Keep Your House Cool In Summer! - Nov 03, 2023

Dear gardening friends
Klara Bosch from Lynwood Park Rural Fire Brigade contacted me recently to ask if I'd like to plant a shade tree form them? "Well yes, I'm sure I could" was my reply.

I planted an Illawarra Flame tree today. It just seemed so right that a Fire Station should have a Flame tree!!!!

The soil was rock hard, I needed help to break up the ground. It was bone dry so we added Tim's Best Potting mix with the existing soil and we applied Wettasoil to make the dry soil accept water. We mulched around the tree with Pine bark, to help stop the moisture evaporating.

They had an interesting way of watering trees. When they said they were getting the hose, I wasn't expecting a Fire hose.

I was happy to help them, these volunteers do amazing work for the community, and it's looking like it's going to be a real fire season.

Pictured here are some of the crew including Klara Bosch, Mal Alexander, Mike Richards, Scott Ible and James Derrick. Photos by crew member Jayden Daniel.

Maybe every Fire station should have a Flame tree. They are Australian native and easy to grow.

About 35 years ago I got paid to plant these Jacaranda trees. Jason Simpson was my apprentice at the time, we worked so hard that day. The owner of the building paid us, he wanted super advanced trees, he wanted us to plant them. It was a hot day.

We dug the first hole in about half an hour, the soil was rock hard clay. We nearly died that day.

The trees were super advanced, so we had to dig huge holes. I've never planted super advanced trees since.

As we were digging the pedestrians gave us lots of advice, "You're wasting your time, these trees will only get vandalised."

Queen street was alive in those days, so we got lots of comments. The tree choice wasn't ours. We planted 5 Plane trees on Queen street.
They got replaced later, the huge leaves drove shopkeepers crazy in autumn.

But two of the Jacarandas have survived. I noticed they removed the pavers and concreted recently. I hope they use Crushed Granite around the trunks this time instead of Asphalt. Crushed Granite let's the water into the soil. It helps stop the roots lifting the paving.

Every time these Jacarandas flower, I think about that day. I wonder if Jason still remembers.

The Grape Vines around Long Track Pantry in Jugiong, are sprouting fresh new growth. Every winter they get cut back to the main trunk.

They grow so fast in spring, the foliage covers the verandah by summer, and it's ready to cool down the guests with much needed shade.

It gets so hot here but these Grape vines shade the verandas and it just looks so cool and inviting. The leaves cool the air for free, there's no air conditioner here, no fans. It's just nature.

Grape vines could easily be used around suburban houses too. If you've got a western or northern facing patio then plant a Grape vine. All you need is a post for support.
The tendrils will find support.

In summer you'll get fruit.
You'll get a lovely shady spot to sit.
It's so easy to achieve this look.

We have all your favourite Grape varieties in the nursery today. Huge plants cost $39.99.
We have the seedless varieties like Sultana Grapes. We have non fruiting varieties too. Now is the best time to plant them.

The more summer shade you can get planted around your house, the cooler the air will be. It's so simple.

My pool was full of leaves this morning. It was full of leaves yesterday too. These leaves come from my Magnolia tree, so I'm not chucking tantrums, and blaming my neighbours. I'm not blaming the tree either.

When it gets this dry, trees drop leaves. They can't sustain this much foliage, when there's less water in the soil, so they drop up to 50% of their leaves to survive.

If we don't get rain soon, then the tree will continue to drop leaves. The leaves fall around the base of the tree as mulch, and this also helps the tree to survive.

If I water the tree, this will help it to keep its leaves. If you water your neighbours tree, it won't drop so many leaves either.

But I have noticed that these evergreen Magnolias are extremely thirsty trees. They love water. The big shiny green leaves transpire a lot of water. When it's dry they drop so many leaves. Check your trees out at home. Are they dropping leaves?

It's time to get the sprinkler out.
Hand watering just doesn't work when it gets this dry. Put a sprinkler on for 20 minutes and it really wets the soil.

Don't chop your tree down. Sometimes we make rash decisions when trees look their worst. When the rain comes these trees grow more leaves and help cool your house.

Ironically it rains the most in the suburbs that have the most trees. Isn't that interesting.

You should also look at your own Rose bushes.
They will have Aphids on the new growth.
If you don't spray them now the buds won't open properly, the petals will just fall off. It's a disaster.
You could spray with Pestoil or Eco oil but we've had more success with Pyrethrum. It works.
You could also use Yates Rose Gun. This contains an insecticide and a fungicide. It works.

Its also time to mulch your Roses with Tim's Cow Manure. This will make your soil hold more water, it will also attract worms into your gardens. Worms are natures gardeners. They aerate the soil and let more water in. They also poo in your garden and that makes amazing fertilser. One bag of Tim's Cow Manure will cover 3m2.
It makes your roses sprout more new growth so you get more flowers. It's magical.

No we don't sell 4 bags of Cow manure for $20.00. Our Cow manure isn't 25% Cow manure and 75% Recycled green waste. Our Tim's Cow Manure is real Cow manure. We only sell the best.

We have lots of Christmas colour. If you plant flowers now they will be peaking at Christmas time when the relatives come to visit. Use or Tim's Best Potting Mix to get the best results.
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Happy gardening