Heatwaves, Summer Flu, some Tuesday Views and a Mystery Plant

Having recovered from the second (mega) heatwave and a rather nasty summer flu virus, temperatures (both mine and outside!) have subsided enough for me to enjoy the garden and share a few Tuesday Views at last. ๐Ÿ™‚

At the beginning of July I enjoyed a two-week interlude between our heatwaves with pleasant temperatures and good company while my sister visited ๐Ÿ™‚ The garden was left mostly to its own devices and a few individual plants were watered to tide them over. Overall, considering the incredibly low rainfall we have had since April, the new beds have done well with minimal watering. I am constantly amazed.

Here is the Sunshine Bed in early August…

The annuals really filled in the spaces and the fact that they all survived has confirmed my suspicions that slugs and snails and not lack of watering were responsible for previous failures in my old garden. So far slugs are few and far between here, and I don’t think I have seen any snails yet!

Tithonia, various sunflowers, cosmos, as well as some (leftover) zinnias – which have fortunately turned out to be red – have transformed the bed into a sunny oasis in the dry surroundings.

And I finally got some Californina poppies to grow for me!

Oh, and a mystery plant… it may have been in with some leftover seed scattered haphazardly, but is more likely to be a weed as the flowers are rather unspectacular. But I have never seen it before. Any ideas?



The Butterfly Bed has done well too, although more ground cover will be needed – autumn will probably become my main planting season as two dry springs and summers in a row have been a challenge.

The Buddleias steal the show and have been attracting butterflies galore. Mostly Painted Ladies, a couple of Swallowtails, some Fritillaries, loads of small blues and recently also Red Admirals…

Some sturdy Scabiosa have finally flowered – sown indoors in February they were brutally planted out at the end of March and barely started growing until the end of June. But they are rewarding me with dozens of flowers and buds. ๐Ÿ™‚

And finally, the Herb Bed…

Some of the annuals are looking a little tired – it has been a tough summer. But along with the beautiful Stipa tenuissima, the Hypericums and fennel, Echinacea and Baldrian (Valerian? ‘Patrinia scabiosifolia’), as well as some cosmos and Tithonia the whole bed has provided interest since mid-June.




Do you also feel summer is flying by? July is just a blur now, and I am wondering what the rest of August will bring… more showers we hope!

I have put ย all the photos in a slideshow…


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope to catch up with some blog-reading soon and wonder how everyone’s summer is progressing. I do hope excessive heat or rain hasn’t stopped you enjoying your gardens.

Happy August! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸŒธโ˜€๏ธ


39 thoughts on “Heatwaves, Summer Flu, some Tuesday Views and a Mystery Plant

  1. Sorry to hear you have been poorly – somehow it seems such an insult to get flu in summer – it is just not supposed to happen!
    Your new beds are coming along beautifully aren’t they – must be a lot of work.
    I think your mystery plant could be one of the Figworts.

    • Thanks Sandra. I think the mystery is now solved – Nictiana rustica. That explains why I was convinced it was in with my seedlings… must have been mixed in with the white Nicotiana seed by mistake!

  2. Hope you are totally recovered from your virus, not nice. Your new garden is doing ever so well, it can’t have been easy keeping it going through the heat that we have all been having, thank goodnes our temperatures are now back to normal, hope yours are too.
    Sorry don’t know your mystery plant.

    • Thanks Pauline. I had no idea flu without cold symptoms was possible but it really exhausted me what with the heat as well. Feel normal again at last though. Blandine has solved the mystery for me – Nicotiana rustica. It must have been mixed in with the white Nicotiana seed.

  3. Good to hear that you have recovered from the summer flu. It seems like more of an insult to be sick during summer. Your flower beds look great despite not having enough rain. The rain spigot has been turned off here too. July was drier than normal and August appears to be going that same way. August is typically our dry month. The lush grass of spring and early summer is now going dormant with big brown patches. Bah… Ever hopeful for rain.

    • Hi Lisa. We got some more rain yesterday! It was so lovely hearing it on the windows and made me feel nostalgic for past years where it has rained regularly. Last year was worse with the drought going on until the end of August. At least the flowers have had enough but the trees need more… Hope you get some showers too!

  4. Hi Cathy, sorry to learn you haven’t been well. Flu is terrible in winter but in summer it’s a lot worse. I’ve been thinking of you a lot because of the drought and I’ve been wondering how the new borders are coping. They look delightful and isn’t it fab to see all the insects! The leaves reminded me of Nicotiana right away, didn’t know rustica up to now. We’re having yet another tough summer, one heat wave after the other and no rain. The well has dried up which gives you an idea of the groundwater level…the river is at an alltime low, scary. The mulching has made a huge difference, especially in the potager where I’ll mulch even more next year. Thanks to the weather my latest book has turned into a humble bestseller and they’re busy printing the next lot. Everything has its advantages! Let’s hope August treats us a bit kinder. Take care x

    • Oh good news about the book Annette, which I dip into regularly to reassure myself I am doing things right. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think the key is to know your soil and choose your plants with care and then work on creating a kind of microclimate. I think I have got the plants right so far. I even found raindrops on some Alchemilla leaves two days after a shower despite it being over 25ยฐC in the daytime. What material do you use to mulch Annette? That is something I can’t fathom as grass or hay just gets swept away here on our windy hillside! We finally had some REAL rain yesterday – 20 litres ๐Ÿ™‚ – and just listening to it against the windows and in the gutters made me feel so happy! LOL! Hope some goes your way soon too. Every little shower helps.

      • Glad you got some good rain! When I cut back the borders I shred everything on site and put it out on the borders. As I’ve lots of large grasses the layer of mulch is pretty good. Then at the beginning of the season mulch with grass clippings…from mid/end June no more grass to cut but I also use bracken and shredded straw mostly in the potager. All the shrub and tree prunings are being shredded too. Can’t over-emphasize the importance of mulching ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. I’ll echo the other comments. How awful to have the flu in the summer. Glad you are feeling better. The garden have come through the brutal heat with flying colors. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Your heatwaves sound horrendous, as does your having the flu. Hope both are gone for good. With the epidemic of tick borne diseases here (currently 14 different ones), when I hear about someone with a ‘summer flu,’ my mind wanders to that being the cause. I’ve read Rickettsia is common in your area. As the long range effects are debilitating, I feel compelled to ask! I was diagnosed in June with four different ones, with joint pain and brain fog being the biggest symptoms. Nasty!
    Your gardens are looking good for such a hard summer and I imagine with ample rain, will continue to expand through the coming years. Thanks for posting your photos of them!
    Hope the rest of your summer is pleasant. โค

    • Thank you Eliza. Yes, ticks are a problem here and we are very watchful especially since moving to the edge of the Bavarian Forest and being outdoors more. I do hope you don’t get all the symptoms ascribed to these nasty diseases and wonder if you can have any treatment? My partner had a nasty horsefly bite last year that gave him Lyme borreliosis, but a massive dose of antibiotics seems to have got rid of the bacteria. I am pretty sure it was a virus I succumbed to though. I am pleased how well the sunshine bed has established in such tough conditions – I was sifting through some old photos this morning and saw a picture of it in May – practically empty! Look after yourself Eliza, and enjoy the rest of your summer too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Being sick in the summer is the worst. It just seems so out of place and you get so much less sympathy!
    Things have grown in so well in spite of the weather and I’m glad to see your plantings have already begun to draw in the insect visitors. You’ve really accomplished a lot for the first few months!

    • Precisely! In summer there is no time for being sick what with tomatoes to water and deadheading and weeding etc! Some plants got rather singed in our hot spell, but all have survived so far. And we have had more rain! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I’m so sorry to hear that you had the summer-flu, Cathy. Combined with your heatwaves I can imagine it’s been difficult. But your various beds are looking none the worse the wear. They look gorgeous, and I’m also glad to hear that you were successful with California poppy. They’re pretty and yet drought tolerant, so I’d imagine your lack of rain hasn’t bothered them at all. All the color is good for recovery. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You are right Debra. Looking out at the garden when it was too hot to actually go out there kept me going. ๐Ÿ™‚ The Californian poppies were supposed to be a mix of colours but are all yellow so far -which apparently happens, so I have heard!

  9. In view of your flu (or tick-borne disease?) and the drought I am especially pleased that your new garden is getting along better than you might have hoped. It must be interesting to see what works well in a new location

    • Flu, I’m sure. Yes, the nursery I buy from has excellent information on all its plants on its website and I have rigidly stuck to those reputed to like or tolerate dry sandy soil and wind. So far so good as I only lost a couple of plants to the winter and the spring planting has survived too. Now all they need is regular showers for the rest of the growing season. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. I have no idea what that is either. It is not easy to identify from the picture. It really does seem to be related to flowering tobacco, but to me, the flowers more closely resemble those of common tobacco.

    • Blandine suggested Nicotiana rustica and I am sure that is what it is. My Nicotiana affinis seed was a year old, but still โ€“ that shouldnโ€™t have been mixed in with it!

      • One thing I noticed about the tobaccos is that their tiny seed get into weird places. There is a wild tree tobacco in Southern California that does that. It can show up miles away from where it might be growing wild. That would not be so odd for seed that is transmitted by wind or birds, but tobacco seed just falls to the ground.

  11. The garden is looking beautiful and has survived well despite the heat. The Tithonia does not survive as well in the heat and drought as you would expect. I seeded mine from tray to individual pots before placing them in the garden and some have barely moved and I think only one has got a flower head. Oh well, maybe they will give some late colour if we ever get rain. Amelia

    • Hi Amelia. Well, I do hope your Tithonias catch up and flower for you. I grew mine from seed too – in small pots – and planted them out late May. They were very small and stayed small for ages and then suddenly started growing late June. The first buds opened late July. I think they got a drop of water now and then if I had a watering can nearby, and perhaps two soaks with the hosepipe and that was it. I have been very stingy with water as I wanted to see just how tolerant my plants are to our dry, well-drained and windy location. They wilted a bit in the 38ยฐC heatwave but otherwise have looked surprisingly good even when other plants looked thirsty. So they are definitely drought-proof and wind-proof here. Maybe it depends on the soil?

  12. Congrats on the CA poppies! I have given up on growing them. Lots of great blooms despite the weather and your illness. I want August to slow down to keep summer from ending!

    • The handful of poppies that came up have given me hope and I have put more on my seed list for next year! Problem is, I have a weed here that looks so very similar to themโ€ฆ I have to take care not to weed out seedlings!

  13. Oh it’s so good to see a post from you Cathy ๐Ÿ˜„ Sorry to hear that you have been under the weather. Hopefully you are back to full fettle now. Your new garden is really coming on and how fortunate that it is snail free ๐Ÿ‘ My first tithonia flower only opened today. I’m off to investigate baldrian shortly as it is an unknown to me.

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