A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer

  • 7 Replies
  • 7138 Views
*

anita

  • Jr. Member
A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« on: March 15, 2014, 01:11:46 PM »
After a really torrid summer…
•   Hottest February day – 44.7 °C (112.5 °F) on 2 February 2014,
•   Record number of days exceeding 40 °C (104 °F) during the summer months (December, January and February),
•   Record number of days exceeding 42 °C (108 °F) during a calendar year - 9 so far,
•   Record number of consecutive days exceeding 42 °C (108 °F) – 5,
we’re finally into autumn, and have hopefully turned the corner into cooler weather.
We got 80mm of rain on February 14, which really revived the garden.
Today was another cool autumn day with light showers; and I walked around the garden feeling pretty chuffed at how good it was looking after such a summer. I wanted to share the pictures because I think it shows what really can be done through appropriate plant selection. Given Adelaide’s climate – which is dry Mediterranean, with annual rainfall of around 530mm, mostly falling from May through to September (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Adelaide), the plant selection leans heavily towards the most drought-tolerant of Mediterranean species.
Water is managed carefully. Not a drop that lands on this 1300sqm plot is wasted. All the water from the roof is either collected in rainwater in tanks or directed to the garden. We do supplementary water from a bore that yields reasonably sweet water about 800ppm.
The green lawns that you can see are drought tolerant species, Kikuyu in the back and buffalo at the front. They were only watered once a week right through summer. But they were watered deeply leaving the sprinklers on for an hour on each watering. 
You can see the effects of the heat in the scorched leaf tips on the wisteria, the agapanthus and even the strelitzia – but overall it’s looking remarkably good.. and the autumn bulbs are coming up. Amaryllis belladonna leading the way, Rhodophiala bifida, Sternbergia lutea, Narcissus serotinus, Colchicum byzantium. The pot on the table in the backyard has spikes of the first autumn crocus showing.
I’m posting pictures starting at my backdoor (which looks due north) and then moving anticlockwise around the garden and ending up on the eastern side garden.
There's a shot of the driveway.. we chose to use gravel rather than paving the lot so that when we wash the cars (very rarely) the water flows to ground rather than being wasted.

Anita
Dry mediterranean climate, avg annual rainfall 530mm, little or no frost. Winter minimum 1C, summer max 45C

*

Fermi

  • Hero Member
    • Email
Re: A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2014, 02:14:31 PM »
Anita,
we weren't quite as badly affected by the heat as you were in South Aussie, but we haven't had quite as much rain since then either! Similarly the autumn bulbs are starting, but no Sternbergias yet!
Your place looks lovely and green compared to here but we're not much into to lawns and I think our bore water is slightly more salty (it killed the dahlias! :o )
cheers
fermi
Mr F de Sousa, Central Victoria, Australia
member of AGS, SRGC, NARGS
working as a physio to support my gardening habit!

*

anita

  • Jr. Member
Re: A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2014, 02:45:41 PM »
Fermi,
The kikuyu lawn out the back is particularly tough. In a nearby park, which receives no supplementary water, it had turned to a straw color crunching under foot. Within two weeks of the rain it had revived and they've now mown it and it looks as green as ours. Absolutely remarkable. It's also pretty salt resistant our pool is saltwater and as you can see the lawn grows right up to the edging and forgives us our splashing. During the heat the pool was a lifesaver! Anita
Dry mediterranean climate, avg annual rainfall 530mm, little or no frost. Winter minimum 1C, summer max 45C

Trevor Australis

  • Sr. Member
Re: A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 08:22:01 AM »
This might get shifted elsewhere. The Mighty Bovver Boy is watching. We don't have lawns just grasses leftover from when this place was an apple orchard. We just mow it. Kikuyu has introduced itself. It is certainly very hardy and we are fortunate, I my view, that the Winter cold seriously curtails its enthusiasm to grow with gay abandon, o/wise it would romp away and take over. Even so by Autumn we have to pull up yards of its runners so they don't get a grip among shrubs, perennials etc.
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

Jamus

  • Jr. Member
Re: A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 12:39:51 AM »
Hi anita, another South Australian here who feels your pain regarding this summer just gone. It was woeful. Your garden looks like it faired pretty well, but I know what you mean about scorching on plants which usually laugh at heat. My agapanthus were quite badly burnt and I see the same damage on them everywhere I go around Adelaide.

Hasn't this rain over the weekend been lovely? If it wasn't so chilled I would have been temped to run around in it dancing and leaping! (maybe not).

Long hot summers, mild wet winters. Rainfall approx. 600mm pa.
Summer maximums over 40 degrees, winter minimums occasionally below freezing.
Gardening on neutral clay loam and sandy loam.

Trevor Australis

  • Sr. Member
Re: A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 10:01:44 PM »
You go first Jamus, the rest of us with Druidical tendencies will follow. More rain last night. Y/day I ordered a swag of new succulents - half a dozen 'new' variegated dwarf agaves, a dozen or so Gasteria sp and hybrids, and yet more dwf and sp Narcissus. It's a v good feeling when the buying and planting season comes around, esp after such a torrid, damaging summer.
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

Jamus

  • Jr. Member
Re: A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2014, 01:57:06 AM »

Yes I received my bulb order from Marcus and spent a glorious day making up special potting media and potting them all up. Exciting times.

I've been trying to convince Rebecca that naked rain dances in the moonlight are effective for years Trevor! No luck yet... 

Sorry for hijacking your thread anita. Back to you.  8)
Long hot summers, mild wet winters. Rainfall approx. 600mm pa.
Summer maximums over 40 degrees, winter minimums occasionally below freezing.
Gardening on neutral clay loam and sandy loam.

Joanna Savage

  • Sr. Member
Re: A Dry Mediterranean Garden after surviving a torrid summer
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 07:49:52 AM »
Reading your comments briefly while checking emails in Singapore. It was a terrible shock to see the state of the vegetation on arrival at Singapore this week. There are reports that it has been the driest season since 1869. Every tree in the street planting usually has a host of epiphytes, especially birds'nest ferns. Just now they are drooping dead leaves.There is street planting dying all over Singapore. The smog from fires in neighbouring countries has caused further serious problems. Now the rains have begun again and we can only hope that there is some dormant life lurking at the base of all those ferns. Things were looking more cheerful in the Botanic Gardens this morning where it seems that a lot of water is beind applied in attempt to save the vegetation.
Last week in Sri Lanka it was a worrying report too, with crackly dry rain forest. I haven't heard whether the rain has arrived there yet, but it was another worrying scenario. Joanna