Friday, December 30, 2005

"Summertime Blues"

Do I like the summer season? Yes, mostly. I like the sunrises and sunsets, the clear blue of the sky and white clouds in all their variety, the birds that whistle in the early morning and evening, the washing that gets dry in a few minutes, the chance to wear fewer and prettier clothes, the longer days providing more opportunity to be outside, knowing that it won't rain halfway through a picnic or outing, the chance to have meals out on the deck, and lots more ....

.... It's just those days when the temperature rises into the high 30s and the hot winds blow that I don't like. I can keep reasonably cool in the house even though we don't have airconditioning, but I hate what those days do to the garden.

We had a wonderful Spring this year. Our water restrictions have eased although not removed altogether, and many plants flowered longer than usual. As a result I'm only now clearing the gardens of spent plants and renewing the mulch cover to try and retain as much moisture as possible. Sweet Peas, Queen Anne's lace, Californian Poppies, Larkspurs, Pink Evening Primrose and Cornflowers have been pulled out; Penstemons, Aquilegia, Sweet William, Dianthus, Silver Pyrethrum, Calendula and Carnations have been cut back; and Alyssum and Gazanias have either been pulled out, cut back or left to be covered up with mulch.

With temps of 38 degrees forecast for the weekend, Richard and I have been spending a few hours each morning pushing and spreading barrowloads of mulch. I was very pleasantly surprised to see just how much of last year's mulch was still providing a good coverage in some areas. The beds look so much tidier and I'm sure the remaining plants are happy to have their roots kept a little cooler.

Another bed still to be cleared. Posted by Picasa


The heap from the last couple of days waiting to be put through the shredder, maybe this evening when it's cooler.Posted by Picasa


Forest Litter mulch - sticks, twigs, bark, leaves, soil and the odd unrecognisable item. It's coarse enough to allow the water to penetrate easily yet still retain moisture and coolness in the soil. Posted by Picasa


Getting there. Posted by Picasa


Helichrysum - has lovely silver velvety leaves and seems to never need watering. Posted by Picasa


Euphorbia - flowers have lasted for months, changing from bright green to rosy pink. Posted by Picasa


Miscanthus sinensis - one of my very favourite plants. I love grasses and must get lots more as they are so carefree and drought tolerant. Posted by Picasa


Kangaroo Paw - hardy Australian Native plant with flowers in unusual shades of green, yellow, red, pink, and black. Posted by Picasa

20 comments:

Sandy said...

38 degrees is just ridiculous no matter where you live! I can't stand it much past 30. If I had a pool I could but unless there is water to cool you down the heat just wipes me out.

Alice said...

Sandy - spare a thought for Calidore where it's 42 degrees. We rarely get that sort of temp. here. My ideal summer would be mid 20s.

ms*robyn said...

oh I could just cry with what this stinking heat is doing to my garden. I just heard that it will reach the lows 40's on Sunday. I have mulched all autumn and winter but it is just not enough to keep the moisture in to the leaves.
I hate this heat with a passion.

Googs said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog. It's definitly not a good time in the garden, another scorcher tomorrow, no air conditioner here either. Went to the shopping centre today and managed to forget about the heat for a while.

Wendy A said...

You gardeners are a hardy lot. I admire your persistance with the conditions of draught,frost, weeds,disease. I loved the Helichrysum. What stunning foliage. I love grey in the garden.

susan said...

Thanks for the garden pictures! Don't overdo it in the heat. It's not too cold here, freezing at 32F. Wish I could send some to you.

Motherkitty said...

Alice, thanks for your kind comments on my recent post. Thought I would visit and look at your lovely garden. We are thinking of adding various tall grasses around our pool this year as an alternative to fencing or decking. Liked the picture of the grass you posted. Just got our Burbee catalogue in the mail yesterday, so will look at what they are offering, if anything.

I get very confused when you talk about your temperatures because we record in Fahrenheit and you record in Celcius. I was never any good at conversion. I take it 40 degrees C. is VERY HOT.

My sister, who lives in Las Vegas and is a master gardener, and her husband are making a two-week trip to Australia in February. They will be touring all over the Eastern part of your lovely country and I'm sure she will really enjoy the climate (she's a desert rat) and the various plants and gardens. I'm also sure that she will get many good ideas of new plants to put into her yard which is already gorgeous.

Have a wonderful New Year's.

jellyhead said...

Thanks for the photo tour of parts of your garden.
And I can empathise with you about the heat - it's been terrible, hasn't it? (how you get the energy to go out and garden I'll never know!)

Alice said...

Yes, Motherkitty - 40C degrees is 104F degrees - HOT. It's the wind more than the heat that does the damage in the garden.

Jude said...

Love the look of that mulch, Alice. It's interesting to see what people use for mulch, depending on what's available locally. For us it's the sugar-cane tops that are removed before the cane is harvested. Yours looks so much more nutritious.

Kathy said...

motherkitty, you can do temperature conversion in Google. Just type 42C in F and it will tell you "42 degrees Celsius = 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit". Very handy.

Alice said...

Jude - not sure if it's more nutritious, but certainly cheaper at $22 cub. metre. Whenever I see round bales of hay, or especially lucerne, in a paddock I always wish I could take a couple home with me. One bale would mulch a fair few garden beds, I think. Your mulch comes in round bales, doesn't it?

judypatooote said...

Enjoyed your pictures....I too get confused by F degrees and C degrees. It is in the 30's here too, but F, so a bit chilly..... we are expecting snow this evening....it is depressing here in Ohio because the snow is all melted and everything is dead and muddy looking....I will look forward to the snow to cover it up....I still have leaves in my yard from my weeping willow tree, it was late loosing leaves and the snow came, so I guess I will have a big job in Spring..... Well you have a good New Years Eve and Day Alice.........

Shell said...

Oh yes, I know about the heat! Your garden still looks fabulous. Mine is drying up and so many plants have been burnt. Unfortunately, our restrictions change tomorrow to no watering whatsoever, except with a bucket. Great! We really, really need to get a tank.

I love kangaroo paws and yours make a fantastic display.

Happy New Year Alice!

Motherkitty said...

Kathy, thanks so much for the helpful info on how to calculate F and C temp conversions. I will certainly check it out. Isn't Google the greatest thing since sliced white bread?

Calidore said...

NO AIRCONDITIONER!!!! How on earth do you survive? Says Calidore with hers on high...lol. Actually I guess your weather is different to ours - would you like a dust strorm, there seems to be one brewing. Love the photos of the garden, as always, are you sure I can't persuade you to visit and do some gardening for me. It was 26 degrees with a hot northerly at 9 am this morning, so stuff the mulch, I'm staying inside, the garden can fend for itself.

Alice said...

Calidore - I don't think we get it quite as hot here as you do, and I can only remember one dust storm - that was a couple of years ago when most of western NSW blew into the Pacific Ocean, or so it seemed.

I leave windows, doors and curtains open at night and close them first thing in the morning. Last summer we got new insulation in the roof. It's like minced up newspaper and I'm sure it's made a big difference in keeping the house cooler and warmer.

Having a 4 metre wide deck with Colourbond roof the full length of the house on the north-east side keeps the sun off most windows in the summer.

mdferreira said...

Happy new year there Alice

Val said...

Love that grass (Miscanthus sinensis)! Must see if I can find some here in Melbourne.

Alice said...

Val - I'm sure you'll find some Miscanthus sinensis in some of the bigger nurseries or those with a selection of grasses, etc. You could try Lintons at Mt Eliza, Tessalars up in the Dandenongs, or The Diggers Club at Dromana.