Then there are the hurricanes...

High summer means more than cloying heat and humidity that you can squeeze from the air with your hands. It means, as Florida has been reminded all too strongly, Hurricane Season. Definitely initial capitals for this year's season, although, for once, South Florida got off almost untouched by any of the four that crisscrossed the state.


We lost about twenty feet out of the top of the bulnesia tree that shades much of the front garden, and woke to find the limbs and the leaves from everything else coating the garden including the cars tucked in under other trees for safety.

The rest of the garden was similarly coated, But once the branches were cut into short lengths, and the smaller twigs and leaves cut even smaller, the whole thing turned into wonderful additions to the compost heap. Or, at least, my version of a compost heap which means heavy heavy layers of mulch around everything that is not ambulatory. I did once start to mulch over a cat, but she soon advised me to cease and desist that nonsense.

The arrival of the hurricane is the scary part, and it really can be terrifying. The television and news services have primed the pump of anxiety with endless, meaningless diagrams of the storm closing in, and pictures from correspondents, dispatched to areas experiencing the storm on the way to us, who desperately try to fill air-time with shots of palm tree leaves streaming away from the wind, the first fronds that detach being blown across the ground and the panel of corrugated iron partially lifted and pounding on the framework of a native hut. There are always palm fronds, always native huts for us in South Florida, but I suspect that they would be there if the hurricane was bearing down on Goose Bay, Labrador.

When the storm gets closer the wind begins and the trees start to thrash around, but it is the noise that is wearing on the nerves. Those who need to evacuate will presumably have done so, although going to a shelter means taking life essentials and camping out with all the inconvenience but none of beauty that comes from a true camping trip. We are fortunate to be enough inland that we never get hit with a compulsory evacuation notice, so it is simply a matter of doing what preparation is possible - shutters on the French doors, food and water and lots of batteries for flashlights and radios - then waiting for the power to go off and whatever is going to happen.

Well, as I said, this year we were lucky - lucky four times actually, so it is all over for a few months. Time to clean up any small damage, think about a last fertilizer application if you like to do that sort of thing, and decide how best to enjoy the glorious months of October to Christmas that are about as good as weather could be. With the end of the rains in September, there is a burst of growth and a settling in to the flowering that may last all winter for some plants. Not at all a bad time of year for a small tropical garden.

On to some more bits of the year

Back to the start of the snippets about the garden