I was away from the garden for a long weekend in Prague, visiting friends who were teaching there for a month; a great city for a break with masses to see especially if you like Art Nuevo and music – ah the music!
But I digress. Before I went away we had more than a week of strong winds with temperatures about average or a little below the norm for this time of year. On the day we left the direction of the wind must have changed bringing scorching temperatures of up 38 or 39° C, with wind as well on the first day. So in four days the garden looks totally different. Actually it looks as if someone went crazy it with a blow torch!
I hadn’t begun the automatic irrigation because every morning there had been evidence of quite heavy dew, so I felt the plants should cope. I should have realised that the wind was already drying them out and that they needed a little help. The automatic irrigation is now on; I’ll post about the different types of irrigation tubes I use and what I think are the pros and cons of each kind soon.
We are now entering the period when there are less blooms, only the toughest of plants flower when its this hot. So I am now relying on foliage and form to give life to the garden. Shiny, glinting silvers sparkle in the shimmering heat. Even very tough, drought tolerant plants like Cistus don’t look their best; their leaves shrivel a little to help prevent water loss. The garden has lost that feeling of lush plenty and is looking parched and lean. Not my favourite time.
View of the Large Island with mounds of various silver-leaved plants
You can see in the above that my Cordyline is not happy, it really doesn’t like the heat; its days are numbered.
I showed this plant in spring, when it was wet so you could see how felt-like hairs on the leaf surface protect it from the strong rays of the sun.
Without these silver-leaved plants the garden would be very sad in summer.
Looking almost blue in the shade earlier this morning
Even the plant’s flower stems and flowers are covered in in tiny hairs for protection
Festuca glauca sparkles in the heat
These leaves look like machine embroidery lace
Euphorbia rigida’s new foliage is lifting itself clear of its spent flowering stems. The seed pods were popping for weeks, I expect to find many new seedlings in autumn, time now to clear away the debris.
Euphorbia myrsinites is doing the same, its seedlings are already emerging in the gravel paths
More work to be done, did I really say in an earlier post that there wasn’t much to do in June and July in the garden?
Metallic leaves of Convolvulus cneorum have tough leaves for their protection
The loveliest thing happening in the garden is all the bees and butterflies that fill the space with fluttering wings and various levels or buzzing. But even here there are things to shock. Looking at the lavender hedge of the formal beds and taking as many photos as I could I saw this, at first I could quite believe what I was seeing.
Was the bee really being attacked?
I really think it has trapped the bee and is eating it! What could it be?
I checked in my ‘Complete Mediterranean Wildlife’ book and found that it is an Assassin Bug, Rhinocoris iracundus.
I hope you will join in GBFD and tell us what foliage is looking great in your garden at the moment. To link in just leave a comment with a link to your post; I look forward to reading them. I’ll read and comment on all GBFD posts, thank you for joining in.