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melissaaipapa

What little is blooming in the drought

Very little. We've gotten probably less than an inch of rain since the start of June, none this month, and have been experiencing low precipitation for a year now. I read it's the worst drought in seventy years.

The garden is largely unwatered. We save the kitchen rinse water and go and dump the filled bowl on some needy plant. I'm taking my bath in a plastic laundry basket outside, using water from the hose, then emptying the water on the plants. This doesn't add up to much given the scale of the need. Naturally there is precious little blooming: a few flowers on 'Mme. Alfred Carrière'; R. moschata and 'Crépuscule' that are now winding up a prolonged summer bloom, though the latter's flowers mostly fried; and the massive plant of 'Spray Cécile Bruenner' is blooming now down in the shade garden. Its flowers too are shrivelling quickly, though it benefits from its location, somewhat cooler and shadier than that of most of the roses.

I've written off the plants we put in the ground last winter and which we're not watering. We're getting older and less energetic: in 2017 in similar--worse--conditions, we got water from our neighbors and watered the garden, but this year it I couldn't bring myself to deal with it. So far I also haven't found the energy to spray for the box moth that's devouring all our box. Possibly the ongoing disruptive house construction work has damped my initiative, though thank Heaven the foundation work is finished, or perhaps that's just an excuse.

Mature plants are mostly holding on, though I'm seeing early leaf drop here and there. The wisteria, for example, is a vibrant mass of green, cooling and protecting, and huge rambler 'Brenda Colvin' has put on strong new growth. Evergreen, shade-loving subshrubs like Alexandrian laurel and Ruscus hypoglossum are perfectly happy; in the woods, tree seedlings and saplings are abundant and healthy. They may not be growing to speak of with no water, but they're holding their own. Those young figs that produce an early crop did so, but the later crop isn't maturing without water. Shade: shade is needed everywhere. Locally we're more comfortable, apparently, than much of western Europe; we have no fires, and our temperatures have stayed generally below 100F, though that may be ending soon. DD in Milan says that the forecast for the next week is for temperatures to reach highs around 106F; they'll rise here as well, but not as drastically. Lucky for us that we live in the hills. DD, thoroughly sick of heat and exams, is looking forward to coming home for the August break; I hope the weather is good during her stay, though the forecast suggest the arrival of dog days. Still it's likely to be better than down in the Plain. We'd all adore rain, but there's no suggestion of it in the forecast.

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