My attitude to my summer garden is dictated rather by the weather, which is hot (well, hottish) and incredibly dry-windy. But just when I'm moaning and despairing (as well as running the big irrigation) there's hope...
Sunny Rose Crepuscule
In the weeks after mid-summer the garden looks jaded. Where's all the colour gone? My roses have faded, and the garden borders appear indifferent and listless in the harsh sunlight. I try to give extra encouragement - watering, popping new flowering annuals into gaps, dead-heading, and trimming. The trouble is - when the garden looks tired so is the Head Gardener!
Phormium Seed Pod
Dry Nor-West Winds
The Moosey Garden's summer issue isn't really the heat, but rather the continual dry nor-west winds which flatten dahlias, cause gum trees to 'disbark' mercilessly, and other trees to 'disleaf'. Naturally my lawns are cosmetically challenged at this time of the gardening year.
Of course I can run the irrigation (on still nights) - but then the next day's hot, dry wind will suck all the moisture out of the soil. Such are the joys of the water cycle, running an ornamental roses and trees garden where nature would have chosen tussock, tussock, and then more tussocks.
Summer is Phormium (flax) flowering time, and while this brings beauty to the garden (and nectar for the native bellbirds) it spells sadness for any gardener aspiring to be half-tidy. Long flowering flax stalks are heavy - they rock and fall down in the wind, and usually take a whole flax fan with them. The unappealing result is a widely splayed bush, squat and fat. Has something large has sat on it and squashed it flat?
Perennials are rather a mixed bag in a windy summer. I refuse to stake everything which grows taller than my knees, as the patches of floppy phloxes and dahlias will tell you. My Shasta daisies love the warmth and they put on a stronger show, managing to stay upright for weeks.
Wind - What Wind?
Echinaceas are a new perennial for me, and their daisy flowers, so beloved of my bees, are proving the best and toughest of the summer bunch. Wind - what wind?
Parkdirektor Riggers Rose
Some of my roses behave well in the middle of summer. Yippee for Crepuscule the climber, who has been busy creating new reddish foliage. A few weeks after midsummer's day she starts her second flowering. At the moment this brilliant apricot rose is my absolute favourite.
Quite a bit of Parkdirektor Riggers is flowering boldly, the reddest of reds in the glaring sunshine. To be truthful I can't quite remember him ever stopping. A rose with too much military precision, perhaps, but such stamina, able to provide strong colour in the strong sun - I must remember to be more appreciative.
The heirloom rose Mutabilis puts on a great summer show too, though inherently she is a messier shrub. But a much older lady - so, like the Head Gardener, Mutabilis is forgiven for showing the scruffiness of age...
So let the hot summer wind blow - after all, the plantings in my garden are designed to withstand this. In other words, I've squashed everything far too closely together, and then justified my greediness, hee hee. Let the big irrigation whoosh through the night, and let me enjoy my summer for what it is. And no moaning!
My Summer Garden
On reflection, the summer weather doesn't seem to have caused too much garden trouble at all! Wind - schmind!