Keep your garden fresh during hot weather with these great ideas
PUBLISHED: 13:47 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:04 13 July 2017
Judy's advice for drought-resistant gardening and cooling spaces this summer
Increasingly I find, that as a gardener and designer, drought-resistant gardening is a key concern. July and August temperatures have soared in recent years and our gardens are not always the lush leafy places we envision as we look forward to summer. Long periods of hot dry weather are very stressful for our gardens and we need to consider changes that will help both the plants and animals in them to survive a hot, dry season.
A good solution is to transform parts of the garden into beach-like areas with cobbles, pebbles and gravel. I have a ‘beach’ in a very hot and sunny area of my garden. The plants thrive because of the cool protection of the stones, which keep any moisture in and reduce evaporation. It’s also a haven for invertebrates such as spiders, which do a great job of eating garden pests such as aphids, while the spiders in turn are a source of food for garden birds. For me, part of the pleasure is having my own personal beach – an area that looks good in the heat of the summer but which, amazingly, looks even better on a rainy day when the colours of the stones come alive. It’s not just practical either, most people have strong associations of relaxation and fun with the beach, so why not bring those feelings to your garden?
There’s no real need to put down a weed-supressing membrane as the stones will help prevent annual weeds. But do use rounded cobbles, pebbles and gravel in different sizes to get the genuine pebbly beach effect.
It’s a good project for summer when it’s really too hot to be planting anything and is a great way to instantly transform an area of garden into something fun and interesting.
Five things to do in the garden this month
(1) Be good to your lawn
When it’s hot, keep mower blades high to help grass cope better with drought.
(2) Deadhead roses
Keep roses blooming by regular dead-heading and feeding with a high phosphate liquid feed such as seaweed extract.
(3) Prune wisteria
Get wisteria back under control by pruning back whippy growth to five or six leaves from the main stem.
(4) Wildlife gardening
Try to steer clear of using pesticides and fungicides in the garden, every pest has a predator and it is best to try to establish a natural balance by growing strong healthy plants in the right place.
(5) Water for animals
It’s not just plants that suffer in hot conditions, wildlife does too. Put out shallow sources of water that can be reached by birds and hedgehogs and top them up regularly.