Tricks of the trade
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.