1. Start the day earlier than usual. We have been getting up with the larks and starting work at 7 – 7.30am. This means that we are still out working in the hottest part of the day but we get to knock-off early and go for a paddle or a swim.
2. The sun seems to be directly over-head so finding any shade is difficult in the heat of the day. Yesterday we found quite a lot of weeding, pruning and dead-heading plants right under the apple trees. That was great except occasionally banging our heads on the lower branches – but at least we were cool so it was worth it!
3. Keep looking for shade: we counted ourselves lucky to find several Philadelphus shrubs that had recently finished flowering and were in semi shade and needed pruning.
4.Watering is vital at the moment. In one garden we had the hose going and every so often I would soak the ‘Babes with Spades’ to cool them off. You’ve got to have fun in the sun… (well thats what I told them)
5.If you are lucky to have a moat in your garden(!) dive in there – just as Martin our key Veg grower did today (although he wouldn’t let me take a picture)
6. Luckily we have woodland patches to work in too, so if you have a wooded area, there is still maintenance to do there at this time of year. We were cutting down the Giant Hogweed that is flowering at the moment. A stunning architectural weed that you really don’t want to self seed around as it is rampant and so difficult to get rid of once established, without spraying with chemicals. We found a great use for the hollow stems of the plant that, when cut into pieces, can become great ‘Bee Hotels’. Video to watch here:
7. Work for short bursts in the sun making sure to be completely covered up, smothered in factor 30 sun cream and drinking plenty of water. We wear hats all the time.
8. We found ourselves being extremely thorough weeding and scraping moss off a flight of garden steps leading to a bench (Both being in the cool cool shade). The area had been neglected for a while as there always seem more important jobs to do. Sometimes moss is left on stone walls, brickwork or stone paths and perhaps timber benches because we think it gives it a ‘rustic charm’, however, nine out of ten times that we scrape it all off, they actually looks much better. What a relief.
9. If you have to work in the sun, try and avoid any paved areas which absorb the heat and throw it back at you, best to opt for jobs where you can stand or sit on the grass (and preferably an area that you have just soaked with the hose) – Well, I have to take back this piece of advice as I found out you shouldn’t soak your lawn in a heat wave. The reason is it encourages roots to grow near the surface and the when they dry out the lawn looks even worse. So either continually soak your lawn or not at all! There are no half measures…
10. Pace yourself through the day. There is no point trying to rush around to get things done or you will crash and burn. If you take a moderate pace choosing appropriate jobs, all through the day drinking plenty of water, you will have an enjoyable productive outcome and go home happy.