METRO PLUS

Summer shades

HORTICULTURISTS GROUP flowering trees into those that bloom in summer and those that bloom in the cool season. Both Neem or Margosa Azadirachta indica and `Odayam' Odina wodier (Lannea coromandelica) are summer flowering trees.

Neem trees start shedding leaves before the cool season is over and as summer nears the tree sheds almost all its leaves. By the time summer arrives the tree would have produced its pleasant green leaves and like green umbrellas they are ready to give the much-needed shade from the scorching sun. Flowers appear almost along with the new leaves.

Odina wodier on the other hand sheds its leaves on the arrival of the warm weather. By the time the temperature shoots up the tree will be bare and presents numerous light green tassels with minute yellowish green flowers that hang down from bare branches. The tree casts very little shade in summer and it is only after the flowers have fallen at the end of summer that the tree produces and covers itself with its leaves. In the colder months the tree is completely leafy and provides good shade.

Summer shades

Trees can be planted for various reasons— flowers, fruits or shade. If shade is the criteria, trees that are fully covered with leaves in summer such as Neem or `punyam' Pongamia pinnata should be chosen. If flowers are the necessity flowering trees like the Golden shower Cassia fistula or Gul mohur Delonix regia can be the choice.

Both the trees like Odina wodier are almost leafless in summer but they will later present an eye-catching show with their gorgeous flowers.

So add a few of these to provide the required shade in the garden this summer.

CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN