Like a beautiful new rose bud 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 has been a massive number of 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 though, and what is uplifting to see and read are all the wonderful stories of the spirit and community of those impacted by the devastation of the fires. Stories of the skill, bravery, selflessness of the firefighters and the emergency services. People coming together to help in a myriad of ways who demonstrate the Australian strength of character and show our huge capacity to recover from traumatic events and to bounce back as a nation. Our community spirit is inexhaustible and the volunteers truly amazing in their dedication to do 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 a heart it is back to the garden for now 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?
The old 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 manner of watering will prevent scorched leaves and browned edges on some plants. Recently I found despite my vigilance that some of my roses were brown, crisp, and yellowed on the edges.
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 doneRalph Waldo Emerson
If seaweed solution has been used frequently then it will help the roses withstand heat damage. This may be the reason why in my garden I found some of the roses are undamaged 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 yearPatience Strong
Plant Protection from Heat & Sun
So once watered the only other way to protect roses from heat is to provide shade and to mulch. Shade can be partial from other plants or trees or a simple temporary use of umbrellas or shade cloth erected to keep some of 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. As an 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 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