The Aftermath of a Long, Hot Summer.

It’s Easter long weekend. It’s not over thirty degrees Celcius. And I’m free (and healthy enough) to potter in my beloved garden.

It’s the first time I’ve had a hope of achieving something useful in the garden for months, without collapsing, getting sunburned or jar my knees digging in the hard-baked soil. Today’s mission was a full garden assessment and front yard reconnaissance mission (salvage seeds and seedlings before the beds were dug up).

The view from the front window was testimony to the heat devastation wreaked over summer. Brown sticks jutted from the dusty earth, the only hint of life were the tiny seed pods dripping from their branches. I collected them – brocolli, spinach, parsley – and sealed them in paper bags.
One job done.


Next I ventured out into the wilderness that was once my back yard. The fresh smell of moist mown grass greeted me. Delicious. Inviting. Comforting. Maybe there was still  hope for my beleaguered garden?
But not today.

While the garden is my domain, grass-wrangling and mowing is the perview of my Dearheart. We sometimes joke (half-heartedly) the grass must be alien. We never water it –  not even in the height of South Australian summers. When all else wilts and shrivels, the grass soldiers on, thriving on the smallest hit of moisture.

It rained last night. Just enough to soften the top soil. I tugged at the tendrils of grass covering the bed of irises. It slipped out of the ground. Finally I can pull some of the grass without leaving the roots behind to spawn.

My fruit trees struggle on despite dropping fruit in the heat waves. Small clusters of leaves cling to the branches. A lone lemon jiggles in the breeze. They are in need of well-deserved tender loving care.

The garden has been neglected this summer. That will be rectified. I have a plan to prepare for winter.


  • pull all spent plants from the beds
  • add manure, compost to beds and around trees and irises
  • dig in the beds
  • plant for next round of vegetables
  • add chicken manure to citrus trees
  • prune trees, remove runners from roses
  • Water all with Seaweed solution.
  • Pre-planned winter landscaping: I should also weed the verge near the drive and do planned paving.


  • Weed the never-ending grass from the beds
  • mowing
  • trim back garden bed roses
  • add manure, compost to beds and around trees and irises
  • find any surviving strawberries and coax them back to life (or replace). They, too, are hidden under a carpet of grass.
  • Re-pot roses and fruit trees into larger pots
  • Water all with Seaweed solution.
  • re-planned winter landscaping: Weed the side bed, remove weed matting (was there when we moved in), level bed, add a 7cm layer of pebbles. This will be the base for three large potted fruit trees (when they are large enough)  and a raised vegetable garden.

Garden assessment and reconnaissance mission accomplished.

Now the work begins.

Photos ©2016 Karen Carlisle
All rights reserved.

The Aftermath of a Long, Hot Summer. was originally published on karen j carlisle

About karen j carlisle

writer artist gardener chocoholic tea lover
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