GBFD – Scorched and then the first rain came

As I mentioned in my last post we had our first rain for over a month during Monday night plus the temperatures have dropped this week by about 10°C, making it again possible to work in the garden with some degree of comfort at least for most of the morning and in late afternoon. Today I worked on until 1.30pm and it was hotter than I at first realised! Caution is needed, I was wearing a hat!

Central path with lavender, box and bay pruned

Central path with lavender, box and bay pruned

Last week the lavender was pruned as you can see there appears to be large amounts of it that are dead. It may improve with more rain but I am seriously considering changing the lavender for something else. I love the pollinators that appear like magic when the lavender is in flower but actually prefer the look of the garden when it is tightly pruned.  Realistically I can’t afford to replace the lavender with Box which I would rather like so I’m pondering alternatives.  If I replace the lavender I will plant more lavender in other parts of the garden, possibly in the large island, where there is already one plant, and the Slope, where they can grow steadily larger and therefore not have dead wood showing.

From this central image you can also see that the large Bay block at the back isn’t central, I am encouraging some new bay to reach the statue of this pre-existing feature.  I want to change the bed in front of the bay to become a focal point with a bench to look back to the house, I’m considering some kind of arbour too with the bay forming a dark background; I’m not sure if I’ll do this this autumn or next year.

Some foliage is always reliable whatever the temperature, Holly, Arbutus and Choisya ternata cope well, even in last year’s severe drought they remained beautifully green; the Agapanthus and Canna are better with some irrigation or better summer rain to look their best.

Sedum

Sedum

Light shining through Agapanthus foliage

Light shining through Agapanthus foliage

P1110192

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal

Canna and Choysia

Canna and Choisya ternata

I have several clumps of Miscanthus sin. ‘Morning Light’, my favourite grass; it isn’t flowering yet but doesn’t need to be to look beautiful, I love its arching habit and the light it brings to the borders; I divided one clump in spring – some being replanted and some put into pots.  Those planted have needed irrigation and will, I hope, look better after a winter in the ground,; those in pots will be planted in September or early October.

Miscanthus sin. 'Morning Light'

Miscanthus sin. ‘Morning Light’

Miscanthus sin. 'Morning Light'

Miscanthus sin. ‘Morning Light’

In the Large Island (which has no regular irrigation (plants only given water if in dire need) it is the silver plants that sparkle and the purple sedum sets them off to perfection.

Artemisia 'Valerie Finnis'

Artemisia ‘Valerie Finnis’

Sedum and Santolina in the Large Island

Sedum and Santolina in the Large Island

Sedum and Santolina in the Large Island

Sedum and Santolina in the Large Island

To join in GBFD just write your post and add the link to your comments, all are very welcome.

Donna at Garden’s eye view has already included some lovely foliage in her monthly roundup of the garden. And Deb at Deb’s Garden Journal just posted about her front garden which is filled with mouth-watering foliage; do visit them.

What foliage is looking at its best in August in your garden?

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27 thoughts on “GBFD – Scorched and then the first rain came

  1. Christina you showed an interesting variety of plants for August GBFD. Enjoyed reading your plans for your central path. My lavender had become very big and woody, so I cut it back severely in early spring. It didn’t bloom well but don’t know if it’s the pruning or the wet weather. I like your Sedum and Santolina combination very much. My GBFD post is ready at http://pbmgarden.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/garden-bloggers-foliage-day-august-2013/ Thanks for hosting. Susie

    • Thanks for joining in again this month Susie, I always enjoy your foliage posts. I usually cut my lavender 2 or even 3 times a year, it doesn’t effect the flowering unless you did it very late.

  2. Christina, you know what a fan I am of your lavender! But you have excellent design sense, so I am sure whatever you choose to do will be fabulous. I am glad you finally had some rain. We continue to be wet here.

    Also, you asked about the voodoo plant. It should survive in the ground as far as hardiness is an issue, but our wet winters could cause the corms to rot. I am also scared to leave it in the ground; it may decide to take over the world! I plan to dig all of mine and store them for the winter.

  3. You’re right – the silver plants and the grasses too really set off the foliage of other plants. I like sedums at this time of year, but prefer the pale green ones as they stand out better in my rockery.

    • I like the green Sedum too, there are so many different varieties, one suitable for each situation as long as they have free draining soil, but even in this they are pretty tollerant.

  4. I’m not usually a fan of tightly pruned shrubs, but your first photo is divine. I have a row of lavender that I prune into tight little balls. They always look dead at first, but then rebound and bloom profusely lo these nine years. I just planted ‘Morning Light’ and am already wanting more.

    • ‘Morning Light’ will form a large plant that you can lift and divide after a few years; I’ve never had any grow from seed but I know others who have. It doesn’t always flower if the summer isn’t long – that’s not important, it’s still the perfect grass.

  5. Christina as always thanks for hosting. I love that micanthus and your garden seems to be doing OK even without rain. I actually lost a lavender from too much rain this summer. But I am glad it has finally rained and cooled a bit for you. We got our first rain yesterday and it was a 1/2 an inch. Cooling here too.

    Thank you for the link to my blog and I will add it here too as I link in :

    http://gardenseyeview.com/2013/08/12/a-bloom-day-bouquet-for-mom/

    • Thanks for joining in again this month Donna; it is lovely to be a little cooler. It is still hot during the day but manageable, it is a good time here with lots of vegetables to pick and enjoy and the garden is coping, what more could I want?

    • Thanks for joining Foliage Day Cathy, one day doesn’t count as late. Light and shade is an important consideration when designing a garden and something that changes ALL the time.

    • Really it was last summer that did the damage to the lavender, after the rain of the winter I hoped it would improve. I think what I showed is still alive just ugly, but it is much, much too large. We don’t seem to have sawfly.

    • Don’t worry, I’ll plant some elsewhee in the garden I just don’t think it is suitable as a small hedge here; it grows too quickly and the wood harddens in the heat!

  6. It looks like your garden would be beautiful in any type of weather! I agree–your design sense is superb. I tried growing Lavender in a previous garden and it performed quite well. But my current garden is too shady. I love to dry it and use it for potpourri.

    • I never cut it early enough to make potpourri (not organised enough) but I have used the shreddings as mulch around my cabbages etc. in the hope the perfume will confuse the cabbage white butterflies! I’ll report back if it works.

  7. I absolutely second that, Christina! Morning Light is one of the best and I could actually do without the flowers. So you don’t seem to have problems with buxus. Have you considered Ilex crenata? I also love lavender but they often get woody and I don’t think that rain will help. Are your plants very old?

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