With winter slowly fading, it is certainly time to start planning and planting for warmer weather. Remember, spring is literally on our doorstep and all garden centres are stocked with beautiful flowers, potplants and seedlings to help add instant colour, so don’t let your garden at home be left behind. This week The Lounge took to the nurseries in and around Windhoek to investigate and give its readers a few tips on how to make the season change over, not only with their wardrobes but also with their gardens as well.
This time of the year is considered the windiest months in most parts of Southern Africa with Namibia included, so don’t forget to stake newly planted trees and standards to prevent them from falling over or breaking due to the wind. This is also an excellent time to plant new roses.
If you are looking to add colour to your garden get your hands-on flowering snapdragon seedlings, both the tall and dwarf varieties. Also remember that you can still plant pansies and violas, which will flower till late summer if set out in cooler areas of the garden with morning sun and afternoon shade, there are different colours available at Ferreira’s Garden Centre Nursery so you will be able to choose the colours you like! Other loyalists to colour for now include dianthus and petunias, lobelias, begonias, gazanias, and marigolds. Marigolds can help in protecting your garden from pests.
Pruning is the physical act of trimming branches, leaves or dead matter from a plant. Typically, this is done to make the plant look more attractive. So, if you have not yet pruned your roses, remember that pruning late is better than not pruning at all.
Plants that especially need pruning include but are not limited to: Poinsettias, Plumbagoes, Tacoma’s, Hypericums, Solanums, Canary creepers, Golden showers and Buddlejas. This pruning encourages strong, lush spring growth. Don’t forget to mulch after pruning with a thick layer of compost to keep them cool ahead of the upcoming heat.
Hot tip: Company for roses, if your rose garden has just been pruned and you need a good companion plant to compliment your roses and add an extra spark to your garden, use parsley seedlings as a border. They enjoy the same growing conditions as roses do.
Add permanence and backbone to your garden. If in need of a small tree that will also tolerate some shade and will flower its heart out, plant the Mickey Mouse bush (Ochna serrulata) which produces the prettiest yellow flowers followed by berries that turn black when ripe. Garden wildlife adores it. If you are dreaming about a patio surrounded by a bunch of beautiful, sweetly scented flowers as well as gentle shade from the sun, but yours are looking like a basic afterthought attached to the house, you can add a softening effect with all the different jasmines available locally. Go for Chinese jasmine, Wild jasmine, Starry jasmine and Carolina jasmine.
When preparing new areas for planting, it helps to dig in one bag of compost and a handful of superphosphates (bone meal), plus a dressing of general fertiliser, into every 2m² of garden area. Perennials such as agapanthuses, dietes and hemerocallis (Daylily) demand little from the gardener, they however, multiply and become overcrowded after a while, which will constrain summer flowering. Dig them up and carefully divide them up for replanting over a larger area in your garden.
Inject new life to your indoor plants by cleaning their leaves with a wet cloth or leaf-wipe tissue, and giving each plant a diluted dose of liquid fertiliser. It is also vital to note that the hot months are ahead of us, so now is a good time to have your irrigation system checked out for faulty sprinklers or leaky pipes. If you are still dependent on the humble hosepipe, make sure to check for leaks, holes and also ensure that tap fittings and sprinklers are still around and all in a perfect working condition. They have a habit of disappearing in winter!