Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Surviving a scorcher

There's such a huge difference between the weather merely being hot and life-threateningly scorching. Everyone here in Sydney experienced the scorched side of far-too-hot last Sunday. Here in Marrickville, it got up to 40°C, or 104°F in the old money, and I'm close to the coast, so it was a lot hotter than that in the suburbs further inland. It was hard to cope with. Walk outside for a few minutes and you started to wilt, just like the plants.

For what it's worth, proof. Of course we knew it was coming, so I was out early in the garden protecting what I thought were the vulnerable ones.

Most vulnerable, the goldfish! A hastily erected shadecloth tent.

Unconcerned as ever, greedy as ever for a sprinkle of food, the comets kept on circulating all day.

My supposedly 'cool climate' tomatoes must have thought they'd been transferred to Namibia, and so they got their own little shadecloth tent.

These are the chubby little 'Beaver Lodge Slicers' under that tent, Canadian tomatoes who had been enjoying a holiday in Australia, suddenly regretting their tour Down Under. They came through it all OK.

Across the path, this hastily erected structure, which I dubbed the 'Sarah Palin Room', houses my other cool-climate tomatoes, the 'Alaska' variety. Marvellous use of orchid stakes and bulldog paper clips from the home office under pressure, I must say!

Underneath the shadecloth shroud, the Alaskans were undoubtedly muttering recriminations to themselves about who booked the passage to Australia, but they survived.

Elsewhere in the Scorcho-Dome, the cumquat tree received special treatment, mainly because a good friend Michelle, whose cumquat plant I baby-sat for several months recently, had told me about the awful 40°C day a few years ago when her potted cumquat almost went to heaven. Panic-struck, I decided my baby citrus, right now in the bloom of youth, was going to avoid that fate, and it did. Breezed through it all in fact. Seemed like an over-reaction, actually. That's always the problem with people/critters/plants which survive due to good planning. Did they really need all that fuss in the first place? Next year, complacency!

Alas, there was one victim. Ringo. Not discovered on the day, or even the day after. But on the day after that, my usual greedy quartet of goldfish who appear like lightning at the first sprinkle of goldfish food – John, Paul, George and Ringo – well, they lacked the usual rhythm. The drums were silent. Ringo hadn't made it.

RIP Ringo, it was all my fault, somehow. Sorry old chum. It was a beastly day. I tried my best, but nature is like that. Beautiful, then vicious, then beautiful again.


Evelyn Howard said...

Gosh, that must have been a busy day for you! Poor Ringo.

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prue said...

I think there are more days of that to come! In Adelaide Mum has been struggling to keep her garden alive in the 43 degree weather. Here the warm was difficult but luckily ended in rain. Still it's not even summer yet ... Am considering putting up shade cloth on the scorchers, and then wait for the wrath of the body corporate (I spied one other apartment with a permanent bamboo shade fixture so I guess they aren't too picky) Poor Ringo, will you get a replacement?

Jamie said...

Yep, poor old Ringo. I have a sneaking suspicion that goldfish are racists, as the other three, who are all-gold and almost identical, always seemed to be chasing speckled Ringo around the pond. So I don't think I'll get a replacement just yet. I'll just stick with my little rednecks and see how they go.

Lanie said...

Poor little Ringo. The weather is apparently hotting up again in the next couple of days. It's hard on the little vegie seedlings (and on my bamboo that was just transplanted). Cheers.