November Bloom Day: early summer

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Technically, because Kigali is a few degrees south of the equator, it is early summer here.

But  — given that the temperature is almost always in the 70ºs or low 80ºs — it is more relevant that we are almost three months into the end-of-the-year rainy season.

In late October, I came back from five weeks in the U.S. to rampant growth in all the planting beds.  Now, I need to wade in and do some serious cutting back all over.

To see what’s blooming for other garden bloggers, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens here.

After some rain

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain. . . .

— Robert Creeley, from “The Rain

Our garden on August 31, at the end of the dry season:Our garden in the dry season/enclos*ure

And on September 11, after several days of rain:Our September garden in Rwanda/enclos*ure

Much better. After the first rain or two, everything seemed almost sparkly.

Below (click on any of the thumbnails in the gallery) is a little tour of the borders along the upper and lower lawns, taken on September 11 — just before sunset — and yesterday afternoon.

I think this will be my slightly early Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up submission for September. Please go to May Dreams Gardens (Bloom Day on September 15) and Digging (Foliage Follow-Up on September 16) to see what’s happening in other Garden Bloggers’ gardens.

Tan is the color of the season

Not much is happening in our garden these days — except that the lawn becomes more and more tan-colored as the long dry season continues.

This year, we stopped watering it about the end of June. It seemed wrong to maintain green grass while the hills in our view were brown, and some city neighborhoods were having their water cut off during the daytime.

Our garden in the dry season/enclos*ure

Above is a view of the upper and lower lawns.

I took these pictures this morning.  The sky was actually full of grey, rather menacing clouds (and dusty haze), and there was some wind.   This is not unusual for August, but we haven’t had any rain since May, except very briefly about three weeks ago and almost all night two weeks ago. That last one was nice, and the grass seemed to get a little greener within 12 hours, but it didn’t last.   The long rainy season normally begins in early September.

We do still water the flower borders, although not very generously.  Kniphofia, daylilies, gerbera daisies, lantana, Missouri primrose, and small shrub roses are blooming steadily.  But, of course, most plants are in a “holding pattern” and not really increasing in size.  I want to make some changes and additions to the borders, but I’ll wait until we have a rain or two.  Then, we need to work quickly before the soil becomes too soggy.

Below is the lower lawn, looking south at the steps at the center of the lawn. Actually, the tan is kind of pretty.

Our garden in the dry season/enclos*ure

Below, a closeup.  I know it will come back, but it’s hard not to get out the sprinkler.Our garden in the dry season/enclos*ure

Below,  from the upper lawn, looking back across the lawn to the northwest — with a hazy view of central Kigali.

Our garden in the dry season/enclos*ure

I’ve been working more on the vegetable garden lately.  This summer winter, we’ve divided it into many small* raised beds instead of a few really large ones.  It’s easier to manage now, and the kale, strawberries, basil, dill, arugula, lettuce, and rosemary are doing well — in the photo below.

Our garden in the dry season/enclos*ure

That’s one of our two compost piles in the back.  You can just see a bamboo pole sticking out of it.  I pull the pole out occasionally and feel it.  If it’s warm and damp, the pile should be cooking nicely.

Below are my still-green cherry tomatoes; I planted both red and yellow.  The plants look good now, but when the rains start, they may suffer from too little sun and too much water. The dry season (with watering) is a good time for tomatoes and basil, but I should have started them sooner.Our garden in the dry season/enclos*ure

Finally, below, this is a little sad.  It’s an child’s stuffed toy — no head, no legs — that the hawks in the tree above pushed out of their nest.

Toy dropped by hawk/enclos*ure

The nest is at least 3′ across and seems to be made of as much waste paper and cloth as of sticks and twigs.  A few weeks ago, I found someone’s bank statement under the tree, complete with name, account number, and balance.  It’s now shredded and in the compost pile; I gave this little fellow a burial there too.

When we get our first big rain and wind storm, I expect to be picking up all sorts of things.


*3′ or 4′ x 5′ (more or less)