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Here we go again, another summer has crept up on us and already we are donning the shorts and sandals and perhaps a pretty hat to keep the sun off our tender parts. This means another ‘batten down the hatches’ in the plant kingdom as they do not have the benefit of being able to make a wardrobe change, so whilst some will inevitably wilt and curl, others will thrive. So as garden guardians, it’s down to us to keep our beds hydrated and protected from the elements. We might only be just over two hours by plane from the UK, but the extreme change in weather is so apparent. The British ‘summer’ often gets well disparaged for its lack of Vitamin D, yet more and more I am seeing the familiar Mediterranean fauna being mainstream gardens in the UK and on show at many garden events there. No more so than at Chelsea this year, where one of our particular favourites was, Manoj Malde and his Silver Gilt Medal winning design entitled Beneath a Mexican Sky - although it could just as well have been called ‘Beneath a Mediterranean Sky’. It’s wonderful to see the Arbutus unedo on display and thriving there, and also being sold in regular garden centres too. Obviously, the plant kingdom - just like us - adapts to a new environment. This is evolution for you. But it’s fascinating to now see bougainvilleas, jasmines, cannas, lantana, hibiscus, the lavenders and a range of aloes and agaves looking quite beautiful during the UK summer, albeit having less heat and a bit more rain! This will increase the landscape designers repertoire there and as such, I applaud them for creating micro climates within the garden to accommodate these species, and I for one would love to see the regular garden centres having a more diverse stock to choose from. Back to the Mediterranean, and I have managed to plant my frangipani outdoors for the first time this year and was so pleased that it survived the Portuguese winter. By studying the summer heat and gauging the cooler winters, I’ve positioned it in a warmer pocket with a Grevillea robusta as a protective backdrop fleece. It still loses some foliage during the cooler season but apart from that it thrives. My next challenge will be proteas, tree ferns and the tropical gingers! So, we move into one of our summer editions. We are very pleased to have an extensive report on the recent Chelsea Flower Show and once again thank Manoj for his input with our quick-fire Q & A session. We also wish all the best to our regular writer Kevin G Scales, who is literally moving onto pastures new into the gardener’s delight of Madeira. We very much hope that once he has settled, he can give us some updates once on his new garden there. Sadly, we are also having to cope without the wonderful Zahrar Nasir for the moment, as ill health has meant she needs to take a short sabbatical. I’m sure you will join us in wishing her a speedy recovery and hope to see her again very soon. So, once again, I wish you a warm if not hot, introduction to the latest issue, and suggest it might be time to switch from the usual red to a cooler white as you settle back and read the new edition.
"Congratulations on such a good read" "Funny, but still very informative" "Cant wait for my next issue"