Welcome to 2012…………… I believe an exciting year in the garden!!

People are so much busier and want a pretty but easier garden to maintain. Water wise gardening and environmentally friendly gardens are in. We are
all so much more aware of our surroundings, birds, trees, flowers and veggie gardening. All good stuff………….lets keep up the momentum until we have converted the country into being more considerate and concerned about our environment.

December/January has been a wet time here in Joburg so with all this rain comes all sorts of gardening issues.

Hopefully everyone has remembered to switch off the irrigation.

Watch out for the various bugs that pop up right now and control them. The biggest problem are snails and slugs as they love this weather and eat up
all the special plants. There is an organic snail bait which works well but remember to collect all the snail shells afterwards. Alternatively, put a large pipe in the garden about a foot long and able to put a small saucer inside. Then put some beer in this and the snails will go in and drink the beer and they die. This is an easy way to collect the shells. The eggs remain in the shell and will hatch out, that is why you need to collect the shells.

Kikuyu lawn hates too much water and starts to rot in certain areas so you need to let it dry out as much as you can and do not feed at this stage as it will only promote more growth and mowing is rather difficult with all the rain so just wait for the sun to come out and give it a really good ‘low’ cut and feed with 3:1:5

Make a few ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ in your garden.

  • Simplify the design
  • have less lawn to maintain
  • use less plant varieties
  • plant more indigenous and even try ‘endemic’
  • use water cautiously and wisely
  • mulch as much as possibly

Just a few guidelines for this time of the year……………….

− it is now time to start thinking about what plants and bulbs to be planted for the winter garden. If sowing from seed then these must be planted in trays now so that they will be ready for the winter planting around Easter. Think of things like : primula, antirrhium, aquilegia, pansies, etc.

− still time to plant some veggie plants before the end of winter e.g. beans, spinach, beetroot, basil, coriander, and parsley. Try some Potatoes. They are easy to grow and you can still harvest before winter. Tomato plants will be OK and still enough time to ripen but not later than the end of this month.

− Take cuttings of fuchsias, daisies, lavender, geraniums, salvia and hydrangea.

− divide perennials like agapanthus, daylilies, altstroemeria,

− Collect seed of the agapanthus and daylilies. Aggies grow very easily from seed. Also Eucomis (Pineapple flower).

− Deadhead roses and feed with bonemeal, 5:1:5 and Epsom salts.

− Check roses for mildew and black spot. Spray if necessary.

− Prune shrubs but NOT spring flowering varieties such as Cape May

− Fertilise lawn.

Have a wonderful 2012 filled with much laughter, peace and good health.!!