It has been very hot here – 32 degrees and wall to wall sunshine. My poor garden has been suffering and it is absurd how helpless that makes me feel. I come home to wilted leaves and bleached flowers and I want to just protect everything from the remorseless glare. My fuscia is dropping unopened flowers; the gladioli have flowered up their stems in a day like a fierce fire work that flares and dies too soon; the vegetables seem to have stopped growing and even the butterflies seem to flop exhausted on the browning budlias.
My only remedy is to water in the evening and to do this ecologically, I use my own bath water. This may sound disgusting, but it is easy to do and the bubble bath and shampoo in the water causes no problems at all to the plants. In fact they like the phosphates dissolved in the water!
After washing, I put a simple electric pump into the bath ( the sort you use to empty paddling pools), connect it to hose, throw the house out of the bathroom window and switch on the power. The pump then empties the bath and the water either goes straight onto the raspberry canes or the hydrangeas at the front , or directly into a water butt at the back, where it is carried in watering cans to the thirsty plants later. This plan means I don’t ever have to feel guilty about using drinking water on a garden. It also means I never get mosquitos in the water butt, as the soap in the water means the larvae cannot hang just below the surface of water and breath.
The good thing about this heat wave is the clarity of the stars at night and as I was admiring the glittering canopy last night I heard rustling behind my vines. I expected to see our regular hedgehog come trundling by, but was astonished to see the unmistakable black and white face of a badger strolling by the flower bed! I was astonished and so pleased to think that my garden now has enough wild places that a badger would come and hunt for slugs and grubs within its confines.
I stood stock still and watched it disappear into a wood pile by the shed. They have poor eye sight and it didn’t see me. They do have a good sense of smell, so maybe the reason it didn’t smell me was the faint smell of lavender bubble bath from the freshly watered vegetable patch!