White echinacea flower - 'Powwow White'.

Longing for a Cool Space.

Last week was a busy one, with the first side of the garden now sporting a smart new fence. The neighbours will be glad that their puppy can no longer escape through the old fence and (possibly) to freedom.

But the increasingly hot weather has made the work harder. For the contractor who is building the new fence, and for me as I clear away the overgrowth of shrubs and ivy.

Temperatures here have been reaching over 30 degrees C. For the UK, that’s very hot. For someone brought up in Scotland, that’s really uncomfortable. And it has made me wish for a bit more shade in the garden.

This place has become more of a suntrap than ever since our neighbours removed a lot of tall trees from their garden. Now the centre of our garden fairly bakes in the sun. So I am wondering what shrubs or small tree(s) I can plant to create a cooler space, but without causing too much shade to other areas.

I find getting a good balance in this kind of planning to be a tricky business. Meanwhile, ‘a green thought in a green shade’ (a phrase from Andrew Marvell’s poem, ‘The Garden’) conjures up enticing images of a soothingly green and leafy space. Though frankly I wouldn’t mind what colour the thought was, so long as it was a cool one!

White echinacea flower - 'Powwow White'.
Fresh whites and greens: Echinacea ‘Powwow White’ stands up well to the summer heat.

17 thoughts on “Longing for a Cool Space.

  1. Love echinacea! When I read about your predicament I immediately imagined an arbour or pergola with a vine growing over it to give you green leafy shade in summer, colour in autumn, and perhaps even some grapes? πŸ™‚

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    1. We actually do have a small arbour with a grapevine growing over it – it’s the only cool place to sit in the garden. (Though there are plants in pots sitting in it just now, so we sit under a market umbrella instead.) But everywhere else here is incredibly hot and really needs some shade. We get some grapes too – and the blackbirds get lots! πŸ™‚

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      1. Hehe! There’s lots, so we’re happy to share – especially with the blackbirds ‘cos they’re one of my favourite birds. The grapes have only become sweet enough to eat in the last couple of years and would probably be better if I learned how to prune the vine. (But the shade is more important!)

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  2. I can so identify with the heat – we are in the middle of our hot summer here too. I have the same problem with getting the correct amount of shade from the right kind of trees. Sounds like you are getting there with your fence though. Love your Powwow White flower – looks like it can handle the heat.

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    1. We’re wishing for rain at the moment because everything is suffering in the garden. (Can’t water it all!) But the white echinacea is doing well – it is being watered because it’s pretty new. πŸ™‚

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  3. A lot of us are longing for cool spaces at this point. That’s why I’m sitting in the air conditioning this morning, catching up with blog posts and sorting images instead of heading outdoors. Shade certainly does make a difference, although trees take time, and the fast growing ones around here are either short-lived or invasive. It’s always something.

    This is an especially pretty echinacea. Combinations of green and white are cooling, at least to me. I’m always amazed by what the plant breeders have come up with.

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    1. I think that air conditioning might be something we need in UK houses in the near future. (It’s usually just offices, hotels etc here.)
      I think it would be interesting to plant up a cool border with whites and blues (and green, of course). It would be lovely to look at right now! πŸ™‚

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  4. Coolness indeed is a much appreciate condition lately. We are about to enter another heat wave (three days in a row over 90Β°F). Seems we’ve had more than the usual number of those this year. And why not? It’s 2020.

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    1. Had to check a conversion table…that’s just a little higher than us. It’s going to continue for the next few days, so I feel sorry for the fencing contractor working out in it! We are steadily getting more hot periods here – I think global warming rather than 2020 – sadly.

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      1. I agree…our planet is getting hotter. Huge chunks of glaciers are falling into the sea on a regular basis. I may own seaside property in the near future. πŸ™‚ There just seem to be a lot of crazy things occuring coincidentally with 2020. πŸ™‚
        I am doing very little outdoor work in the afternoons here. I am trying to be sensible. When I was younger it had little effect on me but that has all changed with the decades.

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      2. It’s scary to see how much of the glacier ice is melting – wouldn’t fancy living too close to see level! I’m trying to avoid some of the hottest weather but that’s difficult at the moment.

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  5. Your echinacea has stood up to the heat better than mine and we’ve averaged 24 degrees for a few days, interspersed with much lower temperatures. A cool green space would have been welcome here on some of our warmer days though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been watering all of the echinacea plants – they were planted last year so probably still getting established. But the future in this garden seems to be going over to as many drought-resistant plants as possible. And creating a shady green (?) space!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our exceedingly high temperatures have ended in thunderstorms – and wonderful rain! Looking forward to a cooler week next week. πŸ™‚

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