Miracles do happen as Mirabel Osler once said in the quote above and my garden is testament to this. When I first glimpsed the destruction from the ravage of January this year, I thought I’d never had a bloom on a rose again. I described this my last post ” There is no gardening without humility”. A few weeks later, the garden has taken a turn for the better, and slowly the plants are beginning to recuperate after the dust storms and extreme heat.
The garden’s revival has not come easily and has taken a month of dedicated watering and hours of attention. The burnt dry leaves and bare stalks have sprouted new growth, also aided by eco seaweed and the constant deadheading of old blooms. About thirty rose plants died in this extreme season. If the remaining plants survive I know now, they will be strong and tough, and these are the ones to keep in our climate. The combination of strong winds and dust storms with high temperatures over 45 degrees is miraculous that any have survived.
In the heat, the birdlife was sad to witness with little magpies wandering around the garden with wings outstretched and beaks open panting in the heat. Because the dams were dry, I placed large open vessels of water around the garden, and the birds were as happy and playful as children under the sprinklers on a hot afternoon.
I had never seen how the blackbirds, magpies, kookaburras and rosellas all congregated together around the edge of the water bowls and buckets, all in search of moisture. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a photo as I was loathe to disturb them and opening the back door was enough to scare some away. As many as twenty birds of all types crammed together underneath an old wheelbarrow full of roses for shade and coolness.
When the garden is as dry as it has been, watering keeps the plants alive but does not allow them to thrive. So, the recent rain was met by unimaginable joy in the areas that caught it across Australia. The rain was not just a few drops followed by more dust as we had become accustomed to but soaking rain that flooded the dry earth and sank into the thirsty ground. It was wonderful. We had three or four heavy falls over three days. This is more rain than we have seen in several years. We shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves though, because we still experience dust storms with lighter rain this week. Obviously, some areas have not had rain as yet and areas till very dry.
Title quote by Mirabel Osler in ‘A Gentle Plea for Chaos’
All content and images Di Baker 2020 with the exception of the image below David Klein Unsplash