The International Steam Pages

How does Your Garden Grow? (Early July 2013)

This page is part of a series of monthly garden blogs and other items from 2013. Click here for the index.

I believe we used to have summers like this when I was a child, but possibly my memory is selective. We've had almost continuous warm sunshine for the best part of a week and it appears it is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. If it wasn't for the fact that we live half way up a hill, no doubt I would consider calling it 'hot'. Consequently, we have stopped cutting the grass unlike most of our neighbours who will soon be overseeing patches of brown. At the same time we have had to water the younger plants nightly. Fortunately, there has been no mention yet of the gardener's nightmare 'the hosepipe ban' but no doubt it can't be far away at least for the eastern side of the UK.

Many of our roses got caught out by the March cold spell and have not been at their best as they try to catch up on the growth they lost. On the other hand those which are in the better soil or with some shelter from the harsh east winds have done very well. Yuehong has two very different blue roses, 'Rhapsody in Blue' next to the summer house and 'Blue Moon' in the front, the former produced masses of smaller blooms, the latter just a few large ones.

If there were prizes for individual blooms they would go to the 'Double Delight' which was an end of season bargain in 2012 and the anonymous so-called climbing rose installed on our west wall which has proved to be 'anything but' although its first bloom must have been at least 5 inches across:

However, for shear quantity, it would be impossible to better the Albertine which Yuehong rescued as a stunted pot bound specimen as a gift from our next door neighbour in mid-2011. We were concerned it would not survive but we need not have worried. It has outgrown its original wall, heading north around the corner. A couple of weeks ago, the buds were heading skywards but their weight has brought them back earthwards and we have to religiously 'dead head' to stop the weight ripping the trellis off the wall.

Elsewhere, there is very little immediate change with the new season's sowing's not really yet showing. The patio lilies though as always are a beautiful sight:

The strawberries are on stream and the vegetable patch is racing along. I rescued an abandoned swing from next door, it's now been painted and is waiting for a new seat. In the meantime the frame makes a great support for a couple of hanging baskets. Yuehong claims that we 'only' have 19 such creatures but when you keep bumping your head on them it seems more...

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Rob and Yuehong Dickinson