What's Looking Good

Now that the drought is over

by | Oct 2, 2022 | Uncategorized

2022 has been an extraordinary year which has tested the garden hard. I have been keeping rainfall records for over 20 years and have never experienced 32 days without any rain at all as we had here in July and August. And the extreme heat added another dimension. Now since the rain returned with a deluge in mid August we have had nearly 5 inches of lovely soft rain and all the pent up potential growth in the garden has been released. Roses have shot six feet towards the sky. Tender shrubs like Cestrum fasciculatum which has sulked since it was planted has suddenly tripled in size. Flowers on the Dahlias are the size of frisbees. Trees and shrubs are loaded with berries and fruit.

The losers have been the hydrangeas which to be honest have always been a bit marginal in this dry garden. I love H. ‘Preziosa’ but will now seriously consider removing or at least re-locating it. The temptation to acquire some of the fabulous new Serrata selections must be resisted. We love Annabelle and have kept her well watered and so she is still looking ravishing in a shady corner with enormous heads of lime green/white. Perhaps she is rather more tolerant of dry conditions than some of her relatives.

Winners in this garden in 2022 are Salvias in all their amazing variety. Amistad is beyond doubt the gold medalist. It has flowered without ceasing all summer, its black stems six or more feet high and clothed with imperial purple hooded blooms which the bees seem to love. The smaller gregii varieties have flowered prodigiously. I especially love the low growing Blue so Cool and soft yellow La Luna. Scarlet Royal Bumble is wonderfully floriferous too. Verbenas have been in heaven. La France has formed a large ground covering mat of scintillating mauve flowers.

Roses have loved the sun and heat. They needed no water and I think were healthier than usual with few signs of black spot. All flowered spectacularly well. A favourite of ours is Sombreuil which we grow over a low wall. It is now producing its fourth wave of flowers. A recent acquisition from the famous German rose growers Kordes named Rosenstadt Freising has flowered continuously all summer too.

Finally agapanthus luxuriated in the heat (unsurprisingly since they come from South Africa). One has done especially well this year – the magnificent late flowering A. Hole Park whose enormous blooms are at their best in October.

Salvia Amistad
Rose Rosenstadt Freising
Verbena La France
Agapanthus Hole Park

June 2024