Seeking Oasis from the Heat of Day …

July 12th, 2011 § 4

While out watering the newest section of my garden this morning, I caught this toad —nestled amongst the cool, green & white, spotted leaves of Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry Splash’— waiting for his daily shower.

With temperatures soaring this week, watering potted plants, vegetables and annuals around my home —as well as the newly installed garden designs I manage for various clients— takes up quite a bit of my time. When Mother Nature doesn’t provide it, the plants in our domestic landscapes count on us for a regular supply of water. Be sure to give all potted plants a daily drink; especially hanging baskets, which may require more than one soaking on very hot days. And even if they were planted months ago, remember to provide new perennials and shrubs with an inch or more of water per week during dry spells. Try to water your garden in the early morning hours, and always saturate the soil deeply and thoroughly; setting your hand-held spray wand to ‘soak’ or ‘shower’ and focusing the water toward the base of the plant. Organic mulches help to conserve water —particularly well rotted compost, leaves, bark and other natural materials— by reducing evaporation and retaining soil moisture. Mulching plants also protects surface roots from the scorching summer sun. Soaker hoses or drip-irrigation systems placed at the base of the plant or beneath mulch work very well in gardens large and small, because they focus water at the root-zone, where plants need it.  Trees planted this year will be especially vulnerable during periods of dry weather. When installing new gardens, one of the landscape contractors I work with uses Treegator bags to keep large trees thoroughly hydrated throughout the growing season. I find that they work exceptionally well. And, if you’re planning to be away on vacation this summer, consider investing in a timer for your watering system.

Lemon-Mint Sun Tea in My Garden (Click Here or on Photo for Recipe Post)

And remember, while out caring for your garden, you need to hydrate and protect yourself from the sun as well! On bright summer days, I pull out my clear glass pitcher and make a batch or two of lemon-mint sun tea (click here for recipe post). I also have learned to wear a wide-brimmed hat and spf 30 sunscreen, as well as light, cool clothing. Mindful of the sun’s damaging rays, I usually opt for early morning and late afternoon gardening sessions at this time of year; reserving mid-day hours —between 11am and 3pm— for studio work and lunch.

That’s me, working in my friend Eve’s garden (photo by Eve’s daughter, Ivy).  When working outside in the sun, I always wear a lightweight hat to protect my skin.

Time to Refresh!

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