It all looks a little like a scene from Apocalypse Now, not the windswept, buccolic impression I was hoping to create. With current dam levels hovering at or just under 50 per cent, our water restrictions only allow me to water every second day and then only with a hand-held hose. This I have done, with great gusto but with little result. In spite of the water, in spite of the many layers of mulch, the problem is the sheer, blinding ferocity of the sun. Its unwavering brutality has meant that anything in flower looks as if it has been dipped gently in a vat of acid. And it's heartbreaking. Some of the plants I have carefully nurtured through babyhood have gone to the big compost bin in the sky, the strawberries are reduced to sunburnt stalks and we shall not speak of the hollyhocks.