Saturday, November 14, 2009

Some like it hot

There's one sure-fire way to turn me into a lazy lay-about on the weekend, and that's heat, and today there's just the right dose of it – 30°C (86°F). I managed to score one garden brownie point this morning before I wilted - I trimmed the hedge which screens the composting area. But then my inbuilt, generations-old Celtic heat sensors went off and said "it's a wee bit tae hot for thee laddie" and so I have downed tools until late afternoon at the earliest, maybe for the day. And with a cup of tea to cool me, the fan on and a bit of blogging to catch up with, I thought I'd admire some of the plants which, unlike me, actually enjoy the heat on a day like today.

In the background is the crisply trimmed hedge with which I earned my brownie point this morning, and in the foreground is our frangipani, which can take any dose of heat Sydney cares to throw at it. Sydney has the ideal climate for frangis, they're everywhere in this town, and the ones doing best are usually the most neglected. I try my best to neglect mine at all times, so the regime here is simple: no fertiliser, no water except rain. Nothing. It's working so far.

I only planted this zucchini seedling two weeks ago and this morning it's having its first babies. Outrageous behaviour! Zucchinis love sun, but not the humidity that comes later on in January and February, so I am going to let this crop like mad from now until New Year then call it quits. Besides, we're 'zucchinied-out' by then.

My Beaver Lodge Slicer tomatoes are belting along in the heat. These are meant to be rapid-cropping 'cool climate' tomatoes suited to Canada (the seedlings were planted on October 3, six weeks ago). I thought I'd try them as a fast-cropper before all the summer bugs arrive to chomp our tomato crops. So far so good, but I was in roughly the same position last year with other varieties, just weeks before most of my crop succumbed to a mystery disease. Boo hoo! Glutton for both punishment and home-grown tomatoes, I am.

My wife Pammy asked me to repot into a much bigger pot this, her favourite pelargonium with the dark leaves and the salmon-pink flowers, as it is rapidly getting bigger in all the heat and sunshine. The trouble is that I repotted it only a month ago, and that was about a week after she first brought it home. This plant really loves the sun, but something tells me I had better keep this plant happy and healthy at all times, as it is her favourite child.

Our New South Wales Christmas Bush is in full sun-loving 'bloom' right now. In the same way that a bougainvillea's colourful 'flowers' aren't really flowers and are in fact coloured bracts, so too the NSW Christmas Bush. Its flowers are white and small, but the bracts are a ruddy pink, lovely and plentiful. It's a bit early for Christmas, but it always colours up at this time of year for us.

If I'm celebrating sun-lovers I have to slip in at least one succulent photo. Needless to say all my potted succulents are thriving in the sunshine.

Finally, I thought I'd finish off with high hopes for my favourite sun-loving flowers, blue salvias. I've just planted a batch of seedlings a few weeks ago and they're all still small but are growing well, loving the heat and sunshine, as salvias do. As this sparse patch of mulch dotted with tiny seedlings is hardly the prettiest way to end a celebration of sun-lovers, I thought I'd dip into the archives and drag out a couple of shots from last year of what I am hoping for again from my beautiful, sunny salvias.

Essentially this: pleasing light green foliage and spires galore of cool blue flowers.

But get up really close and a salvia blue is as cool and refreshing as an ice-cube.

Speaking of ice-cubes, I think I'll tinkle up something cooler to drink now and sit back in my cane armchair in the shade with a book and do very little for the next few hours, apart from looking up occasionally and watching my garden soak up the sunshine. As far as I am concerned, a garden isn't quite complete without a comfy chair.


patientgardener said...

I love visiting your blog at this time of year as it always looks so sunny and warm and here the wind is blowing and it is pouring with rain.
Very impressed that you considered cutting the hedge in such hot weather

Anonymous said...

Definitely! A comfy chair, an ice cube floating and clinking in a tall glass of refreshment, a shady spot, cool breeze and a good book. Sounds great to me.

One big brownie point for the nicely trimmed hedge. I sooo wish I could grow Frangipani here. Their fragrance is unmatched. So you don't get any frost at all, I take it.

Jamie said...

Actually, Helen, come to think of it. I say hedge trimming in the heat is worth two brownie points!

And Grace, we get no frosts at all here where I am, which is about 9km as the seagull flies from the coast. Although mercifully, we still get the cooling afternoon sea breezes here. Further inland, still in Sydney, some frosts do hit in winter, but frangipanis seem to handle the odd light frost fairly well, provided the day temperatures following the overnight frost aren't too chilly.

Meredith said...

Dear Jamie,

lovely blog! I'll be back.

Jo Burden said...

I have just found your Blog. Love your garden and comments, especially about the heat! like you, I don't cope with it well at all and always dread summer here in Perth, as it gets way too hot for my celtic blood too. I will come back again and again to see what you are up to. Can you tell me what your hedge is? I am considering one for our front entry, which cop's the hot afternoon sun in summer. You can email me if you like
Many happy days gardening. Jo