The BBC weather person reading the forecast just before the R4 news at six sounded as if they were commiserating with us as they warned it would not be so warm for the rest of the week, although they did admit that the rain would be welcome to gardeners. You bet. The Met Office forecast is for about ten hours of heavy rain, lasting all Tuesday evening and into the small hours of Wednesday. After seeing that I decided not to continue watering the parched borders in the back garden this morning as originally planned. Thundery showers can so easily pass us by, and today's did except for the briefest downpour after lunch, but even the Clacton coastal strip shouldn't be able to miss a band of rain so large it is expected to take all night to move through. But please let it be cooler, or at least be less sticky, and who are all the people the BBC expects to be sorry if it does cool down? Mad, masochistic people, or people who do not need to go to work, or use public transport, or drive, or move, or do anything? People who are going to remain shut inside their air conditioned houses until it feels fresher outside? There are not many such people. Radio 4 is merely paying heedless lip service to the notion that hot weather is automatically good, less hot weather therefore less good.
The Systems Administrator ground to a halt, heat and humidity being the SA's passport to a headache. The cats didn't do much better and spent the day crashed out, though their gracious response to being petted suggested they didn't have headaches, just a total disinclination to do anything.
I slowly and carefully pulled up weeds from the borders in the back garden, snipped off dead heads, trimmed whiskery shrubs back to their intended clipped outlines with laborious precision, clipped another section of the lawn edges, and wondered how I had managed to achieve quite so little in the course of an entire day. That's the trouble with warm weather. A day in July is worth a morning in September. I suppose some of the day went on watering the pots, which had managed to dry out remarkably given how humid it felt.
The bits of border I tweaked did look remarkably fresher when I'd finished. It's easy for gardens to run out of steam in high and late summer. Easter and the early days of summer can see people rush to garden centres in a fit of post winter gardening enthusiasm, leaving them with gardens that are full of spring and early summering plants with nothing much to follow because they didn't go shopping again in July or August, but maintenance also plays a part. Seed heads (unless they are architectural but foxgloves frankly aren't), withered petals of spent flowers clinging to stems that still have more flowers to open (Hemerocallis, I am thinking of you), weeds that register subliminally even if they aren't glaringly obvious, odd clusters of brown leaves where a summer gale has broken a twig, shrubs that were meant to be clipped to tight shapes gone madly whiskery, all of these things add up to give the garden a tired and dishevelled air. Finding the time to tidy makes the late season flowers look so much better.