“Success and failure, triumph and disaster. That is the rhythm of life in the garden.”

As a beautiful new rosebud, the new decade begins. But it is a sombre morning today to wake to the shock of the plight of thousands of people in bushfire regions of Australia who are stranded and frightened on the South Coast of NSW and Victoria. It is hard to be cheerful when so many people are in such dire situations across the country. There have been many properties burnt down in the ravage of intense fire conditions and tragically many lives lost as well in recent days. A terribly sad way to start what should have been a wonderful celebration for the New Year of 2020.

Australia is a resilient country, and what is uplifting to see and read are all the wonderful stories of the spirit and community of those impacted by recent fires. Stories of the skill, bravery, selflessness of the firefighters and the emergency services. People coming together to help in a myriad of ways demonstrate the Australian strength of character and show our huge capacity to recover from traumatic events and bounce back as a nation. Our community spirit is inexhaustible, and the volunteers truly amazing in their dedication, doing everything they can to save lives and property. This is uplifting and very inspiring.

This morning I read a message from my brother saying “let us hope the year ahead is less flame and more rain”. Perfect I thought, that is all we want and all we need – Rain across the country and lots of it.

For each thorn, there’s a rosebud..For each twilight -a dawn..For each trial- the strength to carry on..For each storm cloud – a rainbow..For each shadow – the sun..For each parting – sweet memories when sorrow done.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

With heavy heart, I return to the garden to see what will survive as the heat and drought are expected to continue in regional Australia for the present. More high temperatures are due to follow so the question for me is what do we do in our gardens with roses or other plants that have burnt, brown foliage?

he adage ‘PREVENTION is better than cure’ is pertinent here. So water, water, water, effectively and well to prevent sunburn on roses and plants. However, when temperatures soar and high winds abate, no watering amount will prevent scorched leaves and browned edges on some plants. I recently found that some of my roses were brown, crisp, and yellowed on the edges despite my vigilance. 

It is an experiment and I’m no expert but this is what I’ve done to combat the damage of heat and too much strong sunlight. I gave the plants a thorough soaking and continued to water 2-3 times a day to really hydrate the soil. I made the decision not to remove the burnt leaves because I thought they would give the rose bush protection if the heat continued. Within 2 days the rose looked supple again, greener and new growth began to sprout. Time will tell. I am more aware now of heat radiating off walls and structures not just from the sun’s rays directly and I will provide more protection where I can in future.

Once water has hydrated the soil then I suggest to mulch the ground carefully again.

For each thorn, there’s a rosebud…For each twilight -a dawn..For each trial- the strength to carry on… For each storm cloud – a rainbow…. For each shadow – the sun..For each parting – sweet memories when sorrow done

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If eco seaweed solution has been used frequently, then it will help the roses withstand heat damage. This may be why I found some of the roses are undamaged in my garden but not all because some have not had regular eco seaweed, unfortunately. It does make a difference to the heat tolerance of your plants.

There unwilling dies the rose; buds the new another year

Patience Strong

Plant Protection from Heat & Sun

Once watered, the only other way to protect roses from heat is to provide shade and mulch. Shade can be partial from other plants or nearby trees or the temporary use of shade umbrellas or cloth to keep the sun off the plants. 

Mulching the garden will help keep moisture in the soil and keep it cooler. Check the rose bushes to see if radiant heat is being reflected from walls or any other structures nearby that may increase the heat, especially metal. For example, this English garden pictured below if it was a garden in Australia with our high temperatures this year, the stone, brick or concrete wall could increase the temperature enough to burn the plants. Likewise, if you have metal solid fences or gates, metal struts or frames that touch the rose plants, the high temperatures will make them very hot and can burn the plants easily. Food for thought and worth checking. Good luck gardening for the rest of the summer and I hope all your plants survive.

Header image by Warren Hinder 2019 Katoomba NSW

All other images courtesy of Unsplash

Title quote from The Glory of the Garden by Patience Strong

All content by Di Baker 2020 All rights reserved

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