How to survive summer
It's easy, surely? Summer is the season that most people look forward to. Long, warm days with sunshine and plenty of opportunities for sitting and dining outdoors. But what if summer is a time of sneezing, itching and torment? Perhaps you spend your leisure hours seeking respite from relentless sunshine because you crave to be cool. Your plants might be wilting; your annuals could be drooping and all the colour seems to be fading away to burnt umber.
Summer can bring some unexpected problems for many people who suffer from allergies.
Your garden is in your own hands. There are ways of coping with the seasons, both hot and cold. Its all about planning ahead. It If you want to make the most of your garden this summer you might have to make some quick adjustments to give you temporary relief, but if its a long-term refuge you are seeking, this is the perfect time to plan next years summer garden.
Be sure to dead-head perennials such as Veronica and Salvia in order to prolong the flowering season. You can encourage them to flower all summer long. Click the photo to view the plant.
Expect the unexpected
If theres one thing you can predict here in the UK, its the unpredictability of the climate.
Today might be hot enough to make you head for the shade with an iced glass of water. Tomorrow could be windy and rainy and youll be battling with stakes and supports while all around you disintegrates into chaos. The mode of being accepting is the best way to cope as this allows you to develop strategies to improve the way you deal with things.
Don't allow the rain to stop you enjoying the garden. Or the summer!
How to do it
If its too hot for you right now, find simple ways to make it better. Shade sails are one of the easiest ways to create cool havens in a garden. They simply fix to tall posts; trees or rings bolted to the side of the house. There are sail shades that create dappled shade and others that are waterproof and they also protect from UV light.
A simple shade sail can bring huge relief to those looking for a shady seating spot in the garden.
There are also roll-out awnings that can be fitted above windows and doors of a property. If this sounds like too much trouble, garden umbrellas give instant
relief. Select somewhere in the garden that catches any slight breeze and retreat under the umbrella when the sun is high.
Instant relief from sunshine: the humble garden umbrella gives immediate shade.
Longer term shade can be created by building pergolas
or planting appropriate trees and shrubs. Some of the weeping forms of tree such as ornamental cherries, grafted onto a standard stem, can eventually create a charming, shady area beneath which will be perfect for a seat.
Who could resist sitting down under these shady trees on a sunny day?
Always consider the angle of the sun if you are planting to create shade. Youll need to ensure the shade is cast on your own garden and not your neighbours. A tree or some tall bamboo
planted on the eastern side will cast shade to the west during the morning but by the time the hottest part of the day arrives, the cool shade will only be found on the northern side of the tree.
These shady steps look highly inviting.
Allergies in the summer garden
It is said that hay fever
and similar allergies might affect up to 30 million people within the next 20 years. Pollution, pollen, climate change and modern-day living is thought to be responsible. Hay fever in middle aged people is increasing every year. People are suddenly developing a reaction to grass, tree and weed pollen and according to charity Allergy UK, the rise in numbers of new sufferers is explosive.
Bless you! More and more people are suffering from allergies - especially hay fever.
An immune response to a trigger is all about protecting the body against things that are considered to be foreign proteins. People can develop a reaction unexpectedly, after years of being tolerant. The allergen might not have changed but the bodys ability to tolerate it is the difference.
Pollen can be highly irritating to people suffering from allergies. The garden can thus become a hazardous place!
Scientists suspect that our cleaner environment might be part of the problem as we are no longer exposed to so many microbes, bacteria and viruses which enable us to develop a strong immune system.
Diet is also held to account. Too much sugar changes the balance of helpful flora and fauna in the gut and the digestive system acts almost like a second brain which controls the body responses.
Look after your gut and the rest will look after itself. Most of us eat far too much sugar.
Pollution has increased as summers become warmer and there are higher concentrations of ozone, nitrous oxides and other pollutants. The pollen count is also on the increase. You therefore need to find your own triggers and do your best to avoid them. For example, if you mow your lawn regularly it will prevent the grass sward releasing pollen (from mid-May through to July) and you can choose not to plant high-pollen perennials in your garden so that you can keep the triggers at arms length.
Avoid flowers with lots of pollen if you are one of the increasing number of people who have problems with intolerance.
Visit Perfectplants.co.uk for garden inspiration this summer.