This blog tracks the ongoing changes of my garden, and the wildlife I try to attract to it. It's a nature blog. It contains my thoughts and musings about anything and everything to do with nature - gardening, book reviews, philosophy, travel, science, history, art, design, politics. Catmint is my signature plant because it has all the qualities I value in a plant: resilience, beauty and the capacity to spread prolifically . Unfortunately it's not indigenous. If I was starting again I'd probably choose an indigenous plant.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
xtreme heat alert
Melbourne is experiencing a heat wave which is the worst since 1908. Today the temperature was 44 degrees centigrade - for you Americans this is over 110 degrees fahrenheit!!!!!!!!!! And this searing heat, accompanied by hot sun and hot winds goes on and on. This is the fourth day, with no end in sight. Maybe in a few days the temperature might drop to the 30s, but there is no serious rain forecasted.
The problems caused by this heat wave include electricity blackouts, public transport cancellations, the danger of heat stroke especially in the very young and very old and bushfires. But this blog is about my garden experiences, so I will focus on that.
It's a shocking picture. I can focus on the glass half full - there are some survivors so far. Established Australian native trees such as Leptospermum - tea trees seem OK, they are in shade and near the neighbour who waters so they might be cunningly stretching their roots under the fence. But even the buddleia and salvias that I thought indestructible are succumbing. Things that have at least some shade during the day have better odds for survival. Lavenders, santolina, wormwood and other grey leaved plants seem OK. As do the grassy lomandras, the baby Alogyne heuglii and the Adenanthos sericea or red Flowering Albany Woollybush.
But this crisis is far from over. When it is over, if I have the energy to continue the garden, I will have changed dramatically. No more relaxed experimentation. I will give serious thought to serious mulching and probably just grow things like fig trees and succulents. Although EVERYTHING needs moisture to get established. The banksia roses seem OK, except one that was only planted a couple of years ago, which is wilting fast.