Don′t forget the sunscreen ... is the recommendation when we sunbathe. But while we have to rub on creams to protect us from the sun's rays, there are other living things in the garden that thrive in the scorching summer sun
Many of the plants with which we surround ourselves in the garden in summer originally hail from southern climes, where strong sun and high temperatures are common and suntan lotion is not an issue.
The garden′s social climber
Dipladenia or Mandevilla is a twining plant, and a really good climber with whom you can socialise while enjoying the summer sun in the garden. The plant thrives in bowls, pots or directly in the garden beds in a sunny spot. It is sold "with its hair up" on hangers or as a pyramid, but when the vines are given free rein the plant will gladly twine itself around branches, trellises or wattle fencing. In this way, you can give your garden your very own personal expression.
Dipladenia is a forgiving and hardy plant that does not require much care. Like the rest of us, it needs extra and more frequent water when the weather is very hot and dry. It is widely used as an all-year outdoor plant in southern Europe, while at our latitudes it can overwinter indoors in a bright, cool place.
A lush and exotic beauty
Bougainvillea is another exotic and popular companion in the summer garden, and spreads a real Mediterranean holiday atmosphere with its intense, strong colours and lushness. It is available in various colours, of which mauve and white are the most popular. The small flowers are in fact surrounded by coloured leaves, known as ′bracts′.
Bougainvillea is another inveterate sun-worshipper that will thrive in a sunny corner of the garden from June to September. You can easily get Bougainvillea to bloom several times in the course of the summer. If the plant is indoors it should be kept on the dry side, and this drying-out will start the plant flowering, while when the plant is outdoors it is the lower night temperatures that stimulate the flower buds.
Hibiscus - Sophisticated Lady
Hibiscus is the garden′s refined beauty, exuding sensuality and desert island ambience. It draws in sunlight and warmth, and should be handled accordingly. In recent years, Hibiscus has undergone considerable product development, which has resulted in exciting new varieties that are especially well-suited to planting in northern Europe.
Besides giving the garden a tropical, exotic element, these varieties can tolerate sun, rain and wind, and are therefore well-prepared to withstand the vagaries of the North European weather.