It really has. I was away for 2 weeks in Southern Spain, enjoying cool, but perfect temperatures for travelling and walking a lot, and have come back to discover a garden that is the closest to a bog you can imagine. Squelching across the grass, the dry plants in the South-facing border are looking a bit sick, and everything else looks as if it has been on drugs- and not necessarily in a good way. What had been normal sized Ladybird poppies are now 2 metres tall and out-running the well-known thug, Romneya coulteri. Weeds have appeared as if in a sci-fi movie, and I can’t quite believe it. Another 3 ins of rain fell last night, so everything is leaning at 45 degrees, as if being sick in a boat in a storm. People in the village, never mind plants, are looking very depressed. Non-stop rain, massive electrical storms which almost shook the earth, and cool temperatures do not suit us here in June.
Roses have been beaten into submission, but not Rosa ‘Kiftsgate’, a thug at the best of times but likeable all the same. The perfume from the massed swags of roses can be smelt, even by me, from 50m away from the house- and I have never noticed that before. This rose poses a danger to traffic passing unless we don protection and give it a good hacking every year, but it does hide a horrible bit of wall so I am always pleased about that.
Going back briefly to the Ladybird poppies- they are a tribute to the power of the seed. The only explanation for their appearance is that Andy sowed seed which did not germinate about 4 years ago or maybe more. In early spring, I cleared and disturbed that ground- and astonishingly, up they popped. Nature waits sometimes.
New to me, and soaked but holding on, are Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ and Ceanothus x pallidus ‘Marie Simon’. I had a go at growing the Penstemon from seed and drew a blank, so I bought a couple of good sized plants last autumn and divided them- thus making 6 smaller plants. I had chosen them for their drought tolerance, so I think the wet is not their thing, and consequently, they look a bit weedy- but the sun has got to come out soon, hasn’t it? Ceanothus x pallidus ‘Marie Simon’ appealed to me because it isn’t blue, but a lovely pale pink with very good green foliage and reddish stems- a feature it shares with the Penstemon.
In both Granada and here, Iris foetidissima is flowering. Just the concurrence of that is a testament to the weirdness of the weather here in Southern Europe. Of course, it is more sinister and this is about the growing effects of climate change. Am I alone in worrying what we are leaving, it would appear, to our children to resolve when it is too late? Or can the human being generate world support for science and technology that can change things? It worries me a lot. Back in Southern Spain, I spent a week off-grid on an eco-farm that is single-handedly saving a small piece of the Alpujarras landscape. It was both a very inspiring and sobering experience. Next post….