The courgettes (zucchini) will recover, in spite of all the broken leaves.

The remnants of cyclone Fehi hit New Zealand yesterday. We didn’t receive the brunt of the storm, and I am thankful for that. But we didn’t escape damage.

After Fehi’s wind dumped rain on the West Coast, it swooped over the Southern Alps and raced down the other side, heating up as it went. We were blasted by the hot, dry wind—gusts at least 130 kph (and higher, by the damage inflicted), and a temperature that reached 35ºC by early afternoon.

Parts of the garden will not recover. I’m glad we ate our first sweet corn earlier in the week, because it might be our last—the corn lies flat on the ground today.

The greenhouse plastic was shredded, and the stakes holding the greenhouse in place were pulled from the ground. Only my paranoia about the greenhouse taking flight in the wind saved the structure—years ago, I’d tethered it to y-posts driven deep into the soil. They were the only things left holding the structure in place.

Today is cool and rainy. The change will help the garden recover from yesterday’s thrashing, but it can’t bring back the stripped fruit, broken branches, and fatally flattened vegetables. It won’t fix the greenhouse.

We pick up the mess and get on with it. The damage is discouraging, but I am not discouraged. If gardening (and life in general) were not laced with setbacks and disaster, we could take no pride in our accomplishments. I will be extra-pleased with every tomato and cucumber we eat for the remainder of the summer.

And, by the way, if cyclone Fehi did nothing else, it reminded me where the name Debbie’s chutney came from—cyclone Debbie stripped the apples from the trees before they were ripe. We made chutney from those apples, and named it Debbie’s. Perhaps we will be making Fehi’s chutney this weekend.

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