THIS WEEK IN MY GARDEN: JAN11 WEEK4

New rainmeter behind houseAt Sequoia Gardens we stand on 339mm for the month to date. That’s 13 1/2 inches of rain. It is wet. And although throughout South Africa flooding has been only sporadic and isolated, nothing compared to what parts of  Australia have experienced, there is some cause for concern, as February tends to be the country’s wettest month…

Over the last few days we’ve had some welcome sun between the heavy showers. It has dried out the road a little (I definitely need my 4×4 at this time of year to get on and off the farm) and when it shines, you can hear things grow! A walk through the gardens shows how the grass has shot up along the paths and roads since the December cut, despite the shortage of sun; the weather is balmy at all times, and the increase in biomass is amazing. My dad always says: ‘Three years of neglect and you will hardly realise that there is a garden here!’

But what is this bricky pic all about? The newly built rain-meter holder. (And the fuchsias, which are a joy at the moment. This weekly post is after all about the plants that attract attention.) The camera – my new one – was on a tripod immediately outside the backdoor of the living-room and for the first time I could really ‘use’ its functions, in order to get the necessary depth of field.

Old rainmeter at Ellensgate GardenThe old rain-meter is the white vertical in the centre of the pic – right next door to the Ellensgate Garden. It always irritated me, this ugly slash in the overall composition. Then last week we realised that our meter was under-reading, especially when there was a strong wind from the east – which often happens with rain. The Japanese Pagoda Tree (Saphora japonica), here catching the last bit of sunlight breaking through from beneath the clouds last week as it set in the drier west, was casting a rain shadow over it. One of my Irritations-To-Be-Removed had always been the rain-meter; now action ensued! Still needed is a bit of paint to get rid of the intrusive white lip; in no time at all the new pillar will have all the patina of the other bricks that make up this odd but pleasing terrace behind the house. Oh – and when I compare our figures with my cousin’s across the road, I might just discover that we are way over 339mm…

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