… Well, the price is never clearly stated, but I have borne some of the cost.
It’s hot here. And dry. It’s always hot and dry in summer in Adelaide, but this is the worst and the last rain of GT 4mm was in September.
I empty the laundry and bathwater onto the garden, particularly the trees. I like my trees. Especially the fruit trees.
A few days ago, the apricot tree died. It looked like the sun had scorched a few leaves at first, and I left the leaves on. You do that, or the tender ones underneath get scorched, too. The next day, every single leaf on the tree was scorched as if it had been inside an oven with the fan on. Dry and crunchy.
The fruit – it was loaded with fruit – was green, getting to be a good size, enticing.
The next day, the leaves dropped, the fruit dropped, and I trimmed back a good size branch. It was dead. Every check I did indicated the tree was dead.
How can an apparently healthy tree die so suddenly?
The next one was the peach tree. No, I lie, it was the cherry tree. They do tend to be a little sensitive, so it has – had – a bit more protection than the others. That protection didn’t help.
The trees that are now dead: apricot, peach, nectarine, cherry, almond.
That’s the trees out the back. The fig and the two remaining citrus trees (the orange died last year, along with the chayote) seem to be doing okay, but they’ve dropped all their fruit.
Out the front are the plums and apples and pears, and a couple of tropical fruit trees.
The plums are still doing okay, but they’ve dropped all their fruit.
The apples and pears were left for the birds to feast on, mainly because the birds seem to be so hungry they eat the green fruit – which I’ve never seen before! The other reason is that every piece of fruit on the trees is badly scorched. And they’ve stopped growing. These are the trees that get all the water from the water tank. Now empty. It’s a big tank. I don’t think the apples are going to make it …
What’s still there?
I’m just talking about the fruit trees, even though there are some issues with the other varieties.
The avocado is coming back. The mango lost all the fruit, but the leaves are still green and strong. The white sapote seems to be doing well. The cherry guava and children’s guava and yellow guava seem to be survivors, although only the yellow guava has fruit.
The plums are still going. they must be tough. The fig is doing okay, and the shade it gives to the yellow guava may be what’s saved the fruit there.
There are no wild things flowering, no borage to keep the bees happy until the autumn blooms kick in … bees?
There are no bees in the garden.
I noticed it last week. It was so hot all the birds and critters moved under the back veranda. I put a trickle on a flat sandbox for the bees (the birds have a higher watering location).
Other insects came: butterflies, wasps, even a stick insect (do they even drink?). I didn’t see a bee. There are always bees here. Always.
Not any more.
This morning, I checked my trees. On the peach and nectarine and cherry and almond is a large orange growth. It’s a fungus that grows on dead trees. These trees still have leaves.
Not for long, it seems.
That is the cost.
Food security … that is the cost, and the price is too high.