Outside the Backdoor

Observing what can happen in your own garden even in suburbia!

The burnt garden

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Confession time – I didn’t believe the weather forecasters when they predicted this summer’s heatwave … to my cost.  We headed off for almost two weeks holiday just as the bright yellow, glowing sunshine symbol was starting to wink away on the BBC weather app.  I didn’t entirely ignore the warnings as I did leave watering instructions for my cat-sitter but, unfortunately, I was far too focused on whether it was going to be 8 degrees or 18 in Iceland – it turned out to be both!  More of which another time.  However, there I was on a grey, slightly damp day in the East Fjords when a text pinged through.  London temperatures had soared, plants were scorching and it was clear that troops needed to be mustered if we were to return to anything alive.  Thank heavens for the wonders of hotel wifi and neighbours who responded admirably to my email pleading for help!  However, it was still a shock when we returned home to sights such as this!

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This acuba started off life as a cutting from my mother’s garden.  Interestingly, in one previous hot summer, I remember her showing me the scorched leaves and us wondering if they really could just have been burnt by the sun.  This one is planted in full sun whilst its sibling is in a much shadier area and still has lovely shiny green leaves.  Neither wilt or show any other signs of stress, just these unsightly burnt areas on leaves that were in direct sun.

The bay tree in the front garden is another disaster area.

It’s in a large pot and, nestled up by the hedge, it is both sheltered but also easily forgotten if you don’t know it’s there.  The front garden faces west and consequently receives the full blast of the sun’s setting rays.  When the weather finally gets cool enough, clearly  we will need to give it a short back and sides.  Fortunately we have a second bay in a pot outside the back door which is in better shape should the need for bay arise, although curiously I do think of bay as being a winter herb when it comes to cooking.

There were also some scorched surprises.  I automatically think of dahlias as hot weather plants but it would seem that they too have their limits.  I fear that this Veronne’s Obsidian may not perform at its best this year.

My phlox was a brighter story but, look beneath the purple spray and, yes, there’s plenty of dead, drought ridden growth lurking there too.

But the plant that is worrying me most is our birch tree.  Regular readers will recall the sad tale of my flowering cherry tree, well the birch is right next door to it.  I have known it turn gold early and start dropping leaves when we’ve had previous dry summers but, as you can imagine, this time I am worried.  It has a number of dead branches on one side and the leaves were falling in their hundreds.  I’ve soaked a wide area where I believe its roots to be and I’ve mulched it over.  I’ve also called a tree specialist for advice – they are coming next week.  So please, all fingers crossed, I really can’t bear to loose another tree.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The burnt garden

  1. I have similar destruction, and acuba leaves scorched too. Decision – am cutting right down or taking out anything that isn’t able to cope with the heat as watering will become a dreaded chore which surely defeats the point of gardening when it gets beyond a certain pint. Fewer pots too I think. Am interested to see how other people are changing their gardens and what they grow.

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    • Yes, I’ve now removed the scorched leaves and may still cut back further. In terms of watering, I’m trying to be ‘wise’ – we’re on a meter. I’ve sectioned the garden and am dousing on a rotational basis but feel I’m tinkering at the edges really. I have reduced pots over the years and now focus on things like agapanthus that like the heat.

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  2. It’s really hard to see this, isn’t it? There are a few trees around us that are looking as though they are struggling now. It sounds like you are doing all the right things…

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    • Yes, it certainly is – not restful, stress-free gardening at all! My tree experts came this week to view the birch and advised to water far more than any of us would ever imagine so now all my neighbours will think I’m watering the grass!

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