Cover ups

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel sure that this summer has had more excessively hot days than previous summers. To swelter in temperatures around 33 or more degrees is not my idea of a lovely day, and there have been times when the only cool place at home has been in the garage. The southeaster has not yet done with us, and its cooling breeze has brought relief from time to time, but it takes only a few bushes to make a windbreak and the intense heat bakes into the ground. Again this year, many plants have succumbed to the heat – it’s not easy to keep the sandy, oily soil damp, and despite daily watering, it takes only one day of adventuring beyond the garden gate for the roots to give up the struggle. We are now in March and there seems no end to the high temperatures.

All this whinging is purely personal, as I am not able to copy well with the heat, and all around me others are revelling in beach days and sunshine, and I know that winter will come in good time as always. Having a blog helps me keep track of the seasons as they repeat themselves, and nothing really changes despite warnings of man-made climate change and temperatures rising along with sea levels. Will this ever be proved correct? I think it relates to activity on the Sun, with cycles that cause greater flares and solar winds directed at us, followed by periods of inactivity. Hence many ice ages. We won’t be here long enough to actually ever know, and so we have to do what species do best – adapt or die.

The best way to adapt in the garden is to give up all ideas of beds of roses and delicate bedding plants providing splashes of brilliant colour around a manicured lawn. For me, if it grows, leave it. This means that most of my trees have been seeded by bird droppings containing seeds of the berries they eat, and all of the coprosmas that have provided shade for the last 30 or more years grew fortuitously in the right places. Their limited lifespan has now drawn to a close and no new ones have risen to take their place except in pot plants, and transplanting has been unsuccessful. As the trees die and the last leaves fall, leaving interestingly shaped but quite fragile skeletons, I have placed large pots with profusely flowering creepers underneath them. This has created bowers of shade to sustain the clivias and bromeliads which hate direct sun while bringing colour to the garden without having to plant annuals. Carpenter bees have inhabited the oldest tree trunks, burrowing deep and throwing out vast quantities of sawdust. The weight of the creepers then causes the branches to snap and the whole lot lands in a heap of intertwined wood and tendrils (often helped along by a baboon or two taking a shortcut through the garden). These events necessitate ongoing re-landscaping to hide the ugly neighbouring walls. Perhaps I should just paint murals.

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