04 Aug: Spring gardening checklist

As the days get warmer (and longer), you’re more likely to get a spring in your step and spend more time in your garden!

Be sure to tick off this checklist to revive your garden.

1. KILL WEEDS NATURALLY

Get rid of weeds growing in paving by pouring boiling water on them, or a strong solution of vinegar in water.

2. TAKE CUTTINGS AND SEED

Take tips or softwood cuttings from pelargoniums, rosemary, sage, thyme, and lavender. Use a hormone rooting powder to increase your success rate. Spring is the best time to sow herbs such as coriander, rocket, and watercress. Keep mint in a pot or its runners will smother other plants.

3. WILD WITH FLOWERS

Give your plants a spring boost by feeding with a liquid fertilizer such as Kelpak, Seagro, or Nitrosol. Repot root-bound container plants into larger pots with fresh potting soil. Make sure they drain well by putting a layer of stone chips at the bottom.
Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as amaryllis, crocosmia, gladiolus, day lilies, liliums, nerines, and watsonias in well-composted beds and they will reward you with a spectacular show of blossoms.
Go wild with annuals for a rainbow of colour: surround golden Californian poppies and blue lobelia with a carpet of white and purple alyssum. Plant vinca in sunny spots and fill shady areas with masses of impatiens or begonia. Divide large clumps of wild irises, red-hot pokers and wild garlic (tulbaghia) and spread the love by gifting the excess plants to fellow gardeners or community projects.

4. CARE FOR LAWN

Aerate lawns, weed, and feed with Talborne Organics Vita Green. Where there are bare patches, loosen the soil and sprinkle with seed, or plant grass plugs for a quick fix. Give a light dressing of topsoil and water well. Set your lawnmower higher so it doesn’t scalp the grass and cut lawns weekly during the summer growing season.
Check your irrigation system for leaks and clean or replace any faulty spray heads.

5. CELEBRATE ARBOUR MONTH
Plant a tree for arbour month. The white stinkwood (Celtis Africana) is a fast-growing beauty with its smooth, pale grey bark; it sheds its leaves in winter, so plant it where you need shade in summer and warming sunshine in winter. The white karee (Rhus or Searsia pendulina) is a hardy evergreen that also grows quickly once established.

6. CREATE A BIRD’S PARADISE
Attract birds to your garden by installing a birdbath and planting shrubs and trees that offer them shelter and food. Tree Fuschia (Halleria Lucida) is great for small gardens and the attractive wild pomegranate (Burchellia bubalina) will bring nectar-loving birds, while the hardy cross berry (Grewia occidentalis) attracts loeries, bulbuls and barbets. For sunbirds, plant nectar-producing plants such as red-hot pokers, wild dagga, and aloes. Treat them with a bird feeder and stock it with a variety of birdseed and slices of fresh fruit such as oranges and apples.