Hardly a day’s rain for months and our garden was really suffering. We had done regular watering. We collect water in two large butts but by mid August these had long run dry. We used the hose but felt we had to be sparing with our watering because the local reservoir had come close to drying up in a previous drought period.
And we were right. Our local paper, The Mid Sussex Times, carried a story on 13th August about a nearby village, Bolney, that had had its water supply cut off.
Look at our perennial geraniums! Miserable and disappointing. Normally they are flourishing with excellent foliage and masses of small pink flowers from May to September, and they are hardy, easily surviving the winter. Unfortunately they don’t like drought. They have been the mainstay of our flower border in the back garden. They were here when we moved into the house seven years ago.
True geraniums can be so good
What we normally call geraniums are really pelargoniums. Both produce long lasting flowers. What I have only recently discovered is that the perennial geraniums come in many different varieties and in different colours. I hope we may be able to try a new variety next year.
Acanthus also normally provides wonderful a bold display with glossy green foliage. Usually our main problem with acanthus is that it spreads rapidly and can be very difficult to remove. (When we converted a flower border to an attempt to grow vegetables we found that the smallest fragment of root left in the ground would sprout and start to form a new plant.)
By mid August the acanthus was mainly spindly and withered.
One plant that resisted the drought was the cedum. Perhaps we should grow more of these if we are going to have long periods without rain.
More water, more success
We learned from Monty Donn on Gardeners’ World that Cannas need a lot of water so we tried to be generous with the few cannas we have in our front garden. The colours were terrific and they have flowered for a long time.
Another well-watered success in the front garden was the Japanese anemones, but plants we divided from these plants and put into our back garden have mostly died.
David Roberts davidrobertsblog.com
20 October 2020