Still Standing

It had been dry for about a month until the early hours of Tuesday morning. Dry and at times hot with temperatures sometimes reaching 36C and many hours of unbroken sunshine.

I seem to have spent a lot of time these last few weeks repositioning the sprinkler and hose to needy areas of lawn around the various buildings in an effort to keep them not only green but in some spots alive. At least it's a simple enough task to then spin the tap and let irrigation begin. Not so the rest of the garden . That becomes a ruddy good workout. On average, each evening I've been lugging about 35 cans of water around the place ensuring everything gets a good soak but it's never a perfect replacement for soft Summer rain. I should point out that I'm lucky to have a small well, fed from a source which filters through the limestone rock further uphill. All I need do is dunk the cans into the water and I'm away, no lengthy waiting for the tap to fill the bucket.

Early Tuesday morning and all change as some very lively thunderstorms moved across and dumped a good couple inches of rain. Lots of electrical activity too. You know the kind. Lightning that's almost constant and lights up everything outside clear as day, plus, for good measure the ensuing thunder claps make you jumpy and wonder whether something nearby has taken a direct hit, there's something about a valley that just plays tricks with the acoustics.

First light and I shot out to see what had been knocked back. Some of the Cosmos lay horizontal, but nothing too serious. Some roses needed 're-tying in' but all in all not too bad. Amazingly the Nicotiana sylvestris (pictured) was still standing as if nothing had gone on. Everywhere feels alive again. There's green creeping back into the lawns which, sadly means I'm going to have to resume mowing again.


  1. I think that I would evaporate in such temperatures Rob especially if I had to do anything energetic. 35 cans of water is no joke although I think I have come close at the allotment :) Can you use a hose at all or do you have restricitons? Glad to hear that the rain has bought some relief. I hope that you are taking long lunch breaks :)
    P.S. The word verification is making me smile - it's 'sowso'.

  2. Same situation here. We got much needed relief on Sunday night when we received over 2 inches of much needed rain. Now we have a good chance of rain and storms tomorrow and Friday. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm still in Alabama, lol. Love your new header!

  3. I always find it almost magical to see how quickly plants recover when they get the slightest amount of rain. It is somehow easier to resume mowing in the lush greenery than trudging buckets of water around only to keep things alive! Your garden, as always, looks exquisite!

  4. After a delightful spring, I'm now praying for much needed rain here also, Rob. Luckily, my garden survived 2 weeks away but will be lonesome most of the summer since we're back & forth from the lake house. Your Nicotiana sylvestris photo is stunning!

  5. What a great picture Rob. Would love to sit in that chair. Rain not too bad here in the west, but my parents in East Anglia are saying how dry it is there.

  6. I'm glad you got the rain! Hauling cans of water around the yard is one of my least favorite but most necessary chores to do. Our rains this year have been much more reliable (about once a week) than the last several years. Of course our driest months are still ahead. Last August I don't think we received any rain. I hope that is different this year.

  7. Hi Rob, good news all around, rain and the tobacco standing tall. It is a wonderful plant, glad it survived. There is nothing that can replace rain from the sky, no amount of watering seems to give the same pick me up for the plants, lawn included.

  8. I'll never complain about dragging hoses again, 35 cans is a lot of water. A good workout though.
    Glad you got the rain you needed, it looks beautiful there. Your Nicotiana sylvestris looks great, and I'm going to try it again next year.

  9. Hi Anna, Long lunch breaks are the norm. When in Rome...

    Hi Phillip, If here's anything to go by, then I guess your roses have shed a lot of foliage.

    Tim, Thanks. I agree, it's always satisfying to see a quick recovery in plants following a downpour.

    Joey, a lake house sounds nice.
    I hope you get rain! Are you growing nicotiana?

    Hermes, It's little known that parts of East Anglia/Essex receive lee annual rainfall than Madrid or say parts of Israel. Sadly sunshine hours are also much less!

    Dave I hope you get a good mix of rain and sun this August.

    Hi Frances, I so agree. It's the steady water perferation that enables the roots to soak it up. Sadly watering cans are a quick flash flood and it's gone!

    Catherine you've just gotta try the N. sylvestris again. It's such a great plant. It takes a long time to get to flower mind. I thought It would never grow and get big a few months ago.

  10. The N sylvestris looks lovely, and there is a beautiful quality to the light in your photo.

    What a lot of watering you have to do! We've had so much rain here recently it has even saturated the 'rain-shadow' areas close to the buildings - so no watering needed even there! The lawns are growing exuberantly, and mowing has to be done in snatched moments between deluges.

    The thunderstorms sound exciting!

  11. Why can't the rain just fall in certain places, at certain times? lol I often think of Camelot during rainy days.

    Rain is a wonderful thing in the summer. The only problem is that does make the grass grow.

  12. A beautiful photograph worth all that hard work watering. We have at last had some rain and it makes such a difference to how well things look.

  13. Nature helped out last night and lit the garden with the type of lightning you sometimes get coming off the Pyrenees. Beautiful through the opened bedroom windows, not only the storm but the knowledge I didn't have to lug watering cans all day today!

    Tried to post this on dailypic.

    "Thanks for you mail Rob, another super photograph. I love the colour of the stone in the South, tends to make every building like a charm. I recently bought a Canon 450D as I already had the lens. It's great but a tad heavy for taking everywhere. I need a wide angle for it, expensive, will start dropping hints around Nick come December!
    Stephanie Alexander is still on order, you have reminded me to chase it up, thanks. Regards Fay

  14. Oh how I love a good rain storm! How dry my yard would be without rain, or my hose--'cause watering cans would only go so far, and my hands and shoulders would give way! I have a sprinkler system which makes things easier for me; however, I have been very conservative about turning it on this year. I turn the zones on as they need it, and for a very short time. It's scary how much water we use to keep our flowers looking cheery! I do hope your temperature's will soon be moderate enough that watering won't be necessary so often:-) We're just now starting to get the furnace-like heat & humidity that typically make up the 2nd half of the summer! How I wish it could remain spring-like all year!

  15. It's been chucking it down here on and off (mainly on though!) all week - and there was I hoping for hot dry weather in Dordogne for the next fortnight!!!
    Oh well, at least we'll feel at home - *sigh*!
    Looking forward to seeing you next week :)

  16. Summer rain is always a delight around here, since we don't get too much of it. I love watching lightening storms, though we don't get such exciting ones here in Washington as when we lived in Iowa. Along with tornadoes, the midwest gets fabulous storms with ferocious downpours, green skies and extensive lightening. The rain came down so quickly and the clay soil soaked it up so slowly that our window well filled up with water. Interesting sight, an aquarium right outside the basement window. Somehow the old window never leaked, and the water eventually soaked in.

  17. Rain after a dry spell brings a lovely freshness to the air, vegetation and the environment. Such a gorgeous garden in a wonderful area of France.

    I have come via Sylvan Muse.

  18. Glad you finally got some rain. Drought is just so punishing on the garden and those of us having to keep it alive. Your nicotiana looks great! Glad your roses are well. I'm sure you'll be rewarded with so many blooms after the rain.

    PS Booked in Antibes for May next year. Following Le Tour de France. Not exciting yet -- maybe in the Alps!

  19. Nicotiana is beautiful... I am wondering if mine will survive a week without me, since we are traveling in Alaska right now. A friend is watering the garden, but nobody is picking wilted blooms... I bet it'll look trashy in a week. The flowers on your plant look much longer than mine. Nicccce!

  20. Hi Rob

    It looks like we are going to get another prolonged period of dry hot weather.

  21. it amazes me how plants can take deluges. that was quite a workout you had to get things watered. probably good for your heart, but I wish you get a break every now and then with a nice gentle drenching.

  22. Same here and we had a glorious storm tonight. I was thankful. But our heat spell was not the same as the horrible mess we had last year thank goodness.

    I like your yellow checked tablecloth peaking out through the--Flowering Tobacco as we call it. The walls of my family room are painted Tobacco's a golden tone and I picked it cause of the historical value to this area. My guest rooms and such are painted plantation beige.


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