Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day – August heat

Welcome to GBFD, where foliage is the star rather than the flowers!  That’s a good thing in my August garden as flowers are in short supply.  What foliage stands up to the high temperatures, warm winds and lack of rain in August?I have to admit that neither the garden nor I are at our best in August – it is too hot!  Too dry! and my lack of energy means that little is done to improve the situation.

It is during this month that I begin think that my principals of not using precious water to irrigate ornamental plants is perhaps being a little masochistic. I look at all the beautiful lush gardens on the blogs I follow and my resolve is tested.  However the new planting made last autumn to replace the formal beds which you can still see as my header (note to self – I must change this!) are establishing well and as long as I look at this rather than many of the other borders I can at least enjoy a pleasant view from the terrace.

Looking out from the south-facing terrace the plants look green

Looking out from the south-facing terrace the plants look green

All the images where taken at about 5.15 pm yesterday afternoon; the sun is still strong but as you can see from the shadows the sun is already much lower in the sky than it was just a couple of weeks ago.

Looking slightly more to the right (south-west) the view is still more green than brown

Looking slightly more to the right (south-west) the view is still more green than brown

The lemons I re-potted in June are looking decidedly more healthy so the regime of feeding them once every  two weeks is paying off

The lemons I re-potted in June are looking decidedly more healthy so the regime of feeding them once every two weeks is paying off

The cuttings I grew from my Teucrium plants are now forming small domes of silvery leaves - they must be the easiest plant to take cuttings from

The cuttings I grew from my Teucrium plants are now forming small domes of silvery leaves – they must be the easiest plant to take cuttings from

Teucrium is the plant that looks the best during periods of drought, almost every other plant shows some signs of stress.

Looking across to the LHB makes me wish I had planted more trees when I first planted the garden

Looking across to the LHB makes me wish I had planted more trees when I first planted the garden

Apart from the Melia and Mulberry, the trees that cope best in the heat and drought are the evergreens so I really wish I had planted more initially.  I also wish I had removed the walnut trees (I did remove a few as the previous owns had planted about eight).  The two that remain in the back border are large now so I wouldn’t want to lose the maturity they give to the garden but they are rather boring trees and don’t produce nuts to eat.

The fig, though, has lost at least half of its leaves

The fig, though, has lost at least half of its leaves

Every year I think the fig will actually die as it always loses at least 50% of its leaves.  I find it so odd as you often see them growing on cliffs with no soil at all but perhaps it is the humidity of those situations that keep them alive.

Perhaps it is cruel to grow Miscanthus, it really doesn't like the drought conditions in my very free draining soil

Perhaps it is cruel to grow Miscanthus, it really doesn’t like the drought conditions in my very free draining soil

The Miscanthus has been watered and it may recover when it rains and produce some flower spikes.

Looking towards the drive from the upper slope path shows the mix of bleached and brown again the evergreens

Looking towards the drive from the upper slope path shows the mix of bleached and brown again the evergreens

Part of the Large Island with a Melia and Arbutus in the upper slope border

Part of the Large Island with a Melia and Arbutus in the upper slope border

Above you can see that even Verbena bonariensis that loves free-draining soil and a sunny position have turned to crisp brown stems, but they still add some structure to the garden.

If you would like to share some beautiful lush foliage I would love to see it; or any theme associated with foliage would be fine.  Just link to and from this post.  Have a good week.

I’ll be posting my vases either later today to tomorrow.

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53 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day – August heat

    • Yes, you’re lucky to live in a part of England with quite mild weather and relatively high rainfall; very different from here where the summer temperatures are usually in the mid to high 30°’s and there is no rain at all for two months, plus my garden is windy which only makes the desiccation worse.

  1. Yes, decisions on watering must be especially difficult – and what do class as ornamental? Would that be anything that isn’t functional? What was the reasoning behind all the walnut trees do you think? I am so pleased you are feeling positive about your new plantings. No foliage post from me although perhaps I will look at foliage in my Mum’s garden if the rain stops!

    • As you know I do water the cut flower beds, that’s why they have to be concentrated in one place rather than spread through the garden. I water the vegetables and the cut flowers automatically; for the rest of the garden I water new plants by hose and other plants that look very stressed. Usually the slope, the Large Island and all other areas I mention aren’t irrigated.

  2. join the club 😉 I feel the same, no energy to do anything much. the drought and heat are once again a big challenge this year and I feel the sun is burning stronger as leaves are scorched that heven’t been before and branches are dying back so it’s interesting to see what does well for you, Christina. Miscanthus is doing very well for me though without extra watering, one of my best plants and the soil is pretty poor where they grow. no idea what your fig is suffering from…you see them growing in odd spaces alright, I’m more inclined to think it’s something in the soil or the plant itself.

    • Some years the Miscanthus copes, I think that depends on how wet the spring is, this year it was very wet and so they put on masses of growth that then couldn’t be supported. That’s true of many plants this year so that even though it hasn’t been as hot as other years many plants are suffering more. The fig does this every year, I think it is planted over the void of an Etruscan tomb so it reaches a certain point, then just can’t sustain itself.

      • same here, lots of rain in spring and a lot of growth but grasses are never a problem during drought. we have a fig growing in the gap of the wall of an old stone bridge and I wonder how it is surviving as there’s no soil and water far off

        • Soil varies a lot in my garden and the temperatures in summer (July/August) are in the 30s, this week around 34/35°C. If my garden gets through this week we may be alright, fingers crossed. Last month it only rained 46litres/sqm…

        • PS: I’ve since checked and seen that you’re even more south so hotter, my heart-felt sympathy! I’ve read Olivier Filippi’s books recently and in case you don’t know them, give them a try – I should think you’ll find them most interesting 🙂

        • I’ve read Olivier Filippi’s dry garden book and it is very interesting, the book about replacements for lawns is due to be published soon in English, I have the other in Italian. Where he gardens there is lots of humidity so even he isn’t as dry as it might seem. Also the effects of being coastal for him mean that his winter temperatures are more reliable.

  3. Hi Christina, it’s amazing how well your garden holds up under the rather harsh conditions. I love the mounding form of the Teucrium. May join in later. We’re just back from vacation and I haven’t explored the garden yet–still on beach time.

    • Straw and honey-coloured foliage doesn’t have the same attraction in the heat as it might have in a more temperate climate. Thanks for joining in again this month Tina, it’s always a pleasure to see your garden.

    • Even in dry garden that Beth Chatto has plants grow very differently to here. Daytime temperatures rarely rise above 25 C in her garden but are often 10 degrees lower than in my garden added to which the night temperatures don’t fall significantly here but they do in Essex.

      • Spot on, as usual, Christina. Even in apparently arid East Anglia, in so-called drought the (minor) temp fluxes afford quite significant dews. Your extended hours of high summer sunlight plus drying overnight temperatures sound ferocious. Given that, your garden is quite remarkable.

  4. The miscanthus looks rather striking, albeit not quite how it is supposed to look! I love the russets and bleached colours. They fit better with the surroundings.
    I had every intention of contributing this month but time and weather have not been on my side once again. I hope to do better in September.

  5. Gosh it does look hot! Glad you found the energy to post though – it is always lovely to see your garden. I have got some grasses coming along in my raised bed, maybe next year they might be worth showing. We had a really hot day here today – very unusual.

  6. Christina para su decisión de no regar el jardín , se ve verde excepto algunas excepciones. Mirando desde su terraza todo se ve verde y precioso , incluido su rincón secreto. El Teucrium está muy bonito con su follaje plateado. Los Limoneros están divinos y dan fruto. Lo que está un poco o bastante estropeado se recuperará con las lluvias de Septiembre. Saludos de Margarita.

  7. I felt the same as you this time last year. It is depressing, but then you have such a short, mild winter so there is an up-side too. Although, having said that, I don’t think it looks too bad at all! It is amazing how some plants do survive with so little moisture. What kind of Teucrium is it Christina? I have two plants called Teucrium and a wild one too, and they are all quite different!

    • T. fruticans is the shrub type one I showed today. I also have a much smaller shrubby one that is need to look up the name and then one which isn’t quite so drought tolerant that doesn’t look like a Trucrium at all that is commonly called cats tails.

  8. Hello, Christina! I love the south and southwest facing views! I really get an appreciation of how your garden is changing. It is quite beautiful! August is perhaps my least favorite month of the year in the garden, though February with endless dreary days of cold rain is a close second. We are fortunate we have not had a summer drought this year, but I still have to keep the woodland garden well-watered in the heat while newly planted native azaleas are becoming establish. Eventually they will need less water, but not until those precious roots take well hold.

  9. We should build a pipeline from my garden to yours, Christina. And if you could please pipe some sunshine back this way it would be much appreciated! I actually do like those cripsy verbena stalks, but I admit my resolve would be sorely tested by not watering in the drought.

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  13. Well Christina I think you are right not to water in high Summer as the plants will put on new soft growth which will burn in the hot days of high summer. Plants that survive will be a valuable addition to your scheme

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