The flame tree outside Hervey Bay Library.
The flame tree outside Hervey Bay Library. Donna Gibbs

Keeping your cool, naturally

WALKING around the Bay I've noticed lots of trees flowering.

The jacarandas are particularly beautiful with their purple blooms, and now they are finishing, the poincianas are full of lovely red flowers.

I'm also seeing the frangipanis, which come in lots of colours now.

Yellow, white, pink, red and even a multicoloured called fruit salad.

My neighbour has a flame tree which is covered in big red flowers.


A stunning cluster of frangipanis.
A stunning cluster of frangipanis. Donna Gibbs

I must mention the tree in front of the Hervey Bay Library, which has been spectacular, although it has finished flowering too.

Flowering trees look great and if you have room and time.

There are lots to choose from to help create a layered flower display.

Trees are also an asset to the garden as they give shade to the lower, more delicate plants during the hot summer months.

Deciduous trees will let the light through in winter.

If you are going away for holidays you will need to protect your pot plants from the summer sun.

Moving them to the southern side of your house will help as this side receives the least sun.

Moving them underneath shrubs and trees will also keep them out of direct sun too.

A length of cloth with one end buried in your pot plant and the other in a bucket of water will keep plants hydrated.

Several plants can be served by the same bucket too.

A plastic soft drink bottle with holes punched in the lid will drip feed plants for a week or two.

A deep container half-filled with rocks and topped up with water is good to place plants on too.

Just remember when you get home to empty everything that still contains water or it will be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

One of my favourite things to do during these very hot months is to sit under the cottonwoods along the Esplanade and watch the ocean.

Trees act like evaporative coolers and it sometimes gets so cold under the cottonwoods I need to move out into the sun to stop shivering.

If you can't get down to the beach, put the sprinkler up in the tree. You won't be able to read a book but you'll cool down quickly.