This month the garden has had me both giddy with excitement and near sobbing with frustration. I was in Adelaide for the first week of the new year and was thrilled to find everything thriving when I came home, thanks to a particularly wonderful house sitter. I spent a happy week digging up potatoes and beetroots; cutting bouquets of fresh blooms and chamomile; and picking beans, cucumbers, lettuce and strawberries. The tomato plants were heavy with green fruit and my basil and mint were thriving. I’m not going to lie; I was pretty goddamned proud of myself.
But the thing about January is that it gets warm, and in Melbourne this past week it has felt hotter than the surface of the sun. 40°C+ for days on end. It was also, conveniently, the week our garden tap decided to break. Yaysies. So despite me spending the better part of an hour every day sloshing buckets of water from the laundry to the garden in heat-induced hysteria, the garden is looking so hot right now, and that’s not a good thing.
The cool change finally hit last night, so this morning after I roused myself from the mess of empty Zooper Dooper wrappers and melted ice packs on the living room floor, I spent a few hours hacking away the worst of the scorched bits of the garden to give the new growth space to come through. Our garden’s not that large, but I filled an entire wheely bin with dead bits.
The good news is that, while it may take a while for the garden to recover, I think almost everything but my beans and a few potted herbs will survive.
Pre-heatwave garden amazement
First thing I did when I came home to Melbourne was weed the front lawn. It was quite a task.
Camomile flowers picked and laid out for drying to make tea.
…With some left over to brighten up the kitchen.
First beetroots of the season!
Tiny alpine strawberries.
First (and sadly probably last) beans of the season.
First potatoes of the season! These are Dutch cream potatoes, and it was my first time growing them. They taste uh-mazing, and it was heaps of fun digging around in the dirt to find them.
Neon pink roses cut from a little bush growing down the side of the house.
Love in a mist, which I grew from seed in spring, finally flowered!
Post-heatwave – we will rebuild
This. This happened. In four days. I am gutted.
The backyard looking very dry.
Potato grave. Although, potatoes do actually do die off about now, so that’s not really the heatwave’s fault.
The beans were definitely the hardest hit.
Lemon verbena looking a little yellow, but growing steadily, nonetheless.
The nasturtiums weren’t looking so great, but I cut away all the dead bits, and there’s still a bit of life in them yet.
Same goes with the raspberry bush.
Lettuce no.1 freaked out and went to seed. I’ve left it there, in all its phallic glory.
Lettuce no. 2, still doing well.
The beetroots had a lot of dead leaves, but I’ve cut those away.
Strawberries look a little thirsty, but they’re hardy little buggers.
Mint: completely unfased.
In fact, it continues to take over EVERYTHING.
And the basil appears to be thriving, which is a huge victory, considering this is the third lot I’ve had to grow this year after the others got eaten.
But the real success stories are the tomatoes. I’ve had a couple of the tiny berry ones ripen, and they were delicious. It’s hard to see here, but the bushes are full of green fruit. Not long now!
Even the two plants that sprung up from last year’s seed are doing well.
The front yard has seen better days.
The two bushes in front of the pillars were covered in dead flowers. Walking up to the front door was like, ‘Hey, welcome to death.’ So I cut as much of the dead bits off as I could.
Same goes for the hydrangeas.
…And the roses. At the start of the week they were covered in flowers, but they were all brown by this morning.
However, some of the flowers have soldiered on, and they make me so happy with their little ‘f*&k you’ to the sun and all it’s terrible fury.
And that, as they say, is all, folks. Hopefully February will bring many more eats and green treats and the sun will leave Melbourne alone, as it’s want to do 360 days of the year.