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.