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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Dried out

Wow, it's been hot hot HOT!  

We're not used to this sort of heatwave in the UK; usually we get a couple of days of sunshine, the newspapers print headlines like "Phew, what a scorcher!" and compare Britain's temperature to various places overseas where it's not as hot as here (and we all know that Britain is regularly hotter than Bahrain, right? :) ), everybody puffs and pants about, complaining about the heat despite the fact that it's rained solidly for the previous nine months, and then it rains again.  

But not this time.  

This year, we've had proper sunny sunshine for weeks with not a drop of rain to be seen, and just like when it snows heavily, we have no idea how to cope.  People are walking their dogs in ridiculous temperatures and wondering why they're dying (seriously, would you like to chase a ball in a fur coat?  Our dog has spent most of his time in his favourite shady spot - there will be more than enough time for long walks later in the year).  We've had an email already from the water company asking people not to keep refilling paddling pools or use garden sprinklers so that they can conserve precious water resources and people complain about the prospect of hosepipe bans because - heaven forbid - their grass might turn brown instead of green.  This is what our grass looks like at the moment.




It's not good.  It even feels crunchy underfoot so I think we can safely say that the grass has died.  The thing about grass, though, is that as soon as we have some proper rain (and living here in the UK, I think we can guarantee that sooner or later), it will be fine.  It might not look particularly attractive at the moment, but given the choice between having it that colour and potentially having our water rationed, I can live with brown grass.

Some of our plants aren't faring too well either.  The Hosta and the Alstroemeria have decided that standing upright is too much work ...



and our poor Hydrangea is really suffering.  


One good deluge, though and it'll be fine again.  This often happens to the Hydrangea in the summer if it's been a bit dry and it's always recovered.  It's sheltered under the apple trees from the worst of the heat so I'll keep my fingers crossed that it will be back to it's usual flowery self as soon as the heavens open.

Other plants haven't been quite so distressed by the dry weather.  I'm thrilled to see this beauty ...


It's a Calla lily (Zantedeschia) and it's the first time it's ever flowered since I bought it.  I've got three of them in a pot outside the back door and I get lots of leaves but no flowers.  I've just discovered (whilst Googling for the Latin name) that I should be digging them up and overwintering them somewhere warm but I haven't done any of that - I just left them to take their chances in the pot.  My track record with trying to overwinter dahlias by digging them up isn't very good so I might just leave these where they are!

Other happy plants are the roses.  This one is 'High Hopes', a climbing rose ...


and this one is 'The Fairy' which we bought in remembrance of my mother in law.  She was a much bigger fan of roses than me, but I do like these sweet little blooms.


One of my favourite plants, my Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) is flowering now and smells divine.  I can't get enough of it!  Not as many flowers as last year as I cut it back quite hard at the end of the year, but still enough to get a whiff of the heady fragrance every time I put my head out of the door.  I noticed that these plants were on sale in Aldi this week - if you want one, see if you can still track them down as they're usually much more expensive!


Over in the veg garden, some of the leeks have gone to seed.  I should have pulled them up earlier but didn't, and now they have these fabulous flower heads on them.  Leeks are alliums so these flowers related to the showy allium flowers that were in my garden earlier this year; the bees don't care whether they're bred for flowers or vegetables, they're still buzzing all over them so I've left them in the ground.  It's hard enough for the bees at the moment without pulling up yet more food sources.  


And finally my houseleek.  I love houseleek; I love the spiky ones, the cobwebby ones, the purpley ones ... and they're obviously feeling very happy because they're flowering prolifically at the moment.  At least some plants aren't missing the rain too much!


Come on, let's go and take a minute in the shade and I'll show you a sneak preview of something new.  

Do you remember I showed you the unicorn that big daughter was making?  Well, the first issue of the magazine - Your Crochet & Knitting - where the pattern came from is on sale today and I've got a copy to show you.



The nice people at Practical Publishing very kindly sent me a copy so that I could show you what's inside the packet.  



It's often frustrating not to be able to open the packets so that you can see what you're getting before you buy - the downside of magazine gifts, I guess - but there's plenty in this one and good value, I'd say, for the price of £8.99.  (Yes, it's quite expensive but don't forget that if you bought each pattern inside for £2.50-ish, plus the yarn and the free how-to-knit booklet and the £12.99 crocheted bags book that you can have for free (just pay postage) you'd be paying far more than that.)

There are plenty of patterns inside that you can make with the free yarn kit.  We may have seen this unicorn before ...



and the magazine have a licence for Mr Men and Little Miss toys.   There are soft toys to make - both knitted and crocheted - and also jumpers with the characters on to knit.


You can get an idea of the types of projects here ...



This isn't all of them, and there are useful how-to's and interviews in the magazine from people like Bella Coco, Dedri Urys and TOFT too.  It's certainly packed with plenty of stuff!  It's interesting that this magazine combines knitting and crochet rather than being one or the other with a few alternative projects running alongside.  I think this will make it easier for a beginner to decide whether they prefer to knit or crochet as they can pick up the skills for both in just one magazine.

This shawl made me smile.  Do you recognise it?



How about now?  I've seen lots of photos from the Knit Now issue 90 photo shoot on social media this week and it's great to see how the photos finally turned out.  I may have to control my excitement, though, as I might be starting to get on the editor's nerves as I feel the need to tell her that I recognise each photo! :)


By the time you read this it will be Thursday morning, but it's getting late on Wednesday evening as I'm writing this.  This time, and early mornings, are my favourite times of the day.  I'm not great in the sweltering heat of lunchtime; I've discovered that all I want to do is snooze in the shade which is wonderful when you're on holiday but not when you have jobs to do!

If you're also in a hot place, I hope you're keeping cool, and if you're in a part of the world where it's winter, then I hope you're not too cold!  The joys of the weather system, eh? :)


PS  I must say thank to everyone who left me a comment on my last post about using less plastic.  I haven't got round to replying yet but I've read them all and it's great to hear that you're all doing your bit as well, and thanks too for the suggestions about what else we can try.  Everybody doing a little bit has to add up to a lot, doesn't it?



8 comments:

  1. Hi Christine - sweltering too here in County Durham but loving it all cos I know it will end to quickly! Just a top tip for your hydrangea - I used to have them in South Africa where water is very scarce so when I did odd bits of washing up I didn't put in washing liquid (how dirty can the odd sandwich plate or tea cup really be?) and then I'd put the washing up water on my hydrangea. I usually managed a small amount each day which used to keep it going thru the hottest of SA summers. I used to collect my shower water too - just put a bucket on the shower floor next to you and you'll be surprised how much water you collect. Just a couple of things that we could all do to avoid using the hosepipes but keep our cherished plants going. Happy Summer! xxx

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  2. Here is Australia we have many dry summers, droughts that last years etc. don't worry about your grass, it will grow back. Some hints and tips for watering your plants. Have a bucket in your sink, any water throughout the day can go into it to go onto your garden, running the tap to get hot water, water from cooking, veg, rice, pasta etc. also use a phosphate free laundry liquid and purchase a length of laundry hose to divert you washing water onto your garden.
    If you have plants that don't cope with direct sun, pop an old sheet over them (light coloured) to protect them from direct sunlight.
    Stay cool xx

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  3. It is strange to feel so hot all the time and like your dog ours is lying low and being walked at about 7am and after 9pm at night - she is nearly 15 so the less stress on her the better! The garden fares the same as yours - the roses have gone over very quickly this year and we only water the tubs and any new plants! Grass always recovers! We are headed for Scotland shortly so expect to be cooler up there and are praying for rain while we are gone! The big heatwave of 1976 (do you remember) was only 15 days of temperatures of 30C!!!!

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  4. Love your flowers Christine, I hope you get rain soon. X

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  5. our grass here always looks like that! it's normal lol most of your plants are stressing that;s why they're flowering, aren't leek flowers awesome?
    well not sure how hot it gets there but it's been in the mid 50'sC here some summers, at least that doesn't happen every year! mostly it stays around the low 40'sC.
    great post
    thanx for sharing

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  6. Yes, we do need a good downpour now. The garden is looking very bedraggled and dusty. Although, when it does rain, I hope it all falls on Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill to extinguish the wild fires. Those poor firefighters must be exhausted. I can't imagine what it must be like for them in this heat.

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  7. Hi Christine,
    It’s a scorcher here in Gibraltar too. Love your flowers and that magazine looks interesting. Let’s hope we can see it here soon.
    Enjoyed your blog post as always.

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  8. Hi Christine
    Not so hot up here in bonny Scotland north of Aberdeen, but it is sunny, our grass is not so yellow and hasnt needed cutting which is great,we had a shower of rain a couple of nights ago and a drizzly morning which was great for the garden. I will be keeping my eye out for the magazine, looks great, like you say £8.99 great price for what you get. I run a small B & B and I have stopped putting out water in small bottles I offer a jug of filter water from the fridge of they can have scottish tap water which is just as good. Most guests take the plastic bottles away, which I felt I had no control over the disposal of, so far no complaints. Love reading your blog x

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