Plants in drought

IMG_8901It took ages to find a fetching photo for the cover shot today.  I want to write about the garden’s survival in heatwave and drought conditions.  This has been a very trying time in the garden.  And it seems that this might be the norm from now on.

So I thought it might be a good idea to have a critical look at some of the planting areas and consider what has worked.  And what needs changing.

IMG_8944And as I have just come inside from lots of early morning photo snapping, I will make it a two part essay. Be prepared for stricken plant shots.

It was a good thing only Artur saw me in my pjs and slippers so early.  We were up late having a dinner next door and then had to see the fantastic Perseids meteor shower with a whisky on the terrace after that.  My tally, eleven shooting stars.

IMG_8903There are advantages to living in the country. No light pollution.  Disadvantage – it’s a long way for a hangover cure if you have run out of paracetemol.

I’ll have to make do with fried mushrooms and eggs and pots of tea.

So. Drought.

This is the part of the garden you know as the Barn Garden. And I call the Calabert garden as that is the Ardèche name for the structure between the house and the potting shed.

IMG_8902I walk through it endlessly. Which means I can study lots of these plants carefully and see what ails them.

Remember these plants are never watered.

Nothing ails the rosemary. It just gets on. Grows a bit tall and lanky, but in hot weather, it is impervious.

IMG_8941The nepeta needs a good cut back. I was listening to Beth Chatto’s head gardener talking about drought tolerant gardening and he said ‘we reach for the secateurs rather than the hose’. And I can see why.

IMG_8939I must look up more information about my wonderful ballota. It needs cutting back too. But I seem to recall it’s a springtime chore.  The plants are fine, but the tops are looking stricken.

The lavenders have finished and need shaping (desperately). I can manage both those things and still have something good to look at.

IMG_8919It’s my santolinas that are causing me grief.

And they anchor the planting scheme here.   And they look bloody awful.

To cheer me up. Here is a reminder of what they do from January to June.

Gorgeous.  But can I tolerate this half dead look for the rest of the year?

Am I asking too much of a plant?

I need to take advice from Andrew and Diana. And go back to my Dry Gardening Handbook from Filippi and see if I need to do the most radical of cutting back. Rather than the deadheading I do now.

Maybe I ought to go back to cistus? Not a favourite plant it is is very evergreen and if in full sun, it’s fine.

And on that note, it’s on with the fry up and I need to do more research.