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A little about the garden in August. Bart, how's your weather?

Melissa Northern Italy zone 8
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We got a second frog strangler a couple of nights ago, possibly even more spectacular then the first one about a week and a half (?) earlier. Amazing lightning flashing like paparazzi bulbs and a continuous rumble and roar of thunder, while the rain lashed spray into our bedroom in spite of our efforts to hold it out. I'm hopeful this second rain, coming relatively soon after the previous one, and in the fast-shortening days of August, will have broken the back of summer; the forecast for the next week is for temperatures in the range of 70F-90F, significantly cooler than before. The air is much freshened, and, important, our uninsulated, thick-walled house has been cooled down. Good things.

The wind blew down into the Small Orto half of a good-sized aging black locust, which it's my task to saw, lop, and cut into manageable pieces and recycle into the soil. I'm tidying the area at the same time, dealing with the summer's accumulation of weeds and surveying the beds. They're messy, Heaven knows, and haven't been overly useful lately, but, we'll see. I did some propagating this spring, but in pots, and some of the cuttings look like they're taking hold. I haven't been down in the big garden in weeks (months): too sunny.

DH finished assembling the "Tempietto", the small pentagonal rebar pergola I designed to replace its leaning wooden predecessor. It turned out to be much harder to put together than I expected, and I'm not sure I'd call it a credit to its designer, me. The rose, 'Souv. de Mme. Leonie Viennot', which goes over it hasn't yet been hoisted up on its new home, so I don't know yet whether the pergola will stand up under the kind of weather we got two nights ago.

There are two, actually three, puny roses close to the "Tempietto", all resident for years: 'Cl. Mrs. Herbert Stevens', 'Mme. Jules Bouché', and 'Mme. Gregoire Staechelin'. Perhaps not coincidentally, all are Hybrid Teas, two own root, one grafted. I'm considering removing the two climbers and putting in roses that will actually grow. They exist: in the same area of the yard are Teas, Noisettes, and a Musk Rose, all doing quite well. Which rose might take a while to decide and then produce. I have quite a weakness for 'Dupontii' which grows down in the shade garden: it grows fine and I believe I've seen it trained as a climber, perhaps years ago at Cavriglia. I'd have to propagate it. The other rose can't be too large. I had a layered start of 'Alberic Barbier', but it seems to have succumbed to the drought; besides, AB's too big. I have what I think are two seedling roses, growing under 'Blush Noisette', and I've thought about just digging one up and planting it (after removing and potting up its predecessor), but of course I know nothing about this baby. Perhaps I'll collect myself sufficiently to dig and pot up the seedlings and watch them for a while.

The last couple of days have been rather lovely, and my energy level is much higher than it was in the heat; on the other hand, the rain seems to have brought the chiggers. DD is home on break, busy writing her first resume and studying for exams in September, but she's found time to make ice cream. Today's flavors are chocolate and coffee, and they are GOOD.

Bart, have you gotten any rain?

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