Lets face it, this summer is a doozy.
How do you prepare for the unexpected? I have worked outside most of my working life and I have never loved summer. Working in anything over 30 degrees is uncomfortable, saps your energy and leaves you exhausted. Add to that unrelenting wind, little to no rainfall, random violent hail storms, insanely low humidity, crunchy dry air and dense ugly smoke and you get the summer from hell.
The only bonus humans have is we get to go inside at night. Imagine been a plant, not been able to escape the endless awful conditions. The elm forest that surrounds my plot has spent most of the summer raining yellow leaves in an effort to defoliate to assist survival.
We are all starting to get a little frayed around the edges as we get to the pointy end of this summer like no other. Humans and plants (and everything else) have done the hard yards. My phone continues to tease me by saying its going to rain, this week or perhaps next, to no avail. Dam-filling storms have smashed their way through a few spots in the district but the rest of us remain wanting, wishing and waiting for rain that provides relief.
Surprisingly and thankfully, there are a few glimmers of hope and joy among it all.
Gardens can be amazingly tenacious and resilient.
Many plants thrive in these hot, dry conditions and its worth wandering around your garden to see what is managing with this summer and what isnt. It's time for a garden stock take but dont be too brutal; many plants that are not coping will surprise you when the conditions ease and return to their former glory. Proceed with caution, water a little if you can and make up a very diluted Seasol solution and spray directly on their foliage (it works like a tonic for stressed plants).
Crepe myrtles are resplendent this summer. While many of your other plants are showing signs of wear and tear, these little beauties burst into flower. All the shades of purple and pink along with red and white, you are bound to find a colour you love. Crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) in their classic form are green foliaged but some years ago a black foliaged (Diamond in the Dark) variety was developed and its a big hit.
Roses love the dry weather: they have very few fungal problems, require little water and love, love, love hot weather.
Salvias are also in their element; bursting with flowers of all colours, they look lovely in a mixed bed and attract bees and birds.
Many gardeners have added water to their gardens to provide a spot of respite and somewhere for birds, reptiles and animals to quench their thirst. We have a whole family of magpies swimming in the dogs' water bowl and surprisingly, the dogs let them. Everyone seems to have this collective understanding that times are rough so let's just cut some slack. I love it that animals get this.
To cool down my chooks, I have a rosette sprinkler on the netting roof. When I turn it on, every little bird in the garden comes over to twitter, spray and flutter in the sprinkles. So lovely to have happy birds coming and going with the cool spray of water.
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