Six on Saturday – Gasping

06/08/2022

A lot of us are suffering from the same lack of rain, but the East of England seems to be getting a rather short straw as usual. We’ve had nothing here, other than the briefest of showers, since April. Temperatures have been high, fluctuating between high twenties and just short of forty deg C. Brisk winds aren’t helping either.  😦

I am doing targeted watering daily, mostly veg, but also vulnerable trees. I am also making a point of keeping watering holes topped up with water: Shallow gravel dishes (for the pollinators mostly) and bird baths full (for the birds largely). So that’s the first of my Six …

1) Watering Holes

bath sos

A selection of avian garden visitors at the bubble fountain/rock: Goldfinch, blue tits, long-tailed tit and black cap

Water sources are obviously being appreciated by the local wildlife in this weather. They are continuously busy. A variety of birds enjoy the bathing facilities. The number and mix of breeds change from second to second! The combinations are such fun to watch. Mostly they get on with each other, regardless of species, but there are some stand offs and posturing. Nobody goes near the big, fat wood pigeons when they come down.

2) Purple Kohlrabi

kohl rabi sos

The vegetable Kohl Rabi (purple form) is a new crop for me

Here’s a crop that I am not very familiar with: Kohlrabi. They look ready to pick, don’t they?

Then what? I am leaning towards using it raw, in a shredded salad, like a coleslaw. Any other suggestions (polite) ?

3) Verbena hastata

verbena sos

Verbena hastata ‘Rosea’ is thriving in this hot dry year.

This Verbena hastata ‘Rosea’ was grown from seed last year, but never really got going. I planted them out in late spring and they are doing really well now, obviously liking the hot, dry conditions.

4) Dwarf pomegranate

pomegranate sos

Dwarf pomegranate (Punica granatum var. nana)

Our dwarf pomegranate (Punica granatum var. nana) looks like it may even be setting fruit properly this year. Again, it is liking the heat. I do keep it well watered though as it is growing in a pot (which moves in to the glasshouse for winter).

5) Eupatorium ‘Baby Joe’

eupatorium sos

Eupatorium dubium ‘Baby Joe’

‘Baby Joe’ is a new experiment this year. I bought it partly as I liked the name 🤣, but mostly as I didn’t want a 6-7 footer in the garden. Eupatorium dubium ‘Baby Joe’ has got to about 75 cm so far and should stay that way. I’ve not noticed a scent yet.

6) Good old Cobaea scandens!

cobaea sos

Cobaea scandens ‘Purple’ (the Cup-and-Saucer vine)

I had to re-buy seed for this climber, as it didn’t set seed for me a few years back and I then gave it a miss for a while. However, I fancied bell covered arches in the vegetable patch this year and I am happy I did. It is growing strongly and has plenty of flowers coming. This is the first to open though.

I couldn’t resist ending my ‘Six’ post with a cute 7th photo of some other visiting littlies … making the most of water in the garden recently!

cousins3

Many thanks to Jonathon for hosting Six on Saturday, in spite of the inevitable hot summer malaise that is taking hold of many gardeners currently. Hop across to his blog to check out how people are coping with  their dry gardens or even how the lucky wet ones are doing!

Have a good week! Rain dances all round!!

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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26 Responses to Six on Saturday – Gasping

  1. fredgardener says:

    I can see that you have a lot of flowers on your pomegranate like me. But have you got formed fruit? All my flowers dropped before I leave. A brush pollination ?

  2. pbmgarden says:

    The joys of a wading pool in hot summer! Sweet. I like the idea of dwarf pomegranate-must check into that. Ditto for Joe-pye. Hope rains find you!

  3. susurrus says:

    All looks lovely, although I’m sorry about the drought. I’ve been seeing blue forms of Verbena hastata looking good, but didn’t realise exactly what it was, so thanks for the identification. Your pink form is very pretty.

    • Cheers Susan! I’ve previously grown the verbena in its lilac form as I prefer the colour, but I think that the pink shows up better and looks more floriferous in the border.

  4. Pomegranate is top of my list for a tree for my allotment! Yours is lovely. How tall will it get and how many years has it taken to set fruit? Re Kohlrabi, it’s amazing in a gratin but in this weather your salad option sounds better, finely grated with cabbage and carrots is nice.

    • A dwarf pomegranate can get to a meter high, but mine is both pot grown and gets cut back each year by the cold. It seems to manage about two thirds of that. Thanks for the kohlrabi gratin suggestion, which I will try in addition to salad.

  5. shoreacres says:

    I’ve heard of Kohl Rabi, and I think I’ve seen it in the stores, but never in this purple form. I couldn’t stop looking at it; it seems otherworldly. Now, the wading pool? That’s as familiar as can be, and I’m delighted to see they’re still around. Just the sight of yours brought back the scent of the old ones: I’m sure they were made of a different material.

    • Yes, kohlrabi is absolutely fascinating to look at. I just hope that they aren’t hollow or woody inside, like radishes can be in hot weather!
      The kids really enjoyed the pool, especially with their little watering cans. Next day it was full of drowned flying ants 😦

  6. Rosie Amber says:

    I love the colour of your Cobaea scandens, the Kohl Rabi is new to me, sorry, no ideas for you.

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Adorable grands, Allison. 🙂 Don’t we all have fond memories of pool time, either of our kids or as kids ourselves?
    A fine six, you always have interesting plants to share. I hadn’t heard of a small cultivar of Joe Pye, but this year our lack of rain has shortened my usual 6-8′ plants to barely 5′, it has been so dry. We really need to do a rain dance!

    • Thanks Eliza. Some of my first photos are of childhood water fights with my Dad in our paddling pool. 🙂
      Drought has reduced the height of most of our normal giants this year. The agapanthus look especially sad.
      I’m dancing every night!!!

  8. I live near Eliza so can say we are experiencing the same hot weather and lack of rain. Like you we just water the plants directly to conserve water. Our town has not put out a water ban but the one next to us has and if things don’t change we’ll have one too. Your plants look good under the circumstances.

    • Actually, we’ve been very lucky to avoid bans here so far. Our water supplier invested in pipes a few years ago to bring water down from north of us … where is does still rain! It seems to be working well. Meanwhile last week, 3 of the 4 roads out of the village were closed for emergency water repairs! 😦

  9. I loved this. Especially the pool at the end. I squealed.

  10. Kohlrabi is lovely in salads – if you have Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem I think there is a really good version in that. I would be quite happy to send you rain from a very wet New Zealand….

    • Thanks for these kohlrabi suggestions. I have Plenty and Flavour from Ottolenghi, but I don’t have Jerusalem. It might be online though? I’ll check. Yes, do please send rain!!

  11. Cathy says:

    Good idea to have watering holes for the birds – we have a sink with a pump and enclosed reservoir underneath which they use a lot, but I have switched the stream off as the water evaporates so quickly and I was having to top it frequently. Will add another water source, so thanks for the prompt! Will also try again with that verbena from seed – mine didn’t germinate but I probably have seed left.

    • You may remember that I was having trouble with the evaporation from our flat basalt column fountain too. We have now ended up decommisioning it. It’s not the year for things that don’t hold water!! Have fun choosing a new water resource. That verbena goes on for ages, so it is worth another attempt at germination, definitely.

      • Cathy says:

        We do have an old ‘stone’ bird bath thingy, but never got round to identifying a practical position for it…needs to be rectified!

  12. Cathy says:

    The kohlrabi looks great! And definitely ready to pick. If you wait too long they go ‘woody’. I have only grown the normal green ones before. They are quite common here and some people like them raw, thinly sliced with a bit of salt and pepper. I prefer them cooked. Great diced and added to a vegetable stew. A friend of mine makes a gratin, but I have never tried it. Your garden has done well in the drought. Mine has shrivelled completely except for the veggies that have been kept watered. Love Baby Joe!

    • I am a total kohlrabi convert. I’ve now tried cooking with it, as well as salads. I think that I like it crispy and raw best. My post is only showing the watered flowers of course. Away from the camera, the plot is crispy 🤣. Baby Joe has a wonderful scent, so even better!

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