Tricks of the trade

Gardening Australia - - GSPRECAITAGLAPRLDAECNES -

If you live in a hot cli­mate and would like to cre­ate a gar­den like Deryn’s, here are some of her tips to help you make it a success.

Un­der­stand your mi­cro­cli­mate Work out the dif­fer­ent mi­cro­cli­mates around your gar­den, and plant ac­cord­ingly. Deryn grows fuch­sias, hy­drangeas, gera­ni­ums and be­go­nias in a bed in dap­pled shade be­side the front ve­ran­dah.

All of th­ese would fry over sum­mer in the more ex­posed parts of the gar­den. Drought-hardy plants are cho­sen for the ex­posed ar­eas.

Con­di­tion the soil Like most Perth gar­den­ers, Deryn is on sandy soil. As well as reg­u­larly adding com­post and mulch, 10 years ago she be­gan in­cor­po­rat­ing kaolin clay, which has sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced wa­ter re­pel­lency, and im­proved wa­ter and nu­tri­ent re­ten­tion. More re­cently, she’s been adding biochar, which helps pre­vent nu­tri­ents from leach­ing.

Use wa­ter ef­fi­ciently Given that Perth has year-round wa­ter re­stric­tions (twice weekly wa­ter­ing on mains and three times with a bore, with no wa­ter­ing al­lowed dur­ing win­ter months), the care­ful use of wa­ter is es­sen­tial. Deryn uses high-ef­fi­ciency sprin­klers to wa­ter the lawn and gar­den beds, and drip ir­ri­ga­tion for all the pots. Th­ese are reg­u­larly checked to make sure they al­ways re­main in good work­ing or­der.

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