Saturday 7 July. Scorching. Over 30 degrees in London. High 20s in the shade. Whewf! There’s a few puffy white clouds in the sky, story-book styled, but for the most it’s relentless, pounding, pure shining sun. So up to the allotment plot to provide some water for flagging plants and check on our set of little pepper plants. Go peppers go!
Needless to say, these are far from ideal conditions for planting by any means, but we had the little dianthus pots to get in, as well as the small pot of purple basil to plant.
Yesterday I’d lined the wooden frame of the tomato/pepper bed with brick edging – so’s to maybe delay the inevitable rot of the raised wood frames. So into that front flower bed the dianthus were planted. I forked-up the hard clay soil (after a month of high 20s temperatures and no rain, the soil is like brittle concrete), picked-out the big stones (conveniently added to the side walkway which is quickly becoming a pebble path), dusted the soil with a healthy dose of bone meal, added new soft compost, forked over again after watering, then popped them in and watered again thoroughly to settle the plants in.
Three pink Dianthus ‘Kahori’ now line that front flower bed that leads into the allotment space from under the rose arbour. Lovely!
With luck the dianthus will settle happily and flower again next year – like the virginicum, dianthus are perennial, so that’s the little flower bed for the butterflies and bees all sorted for years to come (fingers & toes crossed).
The little purple basil was planted into the ‘herb bed’ to keep company with edible calendula, marjoram, flat leafed parsley and a small clump of thyme.
Sure thing, it was a beautiful summer’s day. It was nice to see a bee enjoying the new addition of Super G’s beloved sea holly. (Maybe in time, once the wood posts are installed and the boundary and back area where we dream of a ‘terrace’ and small shed in the shade of the lime tree have been commenced and in progress… we’ll plant some artichoke along the edge there, by the sea holly, which are in the thistle family too and would keep them good company.)
But despite the stunning beauty and peace of the place, and the list of little tasks that can always be done — snipping, trimming, tidying, picking stones and pebbles from the growing beds, pruning the holly hedge, etc etc — it was just too damned hot to stay.
And there was the pressing matter of watching the first day of the Tour de France on TV. Geesh. Sports fans are spoilt for choice today — England play Sweden in the World Cup, there’s Wimbledon going on across town and also the Tour.
Hard to know what to watch, and it’s a bit surreal to be out of sync with most everyone else in town who’s cheering and shouts of joy can be heard echoing through open windows and right across town, but if you know the Mr you’d know we’re watching the cycles….
- Hardy evergreen perennial with an upright habit.
- This variety from Japan forms a clump of grey-green foliage with long summer displays of fragrant deep pink blooms.
- Considered ‘Border Pinks’, dianthus are a favourite for planting in rock gardens or border edging. Dianthus combines beautifully with other low alpine plants.
- Prefers full sun. Grows 10 cm high. Plant can spread 8-12 inches (20-30 cm).
- Plants require good drainage and are an excellent choice for hot dry sites or gravelly soils.
- Water well and use soil improver & bone meal when planting.
- Flowers May, June, July.
- Shear plants back lightly after blooming to maintain a tight, compact habit.
- Attractive to butterflies.
- “Kaori” means fragrance in Japanese.