Thursday, July 28, 2022


Growing up in the tropics the warmest temperature I've ever experienced was 34C (93F) in the depths of summer (albeit paired up with oppressive levels of humidity). Who would know then that I would experience 40C (104F) of all places in the UK? That's what just happened Tuesday last week when the heatwave that was all over Europe peaked here.

Thankfully from there temperatures have since dropped down to what are considered normal summer levels here, otherwise a lot of our plants would have been toast.

Heat stressed Schefflera taiwaniana Tuesday 19th of July

We think temperatures "only" peaked at around 38C (100F) in our garden but as I was working in central London that day, with the mostly concrete jungle that it is temperatures reached well above that even before midday. That made for a very unpleasant commute to and from work. 

UK is not geared for such high temperatures as usually there is a lack of summer heat and both society and infrastructure here are geared for that, not the other way around. 

The most dramatic manifestation of the high and relatively prolonged heat here was shown by our biggest Schefflera taiwaniana. It took a couple of days when the temperature went down to show recovery, unlike all other plants that showed distress during the same period but mostly recovered in matter of hours. Still a week on and you can now spot true damage on some plants with shrivelled new growth, and on bamboos with their aborted new shoots. Speaking of bamboos, some new shoots bent down at the worst of the high temperature but rectified themselves when the heat subsided, with some eventually aborting. But some damage is better than demise. If the heat persisted we could have lost many plants, including the Schefflera above.

Schefflera taiwaniana Thursday 21st of July

It's been a largely dry summer so far and now there is a threat that we may get a hosepipe ban in August if the lack of substantial rain persists. Let's see how it goes...



  1. Ugh. I hope there's no lasting damage to the Schefflera and that you're spare further iterations of that kind of heat. Add very dry soil after months without rain and you can imagine what summer is commonly like in Southern California. This year, while our inland valleys (where my husband and I both grew up) have roasted, we're enjoying much cooler conditions of late, courtesy of the morning marine layer - we've yet to have temperatures about the mid-90sF/35C. Although we live along the coast, we're on the "wrong" side of a peninsula and don't get the cooling marine breezes our neighbors on the west side get but we're still better off than those in the inland valleys.

  2. That's amazing that your hottest day experience was in the UK! But you're right, the humidity definitely changes the way you experience the heat. I'm glad the garden damage was not worse. We're currently on day 6 over 90F, with 5 of those days being in the high 90's to over 100. Tomorrow should be the last day with a drop to 86 on Monday. What a wild ride!

  3. Best wishes for some cooler weather and rain. It hurts to look at the Schefflera suffering like that. Here we learned to mist tree foliage a couple or three times at the hottest part of the day--uses very little water but gives the trees a bit of relief.


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