Who Gardens In A Summer Heat Wave? | Green Patches - Mediterranean Gardening

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Who Gardens In A Summer Heat Wave?

What a month July has been so far.  We've both been very busy lately with all sorts of things life throws at you from time to time.  Some have been good, some not so good, but to add to the madness of these past three weeks, nature decided to help us out by scorching us with a heat wave that seemed never ending.  Needless to say, tempers were on edge, and it was tough to keep up the momentum when all you want to do is lie down on the sofa with the air conditioner on at full blast.  

My yard was not a happy yard this month.  Temperatures rose to about 36 degrees Celsius (96 F) from 28 degrees almost overnight, and the heat stress index was about 45 degrees (113 F).  My plants joined us in our slumber, and everything stopped growing.  Now that the temperatures are back to normal I decided to go have a look, and maybe do some trimming here and there.  

The plant that got the most damage surprisingly enough was my Jade plant.  I still keep this plant indoors on a windowsill, and now I realise it may not have been such a good idea.  The leaves have started bleaching and going yellowish in colour, despite my watering it regularly.  

jade plant, yellow leaves
Jade Plant Leaves Going Yellow

I have also noticed that some leaves have brown spots on them, or brown edges, like someone concentrated a beam of light on them and burnt them.  It's possible that this is due to the window acting like a lens (does that make sense?).  In any case I have now removed it from the window sill and placed it on a makeshift dining table near the window, that way it will still get the light, but not as direct as it used to.

jade plant leaf
Leaves with brown spots

jade plant, yellow leaves
More brown spots and some 'burnt' edges

Outside in the yard, things are pretty much the same.  The two Kalanchoes are doing very well, and they seemed unaffected by the heat.  I did notice some burnt leaves on the 'Baby Kalanchoe' but nothing too worrying I hope.  It still has lots of healthy new leaves.

kalanchoe marmorata
Mummy Kalanchoe

kalanchoe marmorata
Baby Kalanchoe growing strong

My Plumbago has stopped flowering altogether these past weeks.  Today I trimmed it a bit and removed all the dead flowers.  This week I have a couple of flowers in bloom so it looks like it's waking up from its slumber and back to producing those lovely purple flowers.

Speaking of flowers, there are none on my Kalanchoe yet.  The buds have increased though, but I'm still waiting.

kalanchoe marmorata flowers
Still waiting for those flowers

The biggest tragedy of all this month must be my basil.  I normally sow a pot of basil each year from seed and keep it on our roof so it can get all the sunshine it needs.  It appears however that our sun is a bit too much for the basil, and to add to its misfortune I have not watered it nearly as much as I should have.

basil dried
Basil Tragedy

I have made it my mission to revive this plant.  I have been told to cut it right to the ground and it will revive itself, but I couldn't bring myself to do that.  I'm still very careful with the shears, more than I need to be, but I'm still uncomfortable with just cutting off to my heart's content.  I brought the pot in to the yard, where it will stay for the rest of its days.  I cut off all the dead stems and the flower heads.  Any stems which had green leaves on them I left, and I gave it a bit of water.  

basil dried
Basil in recovery

So there's my Summer update so far.  Not much action, but that's normal for us here.  Hope you are having a more relaxing and cooler Summer, and hope that August does not burn us to a crisp.  Fingers crossed.


  1. Seems excessive, somebody should have turned down the heater! LOL! I am so happy we rarely get up there, where I live, 42C, once, but for 2 days! Luckily most of the plants should bounce back (succulents), I hope. LT

  2. Yipes, you do have the heat! A cool 78° F here today.

  3. The answer to your question... not me! When it get's too hot, I'm done out there.

  4. Today was right at 100 F, and I found myself outside today, planting annuals in our front planter to replace others that had perished in the heat. I hope the new ones don't meet the same fate. I am ever optimistic.

  5. Those big fleshy leaves are full of water. I touched one in high summer and was shocked that the leaf surface was too hot for my hand! Amazing that they can survive the summer heat, must have something like the reverse of anti-freeze in them.

    (Bit late here, my Google Reader got away from me ;~)