Early Summer

This is such a lovely time of the year. My favourite because the greens are still so fresh and pretty and all the summer flowers that have started look so bright after the dull winter months.

We have had strange weather conditions to the beginning of our summer with some days being quite chilly and other days really hot. Who knows what summer will bring. Whatever it is, I am sure we are all happy that summer is here.

Unfortunately the hail we have had in early spring and this past weekend caused havoc in so many gardens and our beautiful climbers like Wisteria had all their flowers knocked off so the show this year was not a good one. However, many other lovely climbers are putting on a fabulous show. Clematis, Petrea and Climbing roses. When the Banksia rose has finished flowering, cut back harshly as it is a rather rampant climber. In fact, after all the climbers have finished flowering cut back well because they do not like to be pruned in winter.

Prune spring flowering shrubs like Cape May, Mackaya Bella, Duetzia, Philadelphus, etc.

This is the time to pop down to the nurseries and get your fill of gorgeous summer colour. I treated myself to some Begonias, Petunias (for pots) and lots of seed packets so my garden is going to be a riot of colour this summer.

I have seeds dwarf Liliput Zinaa’s, Candytuft,’Love in the Mist’ (Nigella), Cornflowers, Fluffy Sunflowers, Lupins, Allysum and Nasturtiums. Seeds are inexpensive and go a long way to filling the garden and giving lots of cheerful colour. Don’t forget to collect seed at the end of summer so that you can share with friends or just use in your own garden.

I have also got a variety of perennials which will help to fill blank spaces. I have planted DayLilies, Alstroemeria, Centranthus (Valerian) Scabious and a selection of Salvias.

Now to settle back and enjoy summer.

Summer bulbs like Gladioli, Dahlias, Lilies, will be in the nursery and these bulbs will continue to give you pleasure in the garden for years to come so a good investment.

If leaves of Mackaya Bella, Hydrangea, Gardenia, etc, are looking yellow, give them a dose of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) and repeat this in about 8 weeks.

Roses are now coming into the first flush which is just the best of all. Start summer pruning roses now. This is done by ‘nipping’ out about a quarter of the flowers on the bush so that the process of new flowers will start on these stems and you will have a continued flowering period. Otherwise at the end of this flush there will be a period of no flowers so by nipping makes sure you have roses right through. Works well! Fertilise roses again at the end of the month with 5:1:5 and mulch well.

Fertilise lawn with slow release fertiliser. Watch out for lawn crickets and use ‘soap’ to kill them. Dissolve some Omo in a bucket and pour over the holes that the crickets make. They come to the surface as the soap kills them. Continue to do this every 3 weeks to break the cycle.

Last year I spoke about Compost Tea so would like to remind you all how good this is for your plants and so easy to do. If you have a spare ‘wheelie bin’ or a large 100lt container you will be able to have a good supply for summer. Make a hessian bag and fill with kraal manure. Tie this up at the top and drop it into the drum of water. The manure will go into the surrounding water and create fertiliser which you pour on to your plants.
After about a month, dip your water can in and fill it half with compost tea and half with water. Pour this over pot plants and special seedlings. Super way to feed plants and costs next to nothing. Just takes a bit of effort.

Kruger Park September 2012

Summer has started and almost all the trees have been clothed in their glorious greens, reds and yellows. Just the Jacarandas to come through at the end of October. A truly beautiful sight.

My husband Barry and I have just spent a relaxing wonderful week in Kruger National Park.

We stayed in Olifants camp which was still a bit dry but driving to Satara and then down to Berg ‘n Dal, the grasses had come through and there had been quite a bit of rain so the animals were very busy eating the juicy new shoots. The park and animals are looking happy and healthy.

I took many pictures of the stunning trees we saw on our outings and I shall share some of these with you.

But what I really would like to share is a wonderful story that we read in the paper just before we went away.

A young Argentinian couple (Herman and Calendaria Zapp) met at the age of 10 whilst still at school and years later married. They dreamed of traveling from Afganistan to Alaska . About 5 years into their marriage they decided to fix a 1928 Graham Paige car they had standing in the garage. After several months of getting this old girl mobile they set off on their travels.

They have been traveling the world for 12 years. In this time they have had 4 children.

So here we are in Satara camp and as we stopped at the shop this glorious old car pulls up next to us and out fall a tiny mother and 4 children in a hurry to get a quick drink before leaving the park as they only had an hour to make the Orpen gate.

Naturally I went up to Herman Zapp and told him I had seen the article in the paper and was so thrilled to actually meet him. What friendly people they are. I took a photograph which is included here and then he proceeded to tell us about his old car.

The wheels have wooden spokes and the tyres need to be specially made. When asking him what they do about spares, he said “ we have faith “.

We bought his book ‘Spark a Dream” which tells of their travels and they have written 8 editions.

An inspirational story which says to us all “Spark your dream”.