Too Darn Hot

It is too hot - too hot for me and too hot for many of my cut flowers.

After a late, and then unseasonably warm spring, when all the spring flowers seemed to bloom all at once in the space of 3-4 weeks, we are now, like most of Europe, experiencing the hottest and driest summer temperatures on record.

Zinnias
Zinnias enjoying the heat

I have found that everything is going up to flower quickly before it has grown very tall and, even with a good soaking with the hose-pipe once a week, my cornflowers, larkspur, calendula and sweet peas are flowering half-heartedly and looking a bit like they are ready to give up.

I can't blame them. Being naturally milk-bottle white, I find that I struggle in the heat and am far happier when temperatures are in the very low 20s.

On the plus side, annuals originating from sunnier climes are thriving - the Zinnias and Cosmos are all looking good. I had thought that my dahlias, being natives of Mexico would be enjoying a good baking but they aren't at their best and I fear that even with regular watering and feeding, they're not going to do much this year. The foliage looks suspiciously like it might have a virus so they may have to be dug up and disposed of but I am not quite ready to face that possibility just yet so they have had a stay of execution to see if they buck their ideas up.

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Ho-hum, gardening is never the same from one year to the next and you just have to live with your successes and failures. All we can do is keep watering (it's best to water well, leaving the hosepipe on the beds for about 5-10 minutes in one position before moving it on, rather than watering more often but with a small amount of water). I have got some annuals growing in the potting shed which should be able to take over when the first lot give up the ghost and there are always the Zinnias, Cosmos (including some rather lovely Chocolate Cosmos called 'Chocamocha' that I have put in as edging plants) and lots of Chrysanthemums that are just forming flower heads now. I'm trying a new one called 'Avignon Pink' which is apparantly the Chrysanthemum equivalent of Dahlia 'Cafe Au Lait'. Just as well as my D. 'Cafe Au Lait' didn't flower at all last year is sulking this year, despite having been moved to a  sunnier position.

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