|Spotted in the garden: either a baby cricket or the aphids are now on steroids|
I've been sheltering from the heat for the last few days. Mmmm, wow. Amazing, given this damp, gloomy and often barely warm summer we're having here in the UK. Just three weeks ago it was chilly enough to want some heating on yet on Tuesday it was 35C (95F) in North London. Thirty-Five Degrees!! Luckily I have lovely cool floors (terracotta tiles and wood) and windows that are designed to keep the heat out in summer. Even so, the temperature indoors rose to 27C which is still a bit on the sticky side for my liking and definitely too hot to be outside gardening. Yes, I know. Wimp.
Some plants are also finding this heat a bit much, especially when combined with a brisk breeze which is what we had yesterday. It's crucial to check the soil around plants for dryness morning and evening in this weather - wind can be just as damaging as hot sunshine. If you forget and plants get a bit wilted, just move them into the shade and give them a good big drink of water. I've just had to do this to one of my chilli plants that I'd moved to the edge of my balcony to grab a few rays - chillies like heat, right? - but noticed that it was looking rather sad and windswept within a couple of hours. Shade and water perked it up in no time.
It's all a bit overwhelming and I'd much rather have some constant gentle sunshine (and rain!) rather than these extremes we're experiencing. How's everyone else doing in this heat? Me, I'd quite like a nice cool night's sleep!
The past few weeks have been somewhat of a whirlwind for me, accustomed as I am to my simple life of home, work, garden, write. I've been to shows, I've been to gardens - and, unexpectedly, I've been to Leeds. My son and his stuff needed to be collected in my tiny car the weekend before last; I wasn't anticipating spending the weekend cleaning the little house he and two friends have just moved into but, on closer inspection, it was another necessity. You know how it is, student life doesn't stretch to much cleaning and the previous tenants appear to have been heavy smokers to boot. The solution was to glove up and get on with it - parents are gifts that just keep on giving! While clearing rubbish from the flagstone back yard, I did note that it would look much better for a few pots and perennials in the tiny back border - one to think about for the return trip!
I'll be doing a few catch up posts about shows and garden visits but, for the past weekend and this, I'm really happy to be back in the garden here. There's lots to be done. There's still time to sow a last round of carrots, some more beetroot, french beans, chard, kale and lettuce - not to mention the continuous deadheading to be done. And a question: can anyone tell me if I can prolong flowering of Sweet Williams by deadheading? I've absolutely loved having them in the garden this year but they're all starting to die back now, too soon for my liking!