It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

Reading time 8 minutes

I write this post, naked from the waist up, basking in the sun at The Watch House. It’s not a pretty sight, but only I can see it. Beyond the garden gate bodies of all shapes and sizes litter the beach, reclining on vast towels, shielded from their neighbours by gaudy windbreaks despite there being no wind. Here in my little haven I am spared the sight of lobster-coloured flesh, but still get to enjoy the heated and very public disputes all families seem obliged to have on their way back to the car. Sometimes they even stop in the street outside so that I can enjoy several minutes of their impassioned performance. The roles are always the same – screaming mother, obstinate, unsympathetic father and wailing child / children. Occasionally there may be a cameo role for a pacifying grandparent or disinterested dog. I marvel at how indecision over where to consume fish and chips can cause such monumental rifts in a family, but we’ve all been there. That’s the heat for you: it makes us tired and teasy.

I have not been immune to the effects of the heatwave. I slept very poorly every night last week, not helped by an overnight stay at a hotel where I was compelled to sleep with the door open just to get some air moving through. I can’t decide whether it was the impact of the heat on others or on me that caused me to be uncharacteristically short-tempered at work, but I was relieved when it came to Friday and I could work from home. Even the drilling and chattering of the electricians putting my chandeliers up could not put me in a bad mood. Although the temperature has increased daily, my good humour is restored, for now at least.

It is nowhere near as warm in Broadstairs as it is inland, yet it’s still quite warm enough for me. I have been trying to clear the workshop so that the electricians can bring power through from the house next week. It’s a job that needs to be done ahead of my open weekend so that we have somewhere to plug the tea urn in. Facing due south the workshop heats up like a brick-kiln during the day and holds the warmth overnight, so there is no good time to tackle it. Serves me right for packing it full of stuff that ought to have been dealt with at the time. Just as I was looking my most hot and flustered who should pop her head round the door other than Torrington Tina and her husband, all the way from sunny Devon. Despite regular encounters in the blogosphere we had never met before. It was fantastic to finally be able to put a face to a name. I was soaking my airplants in a bucket of water, the horticultural equivalent of drying my Y-Fronts on the washing line, so I made my apologies and went on with an impromptu tour.

During this warm, dry weather the garden needs watering every other day. Even in my tiny garden that’s a three-hour job if I do it properly, longer if I am feeding as well, which I am tonight. On a weekday that means I must spend the entire evening with a watering can in my hand. Despite the time commitment, I find watering incredibly therapeutic. It’s a great opportunity to really look at the detail of your garden and make adjustments as you go. The downside, as you may have noticed, is that I’ve had very little time to keep this blog updated. I have ideas for new posts coming out of my ears, but they must wait. At times like these one must live in the moment, enjoy the wonderful weather and do what your garden demands of you.

Blessed with long, sunny days the plants have gone bananas; even the bananas have gone bananas! Both gardens are looking so good I could open tomorrow and feel reasonably content with what I have achieved. With another five weeks growing time ahead, I am starting to wonder how I’ll actually fit anyone in come August. Flowers are just starting to appear in numbers, starting with Lilium ‘Pink Flavour’ and Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’. I’ve already spied flower spikes forming on Hedychium yunnanense, which is extraordinarily early for a ginger to be producing flowers outside. Just for now I am happy to wait and enjoy this period of green anticipation.

First thing tomorrow I set off for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where once again I will be assessing the trade stands for the RHS. I would love to avail you of my thoughts on what I am going to see, but alas I’ve not so much as looked at the website, or my instructions, so it will be a pleasant surprise for us both. If you are there on Tuesday and spot a man with oranges printed on his short-sleeved shirt, that will probably be me. Do say hello. If it is not, you’ll have met a man with fabulous taste anyway.

Whilst I am posting less frequently I am continuing to update other forms of social media regularly, so do give me a follow on Facebook or on Instagram and you’ll be among the first to see what’s in store at the world’s largest (and possibly hottest) flower show. I shall also be making more short films and posting them to IGTV. In the meantime stay cool, keep your garden well watered (if you are permitted to) and try not to let the heat get you. TFG.

Categories: Container gardening, Flowers, Foliage, Hampton Court Flower Show, Our Coastal Garden, Photography, Plants, Small Gardens, Weather

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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27 comments On "It Ain’t Half Hot Mum"

  1. Beautiful photos as always! How things have changed – we have gone from drought to deluge. Besides previous rain, that we’ve had, last night and this morning, we had 50mm in our rain gauge and it’s still raining and there will be snow on our mountains tonight. I would say that our drought is over for now 🙂

  2. Enjoyed this and read it all through despite being equally busy with a dry demanding garden and blog ideas coming out of my ears with little time to write. Garden looks astonishing. Hope that wasn’t me arguing with hubby outside your house, it sounded like it could have been 😂

  3. GREAT POST and AWESOME photos. This time of the year I wait until late efternoon/early evening to tend to the beds and potted plants. I take a lot of photos and have plans for post that don’t seem to get published. Then, after a few days, the photos are already out of date as the plants grow. I am continually working on the pages of all the plants of my past and present. It is always an enjoyable work in progress. Your yard looks amazing.

  4. Mr TT and I went to see and smell the jasmine, and were treated to a tour of these truly wonderful gardens brim full of the most beautiful plants. TFG is right, everything is looking so good that he could open to the public right now and there would be more exclamations of amazement. Thank you Dan, your kindness was the icing on the cake of my garden visiting holiday to Kent. I hope the air plants are doing OK!

    1. They are well and truly refreshed thank you. No amount of misting was keeping them hydrated, so I stuck them in the bucket and then let them dry thoroughly before wiring them back onto the tree.

      It was so lovely to meet you both. You’re very welcome to come again if you find yourself in Kent again. How was Goodnestone? Did it meet your expectations?

  5. Your garden looks like it is loving this hot weather. I hope to see the oranges shirt at some point. It is amazing what a hot tiring day on the beach can do to a other wise loving family. Good luck with the judging.

  6. Your garden looks lovely, and your light-hearted approach to both gardening and blogging is much appreciated by me! It’s a treat to find a gardener/blogger online who doesn’t take himself too seriously, but still manages to share such interesting information, and excellent photos. Take care in the heat, and stay well hydrated!:)

    1. Thank you so much. I will. I’m happy you enjoyed this post. I always find the ones that are written on the spur of the moment read better than those I sweat for hours over. The photos – well – they are a rum assortment of iPhone snaps. I have been too lazy to get my proper camera out, plus I find the iPhone captures colours (red and yellow especially) far more accurately. But for Hampton Court the DSLR and lenses are packed and ready to go!

  7. Despite eager anticipation to visit Hampton Court this week, sadly I’m going on Wednesday so will miss the oranges on your shirt (although should it not be three lions at present?!)
    Enjoy your day and I’ll follow suit!
    The Watch House Garden looks amazing by the way. x

    1. Thanks Ali. Enjoy your visit on Wednesday. I shall give the three lions a miss thank you. I am doing everything in my power to avoid the football at the moment, but failing miserably. I picked Germany in the department sweepstake so I am out already. I was allowed to redraw and got Belgium, so now I’m feeling very conflicted!

  8. I will be there on Tuesday (and Wednesday and Thursday!) in the Floral Marquee on Avon Bulbs stand – hope you’ll have time to come and say hi Dan x

    1. Certainly will. I love Avon Bulbs’ stand. They always stage a fantastic exhibit and I know I’ll want everything on it. Hope it doesn’t get too muggy in the floral marquee. Stay hydrated! Dan

  9. Lovely post! I can’t imagine your garden if it takes three hours to water it. That said, I only do one or two plants + the containers on a rotating basis.

    I hope the heat won’t get to you this week.

    1. Me too. It was very warm again last night. I just lay on the top of the bed like a giant starfish. Mustn’t complain as I’d be really hacked off if it were raining for Hampton Court. This way I’ll be able to top up my tan whilst judging!

  10. Ha! Appreciate the chuckles and hilarious descriptions of irritable families and your visitors happening upon you soaking your air plants. I don’t know exactly know what Y fronts are, but I think I get the idea. Your property covered in plants/flowers is stunning. It is very apparent that such beauty does not come without the knowledge and dedication you have. 3 hours to water? Wow. That alone is inspiring. Lucky plants to have such care! Hopefully, as much as possible, you get to enjoy and just be with the beauty you nurture.

    1. I very rarely get to sit down and enjoy the garden from that position unfortunately, but I am quite happy pottering around. It’s the only exercise I get all week so I value all the watering can lifting, hose dragging and compost lugging.

      P.S. Y Fronts are a particularly robust form of men’s undergarment – usually white.

      Have a brilliant week. Dan

  11. I did notice your absence, Dan and it’s little wonder that you haven’t had time to post with three hours of watering a day. Well the gardens are looking so splendid, it’s all worth it. I loved reading about the families coming back to the car from the beach. Entertainment while you water. Who needs TV? I look forward to your reports from Hampton Court Palace.

    1. That’s not the kind of TV I like to watch Jane. I did have a little chuckle last night when I heard a couple screaming at each other in the street – this time about how to parallel park a car … or not to in this case.

      A combination of work and gardening has prevented me from posting as much as I’d like, plus I’ve also been doing more on Instagram and learning how to make little films. I’ll be back to a full service soon! Dan

  12. That is a lot more plants that I can not identify than I have seen in a long time! I expect to see a few that are unfamiliar, but most of yours are.

    1. I do like to surround myself with weird and wonderful plants. They are all being very pampered by the lovely weather and copious watering. When the wind and rain return everything will be flattened as it’s grown up so ‘soft’. Planning to write a post soon introducing some of the less usual plants and I will be updating my plant list. Dan

  13. Your garden is gorgeous Dan as are the photos – so clear and sharp. And I did have a chuckle over the argumentative families. Hot and tired kids and parents who may have had too much alcohol do not bode well. Stay calm and cool and have fun at HC xx

    1. Thank you, I did have a lovely time at HC, but it was awfully warm. I can’t imagine what state the show will be in by the weekend. The grass was already turning to dust on Tuesday.

      I think you get a slightly better class of tourist in Cornwall. Ours are mainly day trippers and they do occasionally outstay their welcome!

      1. Haha… we went to a local supermarket this evening and I think we were the only English speaking couple in there!

  14. Beautiful pictures of a most beautiful(ly kept) garden – as usual. Really stunning, I especially love the leaf-y ones. And I envy you that cloud of Trachelospermum 🙂 ! As for the post itself: like most people commenting above, I nodded in recognition at almost every sentence – including, I have to admit, at the quarrelling bit: guilty as charged, though not in Broadstairs. Hope you had a great time at Hampton Court. Enjoy the sunshine and your garden whilst watering! To me, those hours are the best therapy possible, especially after a day dealing with whinging/ fighting/ kicking/ moaning kids…

    1. Yes, I enjoy watering. I might even be at it at midnight as I’m getting home late tonight. The garden is starting to look great and it smells even better, but it’s very, very full with plants that mostly haven’t encountered a spot of rain for 2 months. So if the weather turns I am wondering how it will cope.

  15. Oh Dan, you have me laughing hard here!😁
    I’m imagining a speaker hidden among the plants on your wall and you being the voice of God when the family squabbles get irritating. Could be very entertaining!😂

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