Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Summer Heat getting to me

Summer is getting intense! We have had days of nonstop high temperatures and I can’t protect my garden from it. It has been close to 40 degrees here with no letting up. In the early mornings I take this time to water as much as I can as well as early evening – I’m watering twice a day! But the damage is done…. I am devastated by the damage to my huge conifer tree (I don’t know what this type of tree is called). It looks like it has been burnt! And the protea bush next to it looks like it has some kind of disease. All my delicate plants have withered and died and I’m trying to rescue what I can, but watering is not always helping.

[one_half]I am overwhelmed by this heat – so destructive[/one_half]

[one_half_last]It started with this one branch – is it the heat?[/one_half_last]

This was once a beautiful, lush green conifer tree – now it is destroyed beyond repair. It happened instantly – within a week it just seemed to have died! I’m shattered.

The rest of the garden is looking untended, overgrown and debris that needs to be cleared and weeds that have popped up overnight! It is just too hot to do anything in the garden. I am grabbing all the edibles and storing them – well, what I can anyway! I am sad to show you all the ruined plants… some might bounce back, but I think some won’t!

[one_half]The Fuchsia needs cutting back[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Some of the grasses are patchy[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sunflowers are spent – need to harvest the seeds[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My stevia wilted but might just bounce back[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Totally upset with my barrel flowers – all dead![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Even the waterwise plants can’t take the heat[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Fruit trees are struggling – my poor apple trees[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My strawberries are holding up, but just barely[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Roses need deadheading and cleaning up[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Even in the shade there is no escape! My evening primrose struggling[/one_half_last]

This is the toughest thing I have had to experience as a gardener. It is soul destroying, but everything has a season and we have no control of the elements. I take my hat off to you all in the northern hemisphere during the harsh winter days. Now I know what it feels like.

Oh well, I should be looking forward to the autumn and cooler weather and the ability to start afresh.

Happy gardening xxxxx

By Barbara

Country living is the best! Being a true spirit of the earth, my garden is all about vegetables and fruit trees and herbs and chickens roaming free. I was keen to really start gardening when we moved to Philadelphia in 2005, but not your typical suburban-type garden – sterile and bug-free! I wanted an edible garden.

21 replies on “Summer Heat getting to me”

This is so sad to see. I can see why you described it as ‘soul destroying.’ We are having such a warm winter, like none before. This will affect our gardens without snow cover. The lack of snow also reduces water to plants and ground supplies. It is scary to think this is a forward trend.

Sorry to hear about the heat/drought. I hope you get some relief soon! Your garden is so lovely–I imagine it will bounce right back with some milder temps and rainfall. Take care of yourself, too!

Barbie I have had summers like this…that was why I went to more natives since they can withstand the harsh elements…here’s hoping some will bounce back as the cooler weather sets in soon I hope for you…send some of that heat this way would you 🙂

The southern US had similar issues during our summer season… but it was followed up by the nicest winter on record. I hope hope hope you have the same, and soon. (and yes, I’d forgotten about the fact that I had to water twice a day to keep things alive…ugh)

Please update us on the big cedar looking tree… that would be a shame if it didn’t recover.

Where I live, July is the month with high temperatures and little rain. However, I’ve never experienced that much damage. We are having an extremely mild winter. I do not know if that means we are in store for a hot summer like yours. With all the change swirling around me, I would like some consistency somewhere. My garden provides that, usually. I feel your pain.

I’m so sorry for your distress. It really can be devastating emotionally to watch your garden suffer so. From my own experience with our drought and extreme high temperatures of 2011, I’ve been amazed at what has recovered during our mild winter. I hope you too find the same resilience in many of your plants as autumn approaches. Hang in there.

I am so sorry. How discouraging. And this is totally out of your control. I hope the heat subsides for you soon, and that the rest of your plants get a break before it does any more damage.

Bernie – we don’t have the humidity. Maybe Barbara gets more than us, as she might catch the edge of sea fog? One of our Piketberg gardeners warned against using white quartz as a mulch, the sunlight and heat get reflected onto the longsuffering plants. I feel sadly as if we are watching global weirding nibbling away at the edges of the fynbos. Up the mountain, or into the sea. And the farmers must be feeling changes in their harvests.

I’m using this time to patrol the garden and see what has to go, and what can be spread around. Going to be planting lots of cuttings from our spekboom!!

Apparently Spekboom is one of the best plants for taking in CO2 and acting as a carbon sink. I was told this by a horticulturist. But then I read elsewhere that there are many plants that are effective carbon sinks. Then, yet again, it apparently will do well in harsh conditions such as ours. I Googled it and found lots of images.

You should see if you can get hold of some mycorrhizal cultures for your garden – those plant/fungi symbioses really help with drought tolerance – conifers especially so. 🙂

Barbara, I feel your pain. We get a taste of that most summers. About the conifer (Thuja I think) — it’s sometimes hard to tell. That one branch may have died from something else (insect, disease), but if the rest of it is browning from the tips back (instead of the whole branch at once) then that probably is heat damage. I only have one conifer that shows drought/heat damage so I don’t have too much experience.

With such a substantial feature in your garden, you should probably call an arborist to check it out. They may just say “needs more water!”, but at least you won’t be guessing. You don’t want to lose that plant!

Oh Alan – thanks so much for your advice. I really needed to know that this tree could be saved. I have to get someone to advise – I think that branch was already going before the heat arrived. If it is an insect then maybe it can be saved!!
Will keep you posted!

Sorry to see the damage that’s resulted from the fierce sun and heat. It looks very much like the summers we experience here. Right now most days the mercury reaches the mid to high 30s (C) and the humidity levels are excruciating. This is all quite normal for us though and I always marvel at how well the plants come through it all in the end, even though they look so bad for so long. Fingers crossed most of your garden comes through OK!

Aw, that’s really sad 🙁

Are you sure your conifer didn’t have the aphid disease?

With the heat – can you get your hands on any shredded office paper (white)? If you place that round the base of the watered plants and wet the paper too, it may just help. (the white is more effective in repelling the suns rays, than the dark earth. I have done this on my town veggie patch and it seems to have helped. I just look at it and tell myself that is snowing in Cape Town LOL

I am not sure – it could be aphid disease. I’ll have to Google it!

Thanks for this amazing tip! And so simple. Can I use newspaper instead?? I have loads of this! 🙂

Comments are closed.