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Urban Greening: Maintaining Your Garden and Your Health

Photograph courtesy of the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne

 

Did you know that on a hot summer’s day, the temperature in Fern Gully is significantly lower than the temperature in the middle of the city, even though it’s less than 1 km away? This is a fact confirmed by our neighbours at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne who conduct meticulous research on the positive impact greenspaces can have on human health and the climate.

In particular, ‘urban greening’ is the positive effect of high-density of greenery, which results in an overall lower temperature for the area compared to parts of the city full of just roadways and industrial building materials. Introducing plants to one’s home life not only improves personal vitality in the form of better air quality, enabling carbon sequestration, and also wider community benefits such as mitigating the rising temperature and flooding (by slowing runoff and absorbing water).

Here are a few things to consider when maintaining your garden:

Ensure your plants have access to water and shade

Though cacti and succulents are often advertised as low maintenance plants because of their water-saving properties, they’re not great at cooling and therefore won’t do well if there are drought conditions. Ensure you know when to water your plants, and adjust accordingly depending on the weather changes — more often when conditions are dry and hot, and less after when there’s rain. If you are not home during a long period of time when conditions are hot, it would be best to invest in some shade for your garden or use plants which have good self-cooling properties and are drought-resistant.

Watch for weeds and pests

“Weeds can impact growth in your garden for seasons to follow, so not only do they look ugly, they’re not great for the overall health of your garden. Effective weed control will reduce the number of weeds in your garden for years to come, so don’t ignore them,” says Cranbourne Gardens Horticulturist, John Arnott. In some parts of the country, summer weeds can be a big problem, especially if they’re not nipped in the bud before they seed. Pests can also become a problem if not properly eradicated in the first instance, so don’t sit on it and act before it’s too late. Check out how the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne specialists deal with pests.

Adjust to colder weather

Gardening in summer and winter require a change of tact as the seasons change. It’s a good idea to clean up any autumn leaves lingering around your garden with a blower or blower vac, and they can also smother your smaller plants. Make sure your plants are tolerant of damp soil if exposed during the winter, as they can be prone to getting boggy otherwise. The best veggies to plant over winter are legumes or brassicas such as broccoli and cauliflower. Steer clear of warm-weather plants, such as hibiscus and palms during this time.

 

For more information on urban greening, check out this article by our friends at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.

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