It might not feel like it right now, but Spring isn’t so far away and the garden is beginning to wake up, so you can make a start on planning and planting for warmer weather.
Any tasks you do now will help prepare the garden for a busy Spring season.
Prepare for drought conditions and either get rid of any grassed areas, or reduce them. Concentrate on planting water-wise, drought-tolerant plants.
Indigenous varieties are ideal as they need little water, grow well and provide plenty of colour. Osteopermums, Gazanias, Diascias, Nemesis and Vygies are lovely indigenous plants that won’t let you down! You can also plant some Spring and Summer annuals such as Alyssum, Dianthus (Sweet William), Petunias, Lobelias, Calibrachoa (Million Bells) and Pansies for fabulous colour. Also, how about some Cosmos, Cleome, Gaillardia, Marigolds, Verbena and Salvia.
Spread a layer of mulch and fertiliser on your borders for a boost and prepare it for growth and activity.
At the end of August it’s a good idea to fertilise all your trees and shrubs, watering it in well. This will help during the growing period.
Harvest any Winter veg, and plant out seed potatoes to harvest in December. Peas, including Sugar Snap, can be planted in August, either by seeds directly into the ground or into containers if they are a low-growing variety. If you’re growing Carrots, Beetroot, Parsnips, Squash or salad crops, such as Celery, Peppers,Cucumber, Spring Onions, Lettuce and Tomato remember to sow in ‘batches’, rather than all at once. That way you will have crops all through the Summer.
Container plants will benefit from the addition of some new potting soil mixed with compost. First remove the top layer of old potting compost, and replace with the new mix.
Time to get trim!
Winter is the time for pruning your deciduous trees and shrubs as this is the dormant season and there is less risk of infection on cut ends. Pruning helps strengthen both trees and shrubs, tidy up growth and encourage shrubs to produce more blooms.
Start by pruning a few branches, until you are happy with the shape, before continuing. Remove any damaged, dead or diseased branches. Cut away any stems growing from larger branches. It’s important to allow more light to reach new growth by thinning out some existing growth. Also, remove any branches that cross over each other and are likely to rub, and remove any suckers from the base of trees.
Fruit trees will also benefit from pruning at this time of year such as Peach, Plum, Apple, Pear and Apricot in order to produce a good harvest.
Citrus trees don’t need radical pruning. Just cut out any dead wood or diseased branches and thin out if necessary.
If you have roses, late July and August is the best time for hard pruning when you can remove any diseased wood and leaves, resulting in better blooming and a healthier plant. You will need some stout gardening gloves and sharp secateurs before tackling this task!
Hybrid tea, floribundas, miniature and standard roses all benefit from being pruned. Judge the ideal height of the rose by bunching up the stems together and cutting across the top. Cut out dead branches plus old wood and reduce some of the branches to create new shoots in spring. Never fear, roses soon adapt to a good prune!
Climbing roses need to be untied from their supports and the old wood thinned and cut out at the base. Re-attach the rose to the structure.
Aerate around roses after pruning for better air flow.
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Village Gardens –
We at village gardens have a knowledge of all of your local edible plants here in South Africa. We can happily plant up your garden with edibles of all varieties from Mediterranean herbs and local indigenous edibles. We are surrounded by such stunning hardy indigenous plants, let’s get back to nature and have our own garden of local goodness.