Sunday, February 1, 2009

Heatwave Expectations Askew

The cool change has arrived, and when I say cool change, I mean slightly less maddeningly hot change (from a record breaking top of 45.1 to a positively pleasant-by-comparison 27). Thanks to everyone for their kind words, reassurance and advice during this difficult gardening time (it's a time when ineptness can seem overwhelming, water restrictions are very difficult to navigate when you can see plants dying in a matter of minutes in front of your eyes.) Melbourne (and Adelaide and all of this region) has sweltered, power has gone out, transport in chaos. Those events, given the heat, were kind of to be expected. Another sad yet seemingly inevitable occurrence are the bush fires that come with the heat, and the arsonists of summer. To think a fire that claimed 20 homes could have been deliberately lit ... it's as close to anger as I can muster at present.

Yet other expectations, of total carnage in the garden, and conversely the survival of my hardier plants were not so easily met.

* Succulents, hardy, unbreakable, warm-climate ready individuals? Not so, as they all wilted in the intense heat. Granted they were not as shaded as their vegetable friends, but they have been the most affected negatively by this unprecedented heatwave

* Tomatoes, as far as I have read and been told, only fruit and flower in the narrowest range of temperatures (and 45.1 is well beyond this) Still my mutant balcony tomatoes have defied this, with blossoms AND new fruit appearing in spite of the intense heat.

* So too my darling lemon tree continues to fill the balcony with lovely citrus bloom smells

* Sprouts of beetroot, leeks and welsh onions are defying the odds and breaking through the soil

So it's certainly not all bad. Yes the heat has been terrible, unbearable even, it was a permanent outdoor sauna here for nigh on 3 days, and the city is going to take a while to recover. With the current bushfires there are still threats to our power supply (and more maddeningly other people's homes). In times like these isn't it better to look, though mind not to be blinded, but simply to look to the positives for reassurance and hope.

Oh and the tomato haul quadrupled!


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I heard on the evening news about the fires you are having. As if it isn't hot enough.Poor fire fighters trying to stop a fire in that heat. Stay safe and cool.

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

Ugh. What is wrong with people? Every wildfire season here in Southern California arsonists start fires that inevitably destroy people's homes as well.