22 Jul 2016

Too hot for gardening

Garden cricket
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!

Sweet Williams

11 comments:

  1. I can't imagine being in London in this weather – it must be sweltering.

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    1. It's hot everywhere at the moment, Matt - I'd love to be by the sea or up a mountain with some nice cool breezes! And on the plus side, evening gardening is rather pleasant with warm breezes - even if that makes photographing the garden somewhat challenging with the plants swishing around!

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  2. I had to whisk a wilted lemon plant into the shade earlier today. As you say, it's a bit hot to garden too much. I did spend the morning at the plot on Tuesday, the hottest day, it took me the rest of the day to recover. No doubt it is all dry again now . I do have little achochas now though! Can't wait to try them. It sounds as though you've been having a good time going to shows and gardens as well, lucky you. And well done on the cleaning! I hope they were taking notes. I'm planning a little gardening tomorrow morning if possible. How is the allotment doing? I hope you have a good weekend. CJ xx

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    1. Oops, you've reminded me about my potted lemon tree now, better check on it! I can relate to taking ages to recover, CJ - I did a huge dig on the allotment in the heat and was wiped out by the evening. Great that you've got achocha fruit, it's a perfect summer for them! I'm trying to garden early morning and late evening to avoid the heat and hot sun in the middle of the day but today there's an art thing going on at the allotments so will no doubt saunter off in the heat for that. (And, no, the boys weren't taking notes but were very appreciative. It will ever be thus.) Cxx

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  3. Too hot for plotting as well. Flighty xx

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    1. There's very little shade on the allotments here either Flighty, although I did do an all day dig in the heat just to progress things - and it nearly did me in! Luckily the buildings here will shade the garden by late afternoon so that's when I can get outdoors again in this heat. Cx

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  4. Too hot to garden here and on the allotment. That's such a sweet boy story and my guess is they'd have lived there happily for the next year oblivious to the grime. Thank goodness for mums wearing Marigolds.

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    1. The tidying-up student lodgings thing is a familiar tale! Landlords out to take responsibility for ensuring that outgoing tenants leave a place in good order, but they usually don't. I don't know about Mums wearing Marigolds; what about Mums planting Marigolds (the other sort)?

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    2. I'm fully anticipating that my efforts will be the only clean that the house sees for a while, Sue! Rather more worryingly, the gas safety certificate was out of date so I agree, Mark, that landlords need to take more responsibility - both for cleanliness and for the general maintenance of the property. Marigolds (of both sorts!) sounds like a good idea - at least the plants will self seed and need very little maintenance!

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  5. I remember some of daughters digs in leeds. I bought a few house plants for them, they all died!I'm rather glad the weather has cooled a little, but it has been one weird summer, the plants don't seem to know what to do.xxx

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    1. I agree with that, Dina - my flowers have faded when they should be in full bloom and I have autumn flowers starting now. Nasturtiums are taking over the veg patch already while they usually have the good grace to wait until the veg is over for the year before they run riot over the soil! It's all very confused. I wonder if we should be adjusting to this climate change or whether this is a blip in the weather patterns?

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