We're living through the last glorious days of summer. Like a misbehaving guest who arrived embarrassingly late to the party, it now refuses to leave, trying to make up for the mistake by showing just how charming it can be... It has been hot and balmy, with temperatures raising over 80/25 degrees for days; I find it difficult to fathom that autumn with its ubiquitous rainproof jackets is lurching just around the corner.
The sky is bright and high, and lawns start to turn brown. This August, Seattle got only 0.13 inches/0.33 cm of rain, and September still hasn't seen its first drops. Surprisingly, nature here does not seem to be especially bothered by the lack of water. Due to the cold and wet spring, trees and shrubs carry a heavy coat of greenery, but despite all dry days, they still look great, showing no stress or signs of thirst at least by the coast. I'm not sure how they manage, but maybe they just are used to this yearly cycle of wet and dry, as most of the rain Seattle is so famous for really only falls between the months of October and May.
There are no water restrictions, so I've been watering my garden, even if most of it would probably do quite well without my help. In the front garden, a fraction of which is pictured above, long drifts of Spanish lavender alternate with Sedums which are now in full bloom. Both species mingle with five large stone boulders, groups of evergreens like dwarf English laurels, burning bushes (Euonymus alatus) and five Magnolia grandifloras, just to mention a few. This autumn, I'm thinking of adding some Alliums to send up their little fireworks between the dwarf laurels next spring.
The western side of the front garden needs some work, too. The skeleton is fine, with burning bushes, dark purple smoke bushes and groupings of Viburnum davidii forming soft mounds, all of which are amazingly drought tolerant and hardy. But then, several azaleas were planted in this area, which is completely insane as it faces full west, with no shade during the whole day. Quite expected, many of them have died, leaving screaming cavities behind. I've always found this planting too shrubby, so now I can soften it up and breathe some life and movement into this area. I've been looking at tall grasses, like Stipa giganteas or Molinia caeruleas, to be planted plant in large wavy bands between the shrubs. Then, I'm thinking of adding some spiky perennials like Perowskias and Agastaches, and accent bulbs, maybe Alliums or even Eremurus between the grasses and lower shrubs. We'll see. But until any work can be done, the rains need to start, so it seems that I still have some time for planning...