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I love a sunburnt country...but I wish it would rain

2 Mar 2018 9:35 PM | HEATHER MILES (Administrator)

Here's an article I recently wrote for GardenDrum, about the impact of the lack of rain on my garden in the Hunter Valley. Since writing, we've had about 60 mis, and so we'll see what might recover, though I think a few of my long lived plants are gone!

My predominantly native Hunter Valley garden is feeling the pressure of no rain. While it looks quite beautiful in the misty morning, the mist hasn’t translated into rain. And it looks spectacular in a lightning storm, but alas, still no rain!

In the last 12 months, we’ve had less than 80% of the 10 year average and virtually no rain since the end of October. Combined with a long run of very hot days (over 40 degrees) and the garden and landscape are browning off big time. It’s not all that pleasant walking on crunchy grass!

My rural garden generally survives on just rainfall, with very occasional watering, but given the water tanks are so low, hand watering is not an option. 

 All this means that while some plants in the garden are thriving, other areas are looking very ratty indeed with a few of the long-established trees and plants going to the big mulch pit in the sky.

Microclimates of course are a critical element of what survives and doesn’t. In my predominantly clay soil on the top of a hill, those areas with a touch of moisture are in reasonable shape, but in other areas with full sun and no water flow, the ‘soil’, if we can call it that, has gone rock hard.

So what’s going well and what’s not?

The callistemon don’t realise there’s a water shortage. Callistemon ‘Little John’ is looking fabulous and putting out a flush of brilliant red colour and dense grey-green foliage. Ditto with Callistemon citrinus ‘Endeavour’, with its vibrant red flowers and vigorous growth. A hedge of these in flower look wonderful brightening up the otherwise grey-green (and brown!) look of the garden.

To read the full article and see what's died (!@#$%), click here:

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