Now is as good a time as any to take charge of your garden, writes Marchelle Abrahams.
The leaves are turning green and soon your garden will be awash in the joys of spring. The question is: are you?
Many homeowners tend to neglect their outdoor area during the colder months, and rightly so – no one wants to take a chance with a lawnmower and a lightning storm.
But as the days get longer and warmer, your garden is waking up from months of flowering hibernation. Now’s the time to take charge.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Pruning is an activity that should occur at least once a year if you want a thriving, healthy garden. “Pruning contributes to producing more flowers, fruit and generally healthier-looking plants and trees,” says Garden Master’s Chané Hendricks.
It could be daunting for first time gardeners as the question will always be – how much is too much?
The first step to effective pruning is to ensure that you understand the make up of your garden, adds Hendricks. She says different trees and shrubs flower at different times of the year. Her rule of thumb: prune during winter as trees become dormant during this season.
“Don’t be afraid of cutting away all damaged, dead and dying branches. Before long, you’ll see new growth as plants extend their root systems and store food in them to support growing branches during growing season,” she notes.
Here’s a quick guide on when to prune different groups:
There are no set rules for when to prune but with deciduous flowering shrubs, it is important to prune according to their time of flowering.
FLOWERS IN LATE WINTER AND EARLY SPRING
Prune these shrubs in late October, this will allow for new growth during summer.
Examples: Chinese Bush Cherry, flowering quince and Japanese Rose
Hydrangeas should be pruned twice a year, in winter and summer.
Roses should not be pruned before mid-July in most regions of South Africa. Pruning late in July and early August is perfectly agreeable to the rose and delaying the pruning even further will result in the roses flowering later in October.
Spring is the perfect time to get the kids involved in some sort of gardening activity. Life is a Garden have come up with an ingeniously fun water garden project to keep them occupied and cool during the warmer days.
What you will need:
- A watertight basin or bucket, 30 to 40cm deep with a diameter of 60 to 90cm
- Topsoil, which contains clay (or simply, aquatic soil)
- Aquatic plants, such as water lilies, Acorus gramineus, floating aquatic plants and a variety of others
- 1 x Aquatic crate with lattice, fitting to the size of the plant you buy
- 1 x Terracotta pot
- Aquatic fertiliser
- Silica sand
- Bricks and/or pieces of bricks
- Plastic frog, duck and/or pink Water Lily
- Water to fill the container
1. Place your container on a table, and help your children to place the bricks in the position in which you are going to grow the water plants.
2. Show them how to fill the terracotta pot with aquatic soil, to about 3cm from the rim.
3. After adding a capful of fertiliser to the soil, plant the Acorus graminea – this is bright green grass that will grow particularly well in wet soil.
4. Fill the remaining area in the pot with silica sand, and place the pot on the large brick to create extra height for your water garden.
5. Repeat the process with the live water lily, placing this plant on the small piece of brick.
6. Pour in your water to fill your container and get your kids to decorate their lovely garden with ducks or pink plastic water lilies. Your new garden feature will pop with them floating on the water and kids will love playing with the ducks on the water.
When it comes to outdoor decor, there’s a renewed interest in natural materials and less geometric styles. Designers are harking back to old fashioned, DIY looks and smaller patio pieces because of space constraints.
Morbelli Furniture + Living outdoor collection includes furniture that is practical and easy to maintain, with a touch of bespoke luxury.
Hanging garden chairs are also now the trendy equivalent of hammocks. Shop for them online at @home which seems to have a large selection to choose from.
Life is a Garden: www.lifeisagarden.co.za
Garden Master: www.gardenmaster.co.za
Morbelli Furniture + Living: http://mobelli.co.za