It’s the Australian summer. Perhaps you’re in the north, pining for warmth, expecting something idyllic on darling buds and mellow fruitfulness. Sorry.
I don’t water the garden over summer too much (dill and seedlings aside), partly because – like many now-paranoid Australians – I don’t want to waste water, don’t want to be one of those people standing there apparently lost in catatonia, hosing their pavements to remove one stubborn leaf, or a tragic and doomed ornamental (let’s say a gardenia), for what seems like forty minutes or so (I know because that’s how long my standard, circular walk takes).
But the roses are unhappy, and roses are pretty tough. These ones are called Ophelia roses and were planted, romantically, by my grandparents. So they must now be watered. Preferably in the evening to bolster them against the heat tomorrow.
There’s just one problem. Maybe your garden is this way too? What seems a relatively harmless space transforms as the twilight comes down.
I think it’s our clay soil. There are ants, unseen since prehistoric times, black and big enough to eat a bull-ant whole. I know because one attached itself to my foot a little while ago and the resulting bite was red for over two weeks (and had me boring everyone with swelling updates). Mosquitoes that focus single-mindedly on your hands and little blots of darkness (eight-legged) that scatter (not fast enough) as you flick on the drip system. Not to mention the burrowing spiders that take advantage of the dark to start roving (unnecessarily?) around. They’re much bigger than they need to be.
I looked down this evening to find a seething mass of bull-ants (not prehistoric, but bad enough), probably panicking about the unforecast rain, but looking like they were going to overrun my boots (even though I was sagely wearing knee-highs). Even the large beetles and moths I might find delightful in the daylight have a habit of suddenly flying into my face, making me flail around like an idiot until I realise that nothing particularly nasty flies (at night, anyway).
So there it is. Twilight in the garden. Spooky.