Even the breeze is hot

The temperature continues to climb and even the breeze is hot. Washing dries in minutes and the summer deciduous trees are shedding leaves in great flurries. The hibiscus outside the office door has decided to drop half its flowers and the immature olives dropping from the tree that overhangs the roof above our bedroom at the farm sound like hail as they ping on the tin. One way in which plants adapt to heat stress is to reduce transpiration losses by shedding leaves and reducing the number of fruits and flowers that they carry. Even under irrigation this happens as soon as temperatures reach the high thirties. Evergreen trees such as citrus need a great deal of water to ensure that some fruit makes it through the summer to ripen in the winter.

Many plants become dormant around now and don't start to grow again until conditions improve in September. Roses and other shrubs tend to look a bit tatty now as the dry air scorches the leaves but reaching for the pruning shears makes the problem worse as they then try to put on new growth, which, being soft, burns even more quickly and simply depletes the plant's resources. It is better to let things rest until mid August when they can be properly pruned, fed and prepared for the 'second spring' that accompanies the on-set of the rainy season.

The fig trees and grape vines are showing no sign of slacking and it looks as though we will have a glut - if the rats and the birds don't get there first. Although the locals use old fishing nets to keep the birds off the fruit, this idea does not appeal to me as the birds become trapped in the webbing. The cats are no use as a deterrent - they seem to be spending the summer asleep in the cool damp patches around the tomatoes in the shade house. Just as on a boat a cat will find a spot where the motion is least apparent (useful tip for the seasick!) so do they also seek out the coolest places to sleep in the summer.

Have a peaceful week.

Regards,
Adriana
www.symivisitor.com

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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.


Adriana Shum

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