Useful summer shade in Australian gardens is a must have … if we are going to enjoy them … right ? So if your Shade Hut faces north, you will also know low winter sun will shine under its roofing and to the back of the structure to make toasty winter seating for June/July when you need it. You might like to choose a hefty permanent climber, to ensure a nice cool high summer refuge, that’s spared burning sun for the greatest part of the year … no?
Enter African Whytei’s Ginger (Mondia whytei) from sub-tropical Malawi and its luxurious glossy canopy, perfect for shade. Beneath the leaves open to easy view, hang dark cherry bunches of rather ornamental December flowers. Tends semi deciduous for the first couple of winters and fairly evergreen after that, with surging ropey leaders that would easily cover a 10 m wide structure.
For a smaller Shade Hut less than 5 meters across but still facing north, consider gorgeously sci-fi Gold Fingers (Juanaloa aurantiaca) from tropical Mexico. Usefully winter deciduous to allow June/July sun through, the stiffly arching habit is more climber/shrub than an entirely support dependent climber. Woody stems bare terminal bunches of curiously 5 sided hoods, concealing jaffa orange flower tubes that burst through each end. The slightest tap on the hoods release puffs of pollen and I notice there must be a symbiosis with a few ants that probably defend flowers from predators in return for nectar.
And at the small evergreen twiner end is Mexican Fire Vine (Senicio confusus ) a bright, dainty light creeper that I find useful for covering one end of the laser cut panel that holds the Shade Hut’s N/W side up. Very butterfly attracting, I notice this would probably self seed a few little plants to give away to friends for its charming ultra orange summer daisies.
So if you’re finding more use would be made of the garden, if only there were somewhere comfortable to relax out of the fierce sun; I’m sure together, we could work out the perfect Shade Hut to make your dream garden even better 🙂
Peter Nixon – Paradisus … or call 0418 161513