Get out in the garden and have some fun!
I often hear people say, ‘I’m not a gardener’, my reply is you don’t have to be a gardener to enjoy spending time outside and growing a few flowers or edible plants. This year, more than ever the importance of being able to connect with a hobby, such as growing plants can never be underestimated. Gardening is a sure way to lose a few hours and proven to be effective stress relief. If you have only just discovered the joys of gardening through lockdown and the upcoming spring will be your first follow these easy tips to ensure your plants or garden will be looking gorgeous right throughout summer.
Tips for discovering your garden!
- Notice changes in the environment and the changes in the shadows. As the sun lifts in the sky, plants that were previously in the shade are suddenly exposed to the sun or vice versa. If you have plants in pots, depending upon the variety can benefit from being moved to a more suitable position.
- Take 5 minutes out of your day to wander the courtyard, backyard or balcony, preferably with a cup of tea in hand. The benefit of taking a few minutes out of the day is not only for you, but for the plants. The power of observation is a wonderful thing, by slowing down and dead heading spent flowers or plucking a few leaves, you will get to notice what is normal or unusual. By noticing earlier rather than later often disasters can be averted. The power of observation is a wonderful thing.
- Select the varieties of plants that will grow in your aspect and climate. No point in making life hard for yourself, particularly if you are starting out.
- Regular liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed is a must, particularly if your garden is in pots. We expect a lot from our plants growing in a confined soil area. These plants will benefit from fortnightly applications will produce strong healthy growth more resistant to attack from pests or disease. If you are unsure of what fertiliser to use on your garden or a particular variety of plant check out our guide on all you need to know about fertilisers.
Garden design tricks!
Good garden design doesn’t have to cost the earth and with a little forethought a simple makeover can have the hallmarks of experts. Follow these easy ideas for budget busters.
- Shape a lawn or turfed area with a clearly defined mower edge. Use blocks or paving.
- Mass plantings of similar varieties of plants. It is more effective to select fewer varieties of plants and repeat the plantings.
- Focus on foliage rather than flowers. Use flowers as an accent in the garden rather than the primary reason the plant was selected.
- Paint is cheap and a quick way to update accessories. Dark colours make an area appear larger. Use dark green or black for fences. It will give the illusion of the fence disappearing. Plant dark green foliage in front of the fence.
- Place large pots together in multiples of 3 or 5. This is more appealing in odd numbers.
- Reuse old furniture. A coat of paint and some creative alternative uses, E.g. a garden bench becomes a shelf for pots will add additional interest to the garden area.
- Level paving or slabs, even simple concrete slabs will look good if laid correctly.
- Choose large hanging baskets for spring and plant up with waterwise varieties such as hanging succulents.
- Outdoor lights add a magical glow to the night garden. Low voltage, solar or battery strings are all great alternatives to traditional outdoor lighting.
- Grow edible plants in large pots, not only do these look attractive they are productive as well.
- A few strategically planted trees will draw your eye upward, following the foliage, making the outdoor space appear larger.
As building blocks shrink in size and the want to grow our own food increases many of us are eyeing off the verge as a potential location for a productive garden. It’s a great use of space, but its important to remember that this land remains the property of the local government and if they need to change or excavate, they have the right to do so.
All the more reason why planting varieties that are quick and easy to grow has more appeal than slower species. Local Governments are keen to see residents beautifying their verge and are usually supportive of most gardens if you follow a few simple guidelines.
- Don’t plant any varieties that will grow higher than 50cm (trees excepted)
- In the case of adjoining footpaths, foliage can’t grow over and impact a pedestrian walkway.
- In a public area avoid planting varieties that are known to cause allergies.
- Many local governments require a quick sketch plan of changes proposed. They may also ask for information on varieties being planted.
- In the case of a productive food garden the secret to success is in the soil. Start improving the soil way before the garden is ready to be planted. It will pay off in the long term.
The slug is a destructive pest that quietly goes about devouring its dinner at night and is often overlooked. They are out in full force this month and are the masters at avoiding destruction. With a little extra moisture around they are highly active. One of the easiest ways of controlling them is follow the silvery trails they leave behind. Invest in a quality head torch, grab a container of salt and head to the garden. Check the underside of the leaves as this is usually where they hide and pluck and drop into the salt. Don’t ever be lulled into a false sense of security, even a small slug can devour the lettuce overnight.