Rain dance? Praying for rain? Whatever works for you – please do it! As I write this we are all a little desperate for rain in our paddocks and gardens across the central west. Keeping our gardens alive is probably the highest priority under the current conditions and good mulch on the soil surface is a very important step in that direction. Lucerne hay or pea straw mulches have always been my favourites, but any organic matter spread across the soil surface at 5 to 10cm depth is better than nothing.
Colour in the garden at this time of year can be a bit of a challenge, but if you look around some of the district’s best gardens you’ll see lovely floral colour from roses, dahlias, sunflowers, canna lilies, buddleias, salvias and penstemons. Buddleias are tough and grow well across our region but need to be given a good prune each spring to stop them getting woody and leggy. There are some new dwarf forms of buddleia (growing to 1m high) that come in a range of lovely colours from velvet to ivory white.
Summer garden colour doesn’t just come from flowers of course. Some deciduous trees provide beautifully contrasting leaf colour, even before we get to the autumn season. In my garden, we have golden leaf robinias and elms and purple leaf beech and maples (crimson sentry) their leaves provide striking contrast to the greenery of most other trees and shrubs at this time of year.
By Ian Rogan