I have not had the heart to post photos of the garden during the height of the drought because it looks so dreadful and burned out, but two days ago the heavens opened and we had a decent rainstorm and temperatures fell by 10C. The plants have immediately showed signs of responding to the rain and it is interesting log which plants did well and which disappointed during this extreme period of hot weather.
Of course these plants each have their own survival mechanism and some looked pretty dreadful - e.g. the phlomis turned into a bundle of dry twigs; cistus went brown and curled up their leaves and looked almost dead, the medicago dropped all its leaves. But already there are new shoots on the phlomis, the cistus has become green again and small points of new green growh on the medicago.
Some plants showed stress in certain locations in the garden but in other places needed no water at all:
ViburnumLocation differences were affected by the amount of sun/shade and soil type: where the soil is heavy clay after a period of drought the ground became so dessicated that great fissures opened up and exposed the roots of nearby plants - instant disaster. Gravel mulch helped quite a lot but not completely.
The China roses have survived but look terrible having shed most of their leaves and gone into a state of 'estivation' despite my watering them once every 10-15 days. I can see some new red shoots springing from the base of Louis XIV already after such a short time but we will have to wait until spring to know what the real damage has been.
Now hoping for a wet winter.