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Five expert gardening tips for summer

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Summer in the garden is all about entertaining outside, relaxing in the shade, watching the grass grow and the heady fragrance of flowers in the air.

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The flipside is rapid growth and subsequent weeding and pruning, grubs and bugs that suddenly explode and the heatwaves and storms that sweep the countryside.

The delights of summer are made even richer by simple measures like the following:

Putting up a hammock will be the best thing you do all summer. Photo: Getty
Putting up a hammock will be the best thing you do all summer. Photo: Getty

1. Plant shade trees

Planting trees, especially deciduous ones that still let in winter sunshine, will make your outdoor areas all the more enticing.

2. Add a pergola

A pergola planted with a vine will have a similar effect and make your al fresco dining all the more enchanting. Think Virginia creeper hanging down in garlands of green, wisteria, and even grapes for those who want to reach up and nibble between courses!

3. Embrace climbers

Climbers such as Stephanotis and hoya are deliciously perfumed, gentle evergreen twiners that never disappoint, though they do need a sheltered position to thrive.

4. Consider a hammock

A hammock strung up can make for “instant” extra seating (you can buy special hooks for trees that won’t damage them from a hardware store) or even padded cushioning for party perches!

5. Light it up

Buy some night life accessories for your garden. Lights, oil lamps and mossie coils, citronella candles and even a small brazier for gathering around on cooler evenings help create ambience.

In case of emergency…

With summer comes an increased risk of fires, more pests and some fairly full-on storms.

Being prepared for the worst will help you manage most problems. So how can you “disaster proof” your garden?

Prepare for fires early by emptying gutters of leaves, cleaning up any debris against the house and keeping trees trimmed back from the roof in fireproofed areas. Well-kept lawns that are trimmed and lush will also help deter spotting if a fire does come close.

Storms can also be thoughtfully countered. Make sure trees and shrubs are kept pruned back from overhanging buildings if possible.  If you do have a bad storm approaching, taking outside furniture and toys inside is essential. Even consider sinking plastic toys and equipment in the pool if you don’t have a secure lock up.

Watch for caterpillars and fungal problems and, last but by no means least, mulch, mulch, mulch to keep the soil cool and weeds at bay if you haven’t already done so.

SUNDAY-BEST-HOME

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