20 August, 2022, the continuation of the summer’s drought

Polly and I have been feeling very dispirited at the conditions that we are facing this summer, which I have never known so difficult. I feel so sorry for the plants who are struggling to get on top of things, and not always succeeding, I can hardly bear to look at the veronicastrums, the phloxes, the thalictrums, and as for the lawn which is appalling. Still we have had the odd downpour, and the next day was drizzly which helped, and at least the weather has dropped 20 degrees which has been a big help. I felt very depressed when Clive came round and was obviously appalled I could tell by his face, but things are now picking up. The best bit by far is down the bottom of the garden, the par terre and the autumn border. I think we have underground springs there, and we have had to coax the dahlias into growing and flowering. That means individual watering and mounding the earth up for each plant as it is all running down hill, and to make sure that we did not waste the water it was essential. I am pleased with the decisions that we made for the par terre as I think it looks much better. Hopefully it will be even better next year. Last year I went with James to Cottesbrooke and discoved the Honka dahlias, that was a huge discovery. It is a very good garden. This year for the first time in ages the snails were on the warpath, and goodness how they decimate things.

We have just had Penny Govett and Mick Kerr staying and the Bonsors to lunch. I loved having them to stay, they are both such fun, and James took them to see Wardington Manor as it has been bought by a great friend of theirs, and I think the garden is going to be done by a top garden designer! I am going to tell you a few plants which I think have coped very well with this year. Amsonia, Grasses, Limonia, we have looked up Limonia and I think you can divide it, we are certainly going to try, Roses, Cotinus, Asters, not too bad, Salix. I have decided next year to have another pot along the bottom line of the par terre, but not on the far right as it would block the two chunky chairs which were a present from Rob, James brother. There is a point to my taking photographs as it shows up things like that.

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