Summer’s in the air

Summer’s in the air

Long days, warm sun, hot days and the beach. We all love summer.

How do gardens help us to relate to warm weather and evoke these positive vibes?

I think we draw inspiration for these casual style gardens from warm resorts/gardens overseas and the north of Australia. But bright colours, with no shade and the sun bearing down, I often find some of the true tropical gardens too hot looking. Trees and shade are vital in our hot climate and gardens need relief too.

So I cheat a bit and choose plants that look resorty and tropical, though are suited to sun and shade and also to a wider range of climates. Large leaf plants are always good and I like Vriesia imperials, who’s foliage is very dramatic and it contrasts with any plant it’s near. Cardamon, is another favorite with bright mid green leaves, it’s good in sun and some shade and will give you that tropical vibe.

I find that some succulents also evoke the casual vibe and form can be a great contrast with other plants. Try the common Agave attenuata, Crassula Gollum and Agave desmettiana.

Exotic looking Cycads are another plant that are quite tolerant of different climates. Its flower fragrances often jolt the memory into action and remind us of warmer weather. Maybe it’s Star Jasmine climbing a wall or the sweat smell of Gardenias.

By far the quintessential plant that looks tropical and subtly releases its perfume is the Frangipani. Available in red, pink, white yellow and mixture of all these colours, I like to use it in casual groves that reinforces the tropical theme.

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