Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hot bed

When I was a child growing up in Sussex we spent all 'summer' hoping that at some point the temperatures would hit 70 degrees, ideally coinciding with a weeks holiday in Cornwall. It rarely did (apart from in 1976).  This is the second year in a row my patch has fried due to No Rain. Yes, ironically I am writing this after the weather has broken and we have had quite a bit of rain for a day, off the back of Hurricane Bertha. But the point remains. No rain in June, hardly any in July. Deep fried guerrilla gardens... And so it was that like last summer I met up with a lovely young man for a GG interview, this time Jan van Duppen who is studying at the OU and in exchange - tho' he needed little encouragement - we went to Dog Kennel Hill and chopped down 3 bags of dried out Hollyhocks, Michaelmas daisies and most of it really.
pre-trim (all Jan Van Duppen's photos)

I did have 2 new shorter type Verbenas and 2 experimental Cleomes, a foxglove and a couple of Lychnis to go in, but to see any improvement we need more of the wet stuff. We left a few of the teasels standing for structure (and they may still have seeds in the flower heads, which birds like to eat). On the day we two blondes needed to be rescued by my partner armed with suncream and bottled water. It was filthy hot work. Jan seemed to attract a doubting Thomas who was apparently asking who we were, implying we had no authority to be doing such things, which was true. Sadly he didnt feel strongly enough to come closer to actually have a real conversation about it, which I would have enjoyed.

Here's the short Verbena.

and here's the fennel...

I returned yesterday and cleared up 2 bags more and added in 2 more foxgloves, 1 more Lychnis and 2 Alchemilla. 3 people thanked me from their cars which was nice. Lots of the Ox-eye daisies are growing back, and the bedded-in fennel and irises have all coped very well, but otherwise it is pretty barren. Like last year I know it will green over in a lovely lush way within about a month (assuming more rain - difficult to assume!). If not this spot will be getting some Agave Americana and be renamed California.