

  1. Christina I read recently to remove all the leaves on tomatoes below the bottom truss once tomatoes have set, so I have done this, I think a lot of professionals talk a lot of rubbish and I don’t believe they do (alone) all the things many claim they do,

    despite your heat the slope still looks good, your irises are getting a good baking so you will have lots of flowers next year, even though your perovskia is not so blue it looks like it has a nice silvered colour, your grasses always look lovely,

    well I’m sure you can imagine my weather up here isn’t hot, infact not really warm even, August has come in with wind and rain and the temps most days barely reach 15C, Frances

    • The leaves of the tomatoes aften look a bit yellow so I think it is better safe than sorry. I haven’t heard of people in this area suffering from mildew or blight but coming from the UK it is something I am aware of. I can’t imagine 15°C, it does get anywhere near as low as that even at night in summer. It would be nice to sleep in that temperature.

  2. Love all your grasses Christina. The pennisetum and solanum really reflect the light nicely, and the summer mood too – calming after all the colour and excitement of the earlier weeks. I think my planting will have to take the same direction as I have lost several plants in the drought. It’s still in the 30s here, and humid,so I can understand how you feel when you come in from outside!

  3. Hi Christina, I was told recently that Italians allow their tomatoes to grow on the ground rather than tying them up into cordons, is that correct? I loved the relaxed idea of it, but usually its too wet here to try.

    • Some farmers grow them on the ground to be harvested by machine, so I assume that is for canning. Most are grown on canes as I do. Many people I know don’t prick out the side shoots and think it very labour intensive and strange that I do! But my tomatoes are often larger than theirs. I do sometimes let two or three stems grow but train them all on canes.

  4. Another wonderful slope post! I just love looking at it and watching it change 🙂 I completely agree about the harvesting. It does take a long time and you’re so right that this never gets covered by media. I find picking fruit the worst – redcurrants especially!! They’re so fiddly and prickly. The other thing I find hard work is brushing all the soil off!! I don’t want to bring soily beetroot into the house for example, so trimming and washing outside is a must. I love growing crops and eating crops but do prefer the more gentle and all absorbing activity of a bit of pruning and weeding to be honest. I can completely lose myself in that but not in veg picking!

    • I agree about pruning and even weeding is therapeutic in its way. Also picking tomatoes, cutting out lower leaves and pinching-out sides-hoots leave my hands black, and it doesn’t clean off easily.

  5. I grew Pennisetum villosum from seed, which are flowering for the first time this year, and am loving their airy heads: they truly are lovely and I almost reach down to stroke them whenever I pass.

  6. Tomato harvesting does take a long time, doesn’t it! So does picking beans or peas, something I have a tendency to forget when I am popping out to grab something for dinner… I remove the lower leaves of tomato plants too, quite brutally in fact, from when the first trusses start to hint at ripening. I cut out great armfuls of foliage yesterday, makes picking easier as well as cutting down on the mildew and making ripening easier.

    As for your slope, beautiful, that prostrate rosemary works perfectly, I love it. Your description of the heat though, that made me grateful to live in much cooler climes, I am actually grateful for the slight hint of autumn in the air at the moment!

    • This morning we were woken by strong winds and the day started very overcast but now it is hot again. Temperatures are due to fall a little this wekend, I hope they do! In the green house it is 45.6°C! Too hot to even go in.

  7. HI Christina, the slope looks hot and luscious! My tomatoes have flowers, no fruit at all, but today I shall be harvesting runner beans, and some courgettes. The heat has held these back, but now they are fruiting.

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