after the heatwave

After two days of over 40 degrees heat – that’s 104 degrees fahrenheit - we are thankfully experiencing a cool change, although unfortunately without rain. After a careful inspection of the garden, I note that all plants appear to have survived.

There seems to be three categories of heat response in plants:

1. Plants that love that the heat, even the direct hot sun, and today they are thriving and happy in my garden.

2. Plants that are not particularly happy in the heat and sun and today look sullen and wilted, in some cases with burnt leaves. But underneath the top foliage there are tiny green buds just waiting to sprout when the weather is milder. They don’t look great but they will survive.

3. Then there are plants that simply cannot survive without a continual
water supply. There have been plants like this in my garden, but they never survive the tough love treatment they receive.

Sometimes the same plants can be in different categories, depending on how they are suited to their (ever changing) location.

I need to consider whether I want more plants that thrive on heat and direct sun. Plants that do get sunburned and floppy – like wallflowers - are still worth having because of their dreamy soft flowers at other times of the year. But in hot weather they do make the garden look a bit heatstruck and sad.


  1. Glad the weather has cooled down a bit for you. Hopefully you will get rain soon.

  2. I sure hope you all don't have a drought and intense heat again this summer. Your garden looks pretty good to me. A welcome sight on these cold days here in the northern hemisphere. Happy New Year to you.

  3. Gosh, those are some harsh conditions, Catmint! It is hard to know what to plant anymore. We had drought here in TN for a couple of years so planted more xeric plants. Then last year we had record setting rainfall. How to know is the question. I guess just see what survives these wild swings. Natives?

  4. If you hadn't posted about the heat, I'd still be whining and moaning about the protracted cold spell we're having.

    Your pictures and words brought me sharply back to the weeks in summer when we have triple digit temps. I feel much warmer now.

    I hope it rains there soon and here too because rain mediates temperatures both winter and summer.

  5. Hello Catmint,

    Here in the desert, many practice the 80/20 rule, which is planting 80% of your garden with arid-adapted plants that do well in our tough conditions and then plant 20% with plants that you love that need a little more care. I admire how you grow your garden, selecting hardy plants and not 'babying' them along. I do hope you receive some rain.

  6. Your gardens look wonderful even with the heat. Hey, send some of that heat my way will ya? I hope you dont end up in a drought. We had a really bad one here in Georgia and that is something I would not wish on anyone. The Rains finally fell and now we are fine where the water table is concerned. I hope your opossum returns to your box. I have never heard of an opossum box before so that was very interesting...

  7. Hi Catmint,
    Your garden still looks pretty good to me. We have had 2 days over 40 in Western Sydney, but last night - beautiful rain! I wish that for Melbourne as well. Our garden has all Aussie natives (except for Euphorbia Diamond Frost)and some are indigenous to our area, but nothing is watered more than a couple of times a year. Even our tiny lawn ('lawn' should read 'collection of mown weeds')must rely on the heavens to open.

    is reliant on

  8. It is easier to go for the toughies, but our gardening hearts, (mine) makes me plant little darlings which need more then at certain time mother nature can provide. Sometimes it is to dry, sometimes to wet, I had to learn which plants do not collapse in a wet or dry situation. I have now many plants which so far can and have survived dry or wet. With the native plants from the area one generally can not go wrong.
    Planting exotics is a different matter.
    Catmint are you mainly growing natives? You get very high temps in summer, still the garden looks good, you must have planted the right "plants"!

  9. wow, has it been hot over there! Everything still looks like it's chugging away despite the heat!

  10. "Sullen and wilted" - that sounds like me in very hot conditions!

  11. Deborah, the weather here has been pretty changeable here lately. As I type this it is absolutely pouring outside.

    Tina, we have already had bushfires and everyone is quite scared after last year.

    Frances, I have always changed things in the garden as I go - trial and error is my method no matter what the label says.

    Nell, your kind wish for me worked - it's raining. I can't imagine living in your harsh winters. for me snow signifies a holiday.

    Noelle, Thanks for the stimulating and informative comment. I have spent much time thinking about the 80 / 20 rule. I don't think rules are useful, but as a guide that's really something worth thinking about.

    Skeeter, in certain parts of Australia it hasn't rained in years. In fact I noticed a new book called 'Beyond Reasonable Drought!' Glad to hear that rain finally fell in Georgia.

    Re, interesting comment. Certainly natives indigenous to the local area should grow well, but I guess I want to grow non natives as well, as well as natives from other parts of Australia. And I do find that it's not just the type of plant that determines the outcome but the specific location and micro climate it's situated in.

    Titania, I am trying out a mix of natives and exotics because many plants from places such as California and the Canary Islands do really well in our climate. But I am finding that the birds overwhelmingly prefer native plants so I am thinking of going more native for that reason.

    Wendy, yes everything is usually chugging away, always there are some parts of the garden that look great and others look potentially great, or terrible, depending on my state of mind at the time.

    Easy, yes! Advanced empathy between human and plants!

    Cheers, and I SO appreciate all these interesting and stimulating and informative comments!!!!!!!



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