You may or may not have noticed, but summer appears to finally have arrived, and large parts of the UK are currently enjoying (or suffering, depending on your climatic preference) something of a heat wave. And as is traditional, people across the country are using any spare time they have to enjoy being outside, and to appreciate the chance to relax in their gardens. Because it’s not something we get to do that often, living here, so we tend as a nation to make the most of it on those rare occasions when we can.
But while we all know both the health benefits and risk from so much sunshine, and lather ourselves in ointments and lotions, it’s easy to forget that sometimes this much heat can be detrimental for those very gardens we are enjoying so much. Those lawns, flowerbeds and shrubs may not just be very thirsty, they may also be suffering damage from the heat itself- heat stress can be a serious problem for garden plants and because we’re not used to it, it’s a problem that is often overlooked.
You should always make sure your plants and lawn have a steady supply of water, and bear in mind that on extremely dry soil water may just run off, so allow it to be delivered slowly and to have time to sink in.
Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and this advice may be a little late for this year, but consider planting some shade providers; plants that love the sun and will grow big enough to provide some shade for their less hardy brethren. Or you can create shade by creating structures of wood and burlap to keep the sun off your precious plants. And, odd as it may seem, a coating of white latex paint around the lower trunk of newly-planted trees will reflect much of the sun’s heat and allow them to grow up strong.
And perhaps it’s time to start planning for the future. There’s always next year, and that’s plenty of time to redesign your garden so your plants and flowers can be protected not just from heat, but also from drought, from cold and from high winds. A garden can be a place of outstanding natural beauty- let’s try not to let nature destroy it!
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