Cool World

To sit and relax under the boughs of a tree, to appreciate the shade it gives on a hot summer’s day, to appreciate the oxygen it exhales – that we inhale, and to appreciate its serene beauty.

Spirited Gardening

Local horticulturist and author Sally-Anne Fowles, of Spirited Gardening.

If you spend a moment thinking about it, trees are an incredibly important inclusion in any garden for many more reasons than just mentioned.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” (proverb unknown origin).

Trees do a wonderful job absorbing and filtering the sun’s radiant heat protecting us, the soil, other plants and, so importantly, creating harbour and shelter for the wonderful animals that share our home gardens.

So, if you have the inclination to plant a tree in your garden here are a few points to consider:

  • Size – consider the ultimate size once mature.
  • Location – determine the aspect, i.e. shade/sun, prevailing winds.
  • Deciduous or evergreen – deciduous trees planted in just the right spot can provide shade during the summer and allow light and warmth through during the winter months.
  • Plant selection – with so many beautiful trees to select from, for example, native/exotic, ornamental/fruiting; the best places to start for ideas is your local nursery.

Fun ideas for the festive season

  • Festive plantings – don’t delay in planting for a vibrant display for Christmas day. Pots and hanging baskets are sure-fire winners to easily dress your entertaining space. A few of my fast-growing favourites include candy crush petunias (white with red striped petals), mixed red and white petunias, vinca (catharanthus roseus), salvia splendens and big red geranium.
  • Christmas trees alive – a living potted Christmas tree will give you years of joy. Some great varieties include pinus radiata (pine), picea varieties (spruce), adenanthos (native woolly bush) and grevillea ilicifolia (holly leaf grevillea).

Your summer gardening checklist

Watering – plan your watering in the cooler parts of the day. Water deeply to ensure the subsurface is moist. This will encourage roots to grow deeply, helping plants to survive through the heat of summer.
Potted plants – potting soils are designed to be super free-draining, so it is important to maintain a regular (possibly daily) watering regime. It can be helpful to group pots together to make regular watering easier. If they dry out excessively, stand the pot in a tub of water for approximately 30 minutes them remove and allow to drain.
Mulch – ensure mulch is topped up to help hold moisture in the soil and minimise weeds.
Summer lawns – allow your lawn to grow a little longer during summer by lifting the height of your mower blade. Longer lawn through the heat will wear better and deter weed growth. Remember to water deeply to encourage the root systems to grow deeply, rather than a “splash and dash” which creates shallow root systems and a weaker lawn that is more susceptible to health problems and the soil being depleted of shallow moisture from the heat of the day bearing down on it.

Until next time, Sally-Anne

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