Derek – Thursday 5th July

It’s six weeks without rain. The longest drought I can recall, made worse by the heatwave. The pond is a foot lower than it was in May. And there is nothing we can do about it. Any water we get has to go on the plants.

A low pond is not as bad as it appears, according to the Freshwater Habitat Trust. About 40% of natural pond regularly dry out, and so much of water life, other than fish, have adapted to these conditions. Some pond life will die as the water evaporates, but a lot dies anyway even with a full pond. By no means all, so long as we don’t allow the bottom mud to set like concrete.

Today, Hazel offered us water. She lives on Earlham Grove and we went there with our flatbed trolley, returning with a large and small barrel filled. We also tried out our H20-Gobag. This is a thick plastic bag that fits in a wheelbarrow with a nozzle at one end where it can be filled or emptied. The bag holds 80 litres which is about 10 watering cans. Steve filled it for us at his garden tap. It was a useful supplement.

I have watered at 2pm in the community garden and also at 7.30 pm, and have noticed the difference. With earlier watering, in the heat of the day, much of the water is not taken up by plants due to evaporation. The next day, they are wilting, while those watered in the cool of the evening are OK a day later. But we can’t always be there. And some water is better than none at all..

It is often said, there may be scorching of the leaves if you water in hot sun, presumably from the lens effect of droplets. I have never seen this effect, and we have had temperatures close to 30°C for much of the last month. Is it one of those ‘facts’ that gains credence by repetition?

There are fat bumble bees on the tall scabious and also on the buddleia which is now in flower. Its cones of purple floret arch downwards from towering branches. Teasels seem to like this weather, tall and stately, like candelabras stretching for the sky.

Flying ants are teeming out of the ground at the foot of the pond by the new stage area. Yesterday, they were annoying the players at Wimbledon, but they are no trouble to us. ​

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