The three days that we had of 40 degrees.I have never known anything like it and I was incapable of even going outside at all. My younger son Thomas rang up last night to say that their airplane was grounded on the runway at Luton a week ago as the tarmac was melting. Him and Georgia, his new bride, went to try and get a strong drink, but found that everyone had had the same idea. Anyway he is settled in the middle of Corfu town which is a world heritage site and Venetian, and his young son Nicholas is about to go and join them aged 8. Today it is much cooler, but several things have got scorched and we have had to cut them down to the ground. Because the garden is north facing it could have been worse, and at the moment it is having the long grass down the bottom cut, where all the fritillaries have seeded. Also the camassias, white and blue need cutting down, and then raking up, it is one of the hardest jobs in the garden. It looks so much better now that it has been done because you now see the par terre cleanly, and the autumn border, Rupert Goldby came for a drink with us, famous laid back garden designer, and told us to water our yew balls at the front, and Magnolia lilliflora nigra, by water I mean put the sprinkler on for an hour. Things are beginning to look less woeful. I am seriously beginning to wonder how to change the garden to cope better with drought. Needless to say my grassses, and prairie plantings are blooming. All my trees seem, alright at the moment and the par terre has never been so pretty, with a haze of blue from the eryngiums and several different agapanthus, also everyone is noticing the new Honka dahlias, Honka fragile, and Honka obsidian verrone, The other thing that everyone is noticing is my strong growing Buxus handsworthensis,
What everyone is saying is how healthy it is looking, as several people have had trouble with box blight. The star of the garden at the moment is Buddleja crispa, soft grey felted leaves, and pale mauve flowers, The Itea illicifolia looks stunning, huge, with long golden tassels. Two recommendations from Dianey Binney of Kiftsgate, sadly passed away, Rather amazing how I can grow two huge plants from a garden like Kiftsgate, the third idea was Cornus alternifolia, and Cornus controversa pictured by Carolyn Mullet on her instogram page. I am lucky that James has taken on the job of tending the wisteria out the front, as that is a big job and needs constant attention. Rupert has given me a novel idea of controlling the Staphylea Colchica, leaving it a kind of skirt and taking the top six feet out, It is.very ungainly at the moment and is blocking the autumn border and general view of the bottom garden. Still I am fond of it and have had it for a long time, my friend Victoria Wakefield gave it to me. I am particularly pleased with the par terre as we made a lot of changes there, and you never quite know if they are going to work out.
Dahlia Murdoch, with white Headbourne Hybrid agapanthus