Cape Town - Colour provides instant impact in the garden, whatever the season.
With colour one can make a bold statement or create a restful atmosphere. Pastel shades are easy on the eye, while brighter, fiery tones produce a more dramatic effect.
Bright colours can be used to attract the viewer’s attention to a certain area of the garden, then draw the eye to other places of interest through shape and texture.
Hard landscaping, garden furniture, walls and ornaments provide permanent colour, while flowers blooming in a particular season can be used to enhance or change the look to anything you fancy.
Bold feature walls
A dull wall can be instantly transformed into a feature with a coat of paint in a colour of your choice. The colour will depend on the style of your home and the design of your garden.
Colours have an impact on how we perceive distance. Cool colours recede, while brighter tones pull forward. If you have a small garden, choose a light colour to make the space appear bigger. Softer tones will also lighten a shady corner of the garden or create a relaxing retreat, a place for reflection.
When choosing paint for a garden wall, always purchase a washable exterior paint with UV resistance to prevent fading.
Bright containers or ornaments
Give your old containers new life by painting them up in various colours. Small containers can be regularly updated with a coat of paint, according to the season and what flowers are blooming in your garden at the time. Brighten a winter garden with bold purples, vibrant yellows or electric orange.
Choose a garden ornament in a brilliant colour, something that stamps your personality on the space, and adds interest.
Vibrant winter annuals
Planting winter and spring flowering annuals is a cost-effective and quick way to add colour to the garden. Seed trays and colour bags are now available at your local nursery.
Annuals come in different shapes, sizes and colours. Some are low-growing, others are of medium or taller height. Low-growing annuals are best used as edging in the border, while taller varieties can be used to create layers in the back. Fill your colourful containers or plant up a hanging basket for vertical interest.
What to plant
For a sunny spot: alyssum, calendula, candytuft, cornflower, dianthus, bokbaaivygie or Livingstone daisy (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis), godetia, Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule), Namaqualand daisies (Dimorphotheca sinuate), lavatera, lobelia, nemesia, ornamental kale, petunia, phlox, snapdragons, stocks, sweet pea (sow seeds now) and viola.
For light shade: English daisy (Bellis perennis), foxgloves, larkspur, forget-me-nots, pansies, fairy primula (Primula malacoides), primrose and poor man’s orchid (Schizanthus pinnatus).
How to plant seedlings
* After purchasing seed trays, place them in a shaded spot and water well before planting.
l Check the plant label as to where the seedlings should be planted and follow these instructions – either full sun or semi-shade.
* Dig over the bed to about 15cm. Break up any hard soil clods and remove weeds or grass shoots.
* Add compost and dig in well.
* Add a sprinkling of bone meal and fertiliser for seedlings. Rake over.
* Push the seedling out from the bottom of the tray, through the drainage holes, and gently lift out. Never tug from the top.
* To plant, make a hole in the same depth as the seed tray.
* Close the hole. Don’t pack too much soil around the stems, but press soil down firmly around the base of the plant.
* Water well with a fine sprinkler or watering can.
* Look after your annuals. Water regularly, but don’t over-water. Provide the plants with nutrients through the flowering season. A fortnightly application of liquid fertiliser (depending on the product you choose) is usually sufficient.
* Deadhead regularly to encourage more blooms.
Kay Montgomery, Independent HOME