During my almost one-month stay in Singapore, I was worried how my little garden back home in France would turn out in my absence. My other half came to Singapore a week after me; it meant that the garden was not looked after for three weeks. We did not know our neighbours well enough to ask them for assistance in watering the plants, and we did not engage someone to help look after the garden in our absence. 

It was the first time we left our newish home for that long. The longest time we were away was about two weeks  last August, a few weeks after we had moved into the newly acquired house. Hence, we did not know what to expect from the garden after three weeks of neglect.  

There were less than 10 ripe tomatoes, most of them were still small and green. The ones that were ripe were big and juicy looking.

This year has been an unexceptionally hot summer in France, with record high temperatures, heatwaves and scanty rainfall. I thought of the worst scenario when I was in Singapore: rampant weeds, wilting bushes, withering young fruit trees, decimation of my budding green beans, tomatoes, raspberries etc. The fact that the quality of our garden soil is rather poor does not help the matter.

So far, we have made simple salads and pasta dishes with our garden manna.

On the day of homecoming, the moment we opened the gate to our house, I dropped the luggage and made a round of the garden. The reality was not as catastrophic as I had imagined. The plants were more resilient than I expected. Other than my burgeoning basilic herb, most of the flora survived, including my tomatoes. Instead of dying, the tomatoes seemed to have thrived in the heat and dryness. These big, bright red, pulpy tomatoes looked a little too heavy for the slim, green tomato branches. 

Most of the other plants did not make it unscathed; many of their leaves had curled up, turned crispy and brown—seemingly signs of dehydration. Now that we are back, I hope the floral will recover soon without any long term negative effects on their immunity systems. 

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