It’s been really hot in the UK now for almost three weeks and we’ve all been very glad to be in shorts and sitting out in the garden at every given opportunity. I haven’t much envied the commuters to London – I know what it’s like to travel home in a train without air conditioning!
At times it’s actually been too hot and the only way to stay cool has been to sit in the shade or, dare I say it, stay indoors.
I was invited round for afternoon tea by my great friend, Vanessa Corrigan, last week as I’ve been helping her and her husband to revamp their garden. We sat on her terrace under the parasol, ate scones and drank tea…all very civilised, but in order to keep us a bit cooler, she had rigged up her fan outside – quite ingenious really!
After an hour or so we were roasting, even despite the fan, and I suggested that the best way to keep cool would be to move the seats to the shady part of the garden. It wasn’t until we moved that everyone realised what I was talking about.
Parasols are great for keeping the sun off but they don’t take the heat away. In fact, sometimes they even absorb the heat. The only true shade in a garden comes from the trees and sometimes the house or other buildings and structures.
A few years ago we planted a tree in our garden to filter the midday sun from our terrace because it was far too hot to enjoy a meal outside. We use a parasol as well, but the shade from the tree is much more effective at keeping us cool.
Our garden faces North East so we always have some shade, whatever the time of day. If I had a south facing garden I’d be sure to create some sort or shady area for these very occasions. Trees are invaluable, they provide structure, texture, attract wildlife and they keep you cool if and when the English Summer appears…what’s not to like about them!?