Rain, Rain, and more of the same!

(page 2)

Just to make things even more interesting (!) I should explain that the soil is clay and being close to the foreshore the water table is quite high, being only a few feet below the soil surface, but variable, as is the case with all low lying regions, depending on the height of the tide, wind velocity and direction, and of course rainfall. It would not be necessary to dig very deep to make a well, which may indeed be necessary at some time in the near future, for all the climate change models predict much hotter and drier summers for those of us in southern England, and guess who lives close to the beach and in the front line of all this climate change? Yep!

The effects of the flooding in November 2000 (which covered about 70% of the garden) were not at once apparent, but shortly afterwards, in late December, Acacia dealbata, which had its root area completely submerged, dropped every single flower bud, and an Acacia baileyana "Purpurea" on slightly higher ground that had its root area 50% submerged lost 50% of the buds. I doubt if that was coincidence. I am delighted to report that there was no foliage damage to either and both are now growing and flowering well. Succulents including Agave americana, Dasylirion acrotrichum, Puya alpestris, Fasicularia bicolour and a Protea grandiceps were in the lower of my two raised beds and surrounded by water but were completely unaffected even though the lower roots of most of these would have been below water! I am very pleased with these raised beds, which are of my own design, totally radical and very different from the usual such structures. I hope to write about them in a future article.

There was no damage whatsoever to the two Olea europa or even the shallow rooted Rhododendrons, although the normally prolific, sweet scented R. loderii "King George" dropped all its flower buds but one.

Having kept you in suspense for long enough I shall now tell you about the palms! Those above the standing water, which include Trachycarpus fortunei (planted in 1993), Chamaerops humilis (1993) Butia capitata (1994), Brahea armata (1994), and B.edulis (1997), were fine though the ground was extremely wet with all that rain and I was particularly pleased that the Braheas managed to tolerate those conditions, which they surely could not have done if they had been newly planted.

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