Dianthus, pictured, cope well with heat. These oldfashioned charmers with plain green or blue-green leaves and single or double white, pink, claret, scarlet or rose flowers, with plain or fringed edgings to the petals, are wonderful subjects for pots, bordering paths and borders.
As well as the tropical hibiscus with brightly coloured blooms, there is a deciduous Hibiscus syriacus that has small blue-mauve flowers in summer. There are also pink and white forms. This is an upright shrub that is able to withstand colder weather.
Fertilise and water fruit trees deeply once a week in dry weather. Spray for fruit fly and pick up and destroy or bury fallen fruit that may be infested with the larvae of fruit fly. Support branches laden with fruit to avoid breaking in strong winds.
Is your garden too shady? Sometimes all that is needed is a little judicious cutting back of lower branches to allow light to reach plants or lawn. Do this on a sunny day so you don’t cut back too much.
Plants with grey foliage – lavender, Phlomis fruticosa, artemisia and westringia, blue Salvia “Victoria” and mauve-blue ageratum cultivars are great “coolers” when used in combination with orange marigolds.
Summer lettuce is best grown by direct sowing of seed. Keep the soil moist and harvest leaves when 5 or 6cm for salads.
When designing informal borders, use a hosepipe to shape the curves, remembering that gentle curves are more pleasing than lots of “ins and outs”.