There’s no doubt that many herbaceous perennials are suffering in this hot dry spell, and although I try to keep watering anything that I have planted this year, those longer established plants just have to survive on their own reserves.
However, in the shrub category, there are one or two which seem positively to thrive, to glow even: the most obvious in our garden being the not-so-often-encountered Itea ilicifolia. This hardy evergreen shrub has fresh, mid-green, holly-shaped leaves, and right now it is covered in cool lime-green icicles … exceptionally long and graceful summer catkins which will flower right through to the autumn.
Ours is growing against a west facing wall because that was the recommendation when we bought it; but it can do well as a stand-alone shrub, and will also tolerate a certain amount of shade. It is easy to grow and eventually tall (3 m plus). Happy to be pruned in the spring if it outgrows its allotted space, it is one of those shrubs that adapts and intermingles without too much intervention and will soon reward you with a cool summer waterfall which is something we could all do with right now!