I never thought it would happen but I am praying for rain. I thought that as soon as we had the solar panels fitted (last week) it would be non-stop rain. But the weather has been glorious. Today it reached 30c. I am grateful for that because we had visitors at the weekend and it made the trips to all the usual places I take visitors from the UK: The Hook – because I love it there, and the Dunbrody Famine ship – to educate them, as well as the wonderful beaches here, much more enjoyable. But all the plants that were put in before their arrival are now really struggling. And it is not just the new plants.
The ground is parched.
Some of the apples are dropping fruits. This is called ‘June drop’ and looks alarming but is actually normal and is the way the trees thin the fruits so they can carry what is left to maturity. After this is past I will go over the trees and do a bit more thinning if necessary so each apple has room to grow.
The poor drumstick primulas, which were so colourful in spring, look utterly dejected. They will recover and they are always rather ugly in summer anyway but they really are suffering.
The Impatiens stenanthera is not much happier either. It is next to a pot and it has been getting some water but it needs more. Oddly, the annual Himalayan balsam which I tolerate and which is such an indicator of damp soil, is suffering much less.
Not everything hates the heat and the hazels are covered in aphids. I first noticed it a week ago when the leaves seemed especially shiny. Like lots of sap-sucking insects, aphids drip sugary honeydew onto lower leaves. The same happens with scale and mealy bugs and the sticky coating will eventually get covered in sooty mould. If you have ever parked under a lime tree you will know the score. Turning over the leaves the problem is revealed.
I only use insecticides when it is an emergency and this is not one. The blue tits have been bringing their fledglings to the bushes but I wish they were as hungry as the blackbirds are for my strawberries. Perhaps I should stop feeding them peanuts! It is about time the ladybirds found them too. But, although not a great addition to the garden and a sign that the bushes are stressed by drought, there is no need to spray.
And there is rain forecast for tomorrow – YAY!