Spring is in the air! Trees are blossoming, delicate green leaves are beginning to make an appearance, nests are being built and the days are getting longer. Spring is always welcome, particularly after a hard, cold winter. It also happens to be the best time of year to get stuck back into the garden and get it ready for the warmer months. No matter how big or small your garden is, the following are a few gardening ideas for making the most of it this spring.
Give your lawn a spring makeover
Your lawn will probably need quite a lot of attention after winter. Frost, dry air, hungry birds (and possibly snow) can wreak havoc on a lawn and leave it looking dead, ugly and even bare in some areas. One of the first things to do to improve your lawn after winter is sweep away any dry, dead leaves which can block the sun from reaching it. Once your lawn is clear of leaves, carefully spread a layer of top soil over the grass, water it profusely and re-seed areas which have died off. Not only does top soil give your lawn a boost, it improves drainage and drought resistance and reduces the need for supplemental fertilisers.
Spring clean your spring garden
It’s hard to stay involved with your garden during the winter months due to the cold and the fact that there’s not much going on growth wise. Chances are piles of leaves have accumulated around your garden, weeds have sprouted where they shouldn’t have and certain plants have died off entirely. August is the time to give your garden a proverbial spring clean which will pave the way for the warmer months. Start by raking up old plant litter and debris, de-weed where necessary, prune or remove any dead vegetation and start preparing your beds for new plants. While you’re preparing your garden, don’t forget to fill up the bird feeder too as many birds will need extra nourishment for the breeding season.
Once you’ve prepped your lawn and cleaned out your garden you can begin to take stock and decide exactly what you want to do with your garden and what you would like to get out of it. Perhaps you are happy with the existing layout. Perhaps you feel a change is necessary. Maybe you would like to install a water feature, add a braai area or start a vegetable garden. Whatever you decide to do, plan well in advance before implementing changes as you could end up making expensive mistakes which could also ruin your garden.
Choose the right plants
According to those in the know, there are certain plants and flowers which do better in certain parts of the country at this time of year.
For instance, in Limpopo, gardeners should plant celosia, snapdragons and marigolds. In the Eastern Cape, now is the time to plant amaryllis, pineapple lily, begonia, geraniums and marigolds. In the Western Cape, pincushions, clivias and chamelaucium are the way to go. Colourful daisy varieties are recommended for gardeners in Mpumalanga while marigolds, cosmos, sunflowers and cleomes are but a few of the plants which will do well in Kwa-Zulu Natal gardens. In the Free-State, it’s prime time for roses and pelargoniums.
If vegetables are your thing, now is the time to start planting beetroot, baby marrows, carrots, parsley, rhubarb, runner beans, sweet corn and pumpkins amongst many other summer type vegetables.
If you are unsure about which plants, vegetables and/or flowers you should plant in August, simply speak to your local nursery which should be able to guide you accordingly. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to try as far as possible to plant indigenous plants and ensure that they are well watered.