In the heat of the day…

I’m about to write a sentence that I very rarely put on paper:

The garden could do with some rain.

Not too much, mind you; just an overnight shower to freshen things up and help my peas to germinate. The soil is quite damp enough a few inches down. But the ‘creek’ is dry, and I do like to have water running through my garden.

Next,  I’m going to complain about the heat. It’s all of 25 degrees today; more in the direct sun; and that means I have to run around with little sunshades (pieces of slate, usually) for all the delicate primulas that wilt at the first hint of hot weather. P1010677

The rest of the garden is enjoying it though:P1010658

This is Ourisia Coccinea, a slowly creeping ground cover plant from Chile. I grow it in slightly peaty soil on a slope, and I have never seen it so good. The bright vermillion flowers, so close to the ground, are a really useful colour – especially since they go so well with the unweeded buttercups.

When it’s too hot to do any weeding, I  can sit in the shade of the Himalayan birch, and admire the effect of  my spring cleaning:P1010656

The blue poppies in the border by my folly are now approaching their loveliest. Last year, they were pretty miserable, but over the winter, they were lifted and the whole border was re-dug, re-drained, and given lavish helpings of compost and leafmould. The poppies are happy again. They will need a year or two to bulk up before they are really spectacular. But still: P1010661

Usually when I plan colour combinations they are ruined by frosts, or pests, or no flowers, or eccentric flowering times or something else. But this year, for once, the ornamental bramble, Rubus ‘Tridel’ is performing, opening its pure white flowers on arching branches behind the poppies: The deep crimson species rhododendrons I had planned as a further backdrop have yet to make any impact – but they will, they will….P1010666


22 thoughts on “In the heat of the day…

  1. It all looks lovely. But reading that you have to shade plants when it gets to 25 degrees makes me realise once and for all that most of the plants you grow will be forever out of my reach ( I knew it already, really, but gardeners are insane optimists).

    • Lyn, it’s only the primulas – and only some of the fussy high-altitude ones among them. Apparently they can’t open the stomata on thier leaves for some reason, so they can’t exchange air and moisture. I don’t suppose they need to do much of that in the Himalayas, so a warm day in Scotland comes as a nasty shock.

    • Hi Rachelle, and thanks for dropping by. I trust you’ll read through all of Linnie’s comments on the whole blog! Then you can see who is the rogue…
      You needn’t worry too much about me. The rain will be back all too soon, no doubt.

  2. Such care Kininvie, reworking all those blue poppies (they are fabulous), and erecting rock awnings for the primulas. And now you must actually consider performing a rain dance or soon you will have to distribute water. Handing out plant drinks is a major part of summer here–it’s one of the reasons fall eventually seems attractive. But you have been busy too, and… I just hope you aren’t neglecting Fluffy.

    • Fluffy is well, thank you, and has not yet been eaten by crow, magpie, or fox. Somewhere I have one of those sprinkler things (haven’t used it for years). I must look it out. At least there hasn’t been a hosepipe ban in Scotland siince before Robert the Bruce…

    • I haven’t reached the praying stage yet….it’s more of a ‘wouldn’t it be useful’ wish. Love your latest post, BTW; must have taken you hours!

  3. That blue poppies look just like a ghost or an alien to me, they are spectacular yet They’re something I’ve never seen with my actual eyes, they look great with that white flowered bramble btw.
    I am quite envious of your shiny birch, although I will never power wash my birch trees (also because they aren’t jaquemontii but more common nigra).
    But I’m officially in love with that orange drift of euphorbia griffithii you have put in your header, I tried it and always died on me… Tell me your secrets please.

    • Alberto, the bad news is that it seems to flourish best in damp soil. The good news is that if you can’t grow it, you’ll never have the horrible task of cutting back its leathery dead stems in winter.

  4. I know what you mean, I’m having to do far too much watering, so some rain at night would be lovely please. Seeing your meconopsis and reading that you have overhauled the bed makes me think that maybe some of mine are so small because they have been in place for three years now, obviously I must do something about it.

    • Three years shouldn’t be long enough to exhaust the nutrients in your bed, Pauline. I usually only need to re-dig the whole bed about every ten. Two possible causes worth looking at may be soil compaction (pancaking). It happens with heavy clay, and it’s easy not to notice until you dig up a weak plant and find it’s lost most of its roots because they can’t break through the cement-like clay. Meconopsis roots are small and not very powerful, so this can affect them even if other plants are OK. The other possibility I can think of is that the acidity isn’t quite high enough, and they are struggling. Masses of peat is the answer to both problems – I know you don’t like using it, but occasionally it’s the only solution. I find the peat-free soil conditioners that you can buy don’t do the job nearly as well. You might also consider a hefty foliar feed after they stop flowering to give them back a bit of energy to grow new offshoots…..

  5. Here in Ireland the weather has been fab too…yes…a little rain would be wonderful…preferably at night. Love that white bark Birch…really beautiful.

  6. I’ve managed to grow half a dozen meconopsis from seed but now (reading the above comments) I wonder whether they’re not going to be too demanding and labour intensive. I shall persevere though – they are gorgeous. And I like your little portable shade providers – I must try that. Dave

  7. The blue meconopsis do well in some places, but not in others, and mostly it’s a question of soil. So the labour-intensiveness depends on how much trouble you are willing to take to give them conditions they are happy with. And the further away from those conditions at the start, the more labour! But I think I can safely say, that without shade (in the heat of the south) and without reliably damp soil, it’s probably a non-starter. And the greater the heat, the more damp and the more shade are needed – if you see what I mean. But look at the meconopsis sites in my sidebar – the people there are more knowledgeable than I am!

  8. We needed rain too, but I was actually quite glad the clay turned to brick as it meant I could get 20 tonnes of gravel delivered on the quagmire at work.

    Love mec’s and have actually seen some here (in real life) – I had no idea Orkney had very many until this year – they’ve done really well.

    Aside the kids, they come along mesmerised and whip the flowers off them in the local park.

    I wonder if its just an Orcadian thing decapitating meconopsis?

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