Gardening: Crucial heat beater

THERE is no doubt in my mind, following yet another hot weekend, it's going to be a long hot summer.

It unfortunately started back in August, meaning our gardens didn't get any gentle spring weather to acclimatise the plants before summer.

Gardens and lawns do require water, so it's time to turn on taps and sprinklers, which we really haven't needed for the past couple of years.

Water deeply every three days, keeping in mind that new plants or potted specimens will need a daily drink.

It is imperative to add water retention agents to hot exposed gardens, followed by a layer of sugar cane mulch.

Unfortunately during the past decade gardens have been modernised leaving shade trees totally out of design concepts that have become so minimalistic.

Now when a hot summer prevails the need for shade, even in small courtyards, is in demand.

Deciduous trees are ideal for small gardens as they give shade, with light during the winter when leafless.

Crab apples not only look great, bearing the little apples but flowering in the spring adding colour to the garden - one of the malus family, the crabs are also ideal for pot cultivation.

Golden robinias grow quickly as they are grafted, providing quick shade from the summer sun.

Likewise, Robinia Mop Tops, generally grafted on a 1.8-metre trunk, give height instantly and a beautiful lush green canopy of four to five metres wide to develop.

Crepe myrtles and prunus are also deciduous as well as being colourful.

Evergreen trees that provide shade include the smaller grafted eucalypts, lilly pillies and tuckeroos.

The tuckeroo is native to this area and provides a wonderful haven for birds.

Glossy green leaves bear flowers, followed by yellow/orange berries and this lovely tree is extremely hardy.

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