How does my garden grow?

How does my garden grow?

This is a beautifully cool as it looks
This is as beautifully cool as it looks

Recently the temperature in Melbourne reached 37 degrees. This is not unusual, and we can have a quite few days around that temperature. (It usually manages to get really hot in February, just as kids are going back to school for the start of the year.) Some places in Australia have been having obscenely high temperatures. Moomba, in South Australia, hit the highest recorded maximum with 49.6 C. That’s 121 F. That’s horrible.

Unlike many people we don’t have air conditioning. There are times when I consider it, but I always come back to its environmental impact — and the fact that we really don’t need it.

Instead we use a ceiling fan and a pedestal fan. And the passive cooling of our vine and maple tree.

My house faces north. There are no windows on the west side, and house next door is pretty close. So the west is protected and little heat comes in that way. This leaves the east and south sides. As you can see the vine covers the area between our eastern fence and the back door (which is sort of at the side!). This blocks out the morning sun, and heat.

The maple tree and rain water tank

The maple tree protects the house from the south. So today the temperature indoors was only 27, about 10 degrees cooler. The heat rises when there are a few hot days — but then even air conditioning can struggle. (I am sure that air conditioning, fans, vines and everything else would have little impact in Moomba.)

And of course, both the tree and vine are deciduous, so they let in all the glorious warming winter sun.

The back yard, from under the cool vine
The back yard, from under the cool vine

And the veggie patch…? Well it is a waiting game — waiting for things to ripen.

Ripening capsicums -- orange ones!
Ripening capsicums — orange ones!
Ripening tomatoes
Ripening tomatoes

But I have munched a couple of early beans, and there are always some strawberries to harvest. My next garden job is to fertilise with the worm juice from the worm farm.

7 replies on “How does my garden grow?”

What a lovely green garden! We have a north facing house too, verandah roof over the front, no windows on the ends of the house (apart from a small toilet and bathroom one) and the sun never hits the back of the house. It makes a huge difference doesn’t it.

We have weakened and have a small ac in the loungeroom though. It is only for that and the kitchen though and we keep the rest of the house shut up when it is on. A few years ago we had extra thick insulation installed and that makes a massive difference to the way the heat gets into the house (and the way the heat stays in in winter too!).


I think the garden looks green because I don’t have lawn. As you know, it is so hard to keep it green, even with grey water. I decided a while ago that mowing was not for me. I don’t have children or dogs, both of whom need somewhere to run around. So no need for lawn/grass.

You are right — the more sun you can keep out, the cooler the place is. Good insulation is fantastic.


love those vines, and your yard looks inviting,of course I wont come over austrailia is a bit of a long walk for me, of course I swim pretty good but I dont think I could handle a great white shark biting


The great white shark may make you swim a bit quicker!! But yes, walking and swimming are probably not options! I will just have to make my blogs as interesting as possible, so that you will feel like you are here! Thanks for visiting the blog….


Thanks Evelyn — but, just between you and me, I only take photos of the good parts! No photos of the capsicums and tomatoes that have been invaded by caterpillars or black spot on the roses!


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