It’s hot, don’t panic!

IN heatwave conditions the aim is not to panic, plants are much tougher than most of us think. It is important that trees and shrubs are watered out at the drip line, not by the trunk.

Recently, I saw a gentleman watering a huge gum tree on the nature strip. He was pouring a bucket of water right at the trunk!

It may make him feel better, but it is useless for the health of the tree.

Imagine an umbrella with the handle the trunk and the water running off the opened top. That outer edge is the drip line similar to the tree canopy. For small trees make an earthen bank round the tree or shrub to hold at least three buckets of water at the one time, depending on the size of the plant.

If using a drip system in extreme conditions operate the system for one to two hours in the morning and repeat in the evening. This only needs to be done once a week and your plants should be fine. A drip system, which is the ideal way of watering, does not need to be turned on every day.

For example, hydrangeas flop in the daytime heat and bounce back next morning. Plants do not have to be watered every time you see the leaves wilt. There were possibly more plants lost during the drought from overwatering than under-watering. All they need is a good deep soaking once a week. Most hand watering is a complete waste of time, with water running off and never reaching the roots.

GARDENS should be fun and not a chore, and give the “wow” factor when friends visit.

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Fun boots for the garden.

Just look at the fun item of boots in a garden. Maybe the owners are demonstrating how hard they have worked over the years?

Last year we visited our daughter in Holland and reIatives in England. Naturally, we visited numerous gardens and garden centres full of fun items besides just plants. These were in demand for private gardens and parks with topiary as one of the top sellers. There were many examples of full-size animals, from giraffes to rhinos and everything in between (top image).

HERE’S a New Year resolution best carried out in autumn: “Plant a tree, because full, healthy trees make for full, healthy lives”.

Autumn may seem a long way off but it is only five or so short weeks away. Autumn is planting time and plants will survive better, with more stable weather conditions and usually autumn rain. The ground is still warm to encourage plenty of root growth so the plants are well established before the heat of next summer.

IT is easy to think of spring and the massed display of bulbs but overlook autumn, which can be as equally floriferous as spring. It is not too late to plant nerines, the most popular variety being the pink Nerine bowdenii, a showy bulb with spidery flowers that last for an incredibly long time as a cut flower. The only demand is changing the water regularly.

Do look out for the rare Nerine flexuosa “Alba” with equally stunning white flowers.

It is getting rather late for planting dahlia tubers, however most garden centres have them available in pots.

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