Things to do around the garden this month
Remove all the plants from an area, turn over the soil with a fork and rake level. If you have compost and fertiliser, this is the time to add it to the soil. Take the plants you have removed and split and divide them. Examples would be agapanthus, tulbaghia, crassula and dietes. By splitting these plants, you not only get more plants to work with but also it is healthy for the plants to be divided and replanted. If you have a selection of, say, 10 different plants, then this is also a time to put the plants back in different combinations, creating new interests in your garden. Once planted, water well. Luckily, we have had some rain this past week, so gardens and gardeners are happy.
If you have a large lawn, this is one way to get some exercise. I have been cutting my verge twice a week, so it is one happy lawn. The growth will start to slow down as the days get shorter and the weather cools but keep cutting at least once a week until the beginning of June. Do not cut too short as a thick healthy lawn will ensure a deep root system. Just remove the ends of the grass to reduce the stress on the lawns.
Prune shrubs and trees that are overgrown. This allows you to keep the plants in shape and to a size that fits your garden. My garden is due for a big prune because many of my shrubs are way too big and look untidy. Pruning stimulates growth so once you have cut back the shrubs, remove all the weeds and growth under them, and, if you have some compost and fertiliser, this is a good time to spread it around the root base. If you don’t have any compost, then get some leaves you have raked up and place them around the root ball. This reduces weed growth, keeps moisture in the soil and keeps the roots warm.
Many of the flowering trees, shrubs and groundcovers would have finished flowering and are now full of seed. Collect this seed and if you have some seedling trays, fill them with soil and sow them. It is fun to grow your own plants. If you have succulents then take cuttings and place them in trays and wait for them to produce roots. Once roots have been formed, you can transplant these into your newly created gardens.
This a great time to plant a veggie garden. I was at a supermarket in Kloof and they had lots of veggie and herb seedlings for sale. You can plant all these veggies or herbs, either in a garden you have created or, if you have a Löffelstein wall, you can plant these seedlings in those small gaps between the blocks.
Experiment by growing your own plants. I wrote an article a year ago on how to propagate your own. If you would like a copy of that article, please send me an email and I will send it to you. You can either propagate plants by sowing seeds or, the best way to propagate, is either by cuttings or divisions. It is so much fun to see a plant grow from a division to a fully grown plant. Those of you who live in Kloof and drive past the centre island near Stokers will remember what an unkempt island it used to be. Two of my staff removed most of the plants in the island, composted and fertilised the soil, took cuttings and divisions of plants from all the islands that The Kloof Project maintains, and replanted this island, which today looks fantastic. Don’t be shy to ask someone for a cutting or division of a plant you like for your garden. Gardeners, generally, are a generous bunch of people.The Independent on Saturday