Longed for rain

The much longed for rain has begun to fall, reviving the parched garden.  Although we've loved the long sunny days - and have once again had quantities of unblemished roses to pick thanks to the dry weather - some of our plants have been showing signs of drought over the last few weeks.  We've always prided ourselves on not watering the garden, believing that water should be a cherished resource used sparingly, and that we can achieve good growing conditions for our plants by mulching them well (which also gradually improves the soil structure and moisture retention of the soil) and by planting sensibly to suit our growing condtitions.  This year we still haven't watered the garden apart from when things are being planted out, but our cultural steps still haven't been enough for some of the plants.  Maybe it's the impact of two very dry summers in succession, as the plants worst hit seem to have been among the bigger things: amelanchier trees (admittedly they are growing through a great carpet of lawn) and two of the rambling roses.

We're also feeling relieved as things start to ease off, and we can devote more energy to gardening and getting everything ready for next year.  There have been some wonderful orders over the last two weeks, including two lovely weddings and many orders for florists, the most fun of which involved a London florist sending us the photograph which his clients had chosen to inspire the theme of their party (an exqusitie young man draped in pink silk and daubed with golden glitter, and standing in front for a field of cerise larkspur), and asked us to suggest a palette of flowers inspired by this image.  We came up with hot pink asters, a blend of orange- and peach-toned dahlias, and little coppery pot marigolds.  Whatever next?