Thursday, June 15, 2017

Maintaining One's Cool

A hot spell has started in the southwest of France and will continue for at least a week. Shade-loving plants invite you to come out of the heat and spend some time in their haven of freshness. Several months ago, I lightly covered three fragrant, cascading tuberous begonia bulbs with potting mix. Each were given a separate pot of around 20 cm/8 inch diameter. They were kept warm and slightly moist until the weather became mild which is when they were put outside in the shade until their foliage appeared. They then could have been planted directly in the ground or as in my case kept in pots. In the latter instance, the frost-tender bulbs do not have to be dug up but just brought indoors during the winter. Blooming heavily from early summer through autumn, tuberous begonias beckon with their soothing perfume, gorgeous flowers, and stunning leaves. Not to mention they thrive in gloomy areas of the garden.

A potted begonia nestled in the deep recess of a small sous-sol window

Any horticultural specimen that can bush out in verdant lushness, whether in the sun or the shade, is a welcomed sight in the parched garden.

Beauty bush (it recently flowered) and lavender. 

Green is not the only garden coolant, so are blue and purple.

The fabulous heuchera Stormy Seas.  Purple stems carry delicate clusters of tiny, creamy flowers

Since Eli the Kitten is a feline, he has built-in cool which guides him into shady nooks.

A heuchera and candy tuft sandwich with Eli the Kitten filling

High temperatures can't make a dent in the exuberant green of the laurel hedge.

Peach and fig trees are in the background

Twenty-four cuttings were taken from the hedge about a week ago. Each one was dipped in rooting hormone, had their leaves clipped in half to prevent evaporation until roots are formed, and placed in incubators outside under the pergola to keep the humidity high and afford protection from the sun. In a few weeks, when new foliage shows, they will be planted in two nursery beds. Not this autumn, but next, they will increase the length of the existing hedge.

The vents are kept open at present because of the heat

Mostly unripe, but some blueberries are turning, well, blue.

Yes, I am depriving the house sparrows by using netting! But it's green and cool.

Even reds can appear cool if they are blue-reds.

Lacecap hydrangea keeping its cool in the shade

Under the boxelder and purple-leaved cherry plum trees, coolness abounds. The asters and Japanese anemones are leafing out well. In the fall, they will softly light up the shade with their blues and pinks. Until then, the asters are sporadically pinched back as to avoid staking.

Ivy growing up the tree trunks increases the green quotient 

David Austin's fragrant Falstaff climber thrives in the sun, but with its quartered, purple-red blooms, brings a touch of cool regardless. The best colours for roses in hot climes are the deeper tones as they tend not to fade as the lighter-coloured ones do.

Cool velvet!

À la prochaine!