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Summer is close and here at Eckards we are super excited. Itís the time of the year that everything grows easily and time can be spent outdoors with friends and family on the patio or around the pool. Gardening and connecting with nature is a wonderful way to keep families connected. From one generation to the next when all the new technology and latest gadget disconnects mom or gran from the youngsters, planting flowers and working together in the garden is something everyone can do. As summer gets going and temperatures start to climb butterflies will soon be around celebrating all the new buds and summer blooms. Look out for butterfly attracting plants and just as butterflies have their favourites so too does granny!

Go nostalgic this spring and plant the plants granny loves!


Bedding Plant Colour

Go nostalgic, plant the plants granny loves!

Itís time to plan and plant your summer bedding plants. Dream a colour scheme to compliment your patio dťcor or just plant your favourite colour everywhere! Begonias are always popular with the green leafed ones in more shade and the brown leafed ones preferring morning sun. Marigolds are perfect for hardy sun colour with the added bonus that they help get rid of some bacteria and soil pests. This makes marigolds the one plant to use as a companion plant amongst your veggies and herbs chasing away pests the natural way. We also love Salvia which flower of months on end with very little attention.

Plant them in semi-shade to full sun and they will grow to almost a metre high giving an unrivalled show. Time to dream up some summer gardening colour but itís not just bedding plants here are our pick for more ideas.

Lavender

Lavender flowers infuse sugar and oilsLavender fragrance finds its way into the home in all sorts of things from fragrances to home spa treats. Lavender is incredibly easy to grow and will last about two to three years in the garden if planted in sunny areas where they donít get too much water. Did you know most of the fragrance in lavender is found in the flowers? Cut some stems and place them in a canister with sugar to add a new dimension to baking or add flowers to your bath oil bottle to infuse the oil with a subtle lavender fragrance. The days of whether it is French, Spanish or English lavender are gone.

There are so many hybrids and different varieties one can scarcely tell the origin these days. Plant the ones you like and we recommend always buying them in flower or showing colour to make sure it will do what you want it to do. Lavender is well suited to containers with many dwarf varieties available. If planting a hedge then flowering is less important and a strong grower is recommended. Lavender that has a greener leaf will handle a bit more shade and the flowers of Lavender Margaret Roberts are the most fragrant for the vase or infusing sugar or oils.

Vygies are back

Vygies, the original water wise plant for your garden

Everyone loves Vygies. With their origins in SA we see Vygies in all gardens old and new, they are the original Water Wise ground cover needing no water to grow and flower on mass year after year in full sun. There are so many colours to collect and share from white through shades of pinks to reds and yellow tones. What is amazing is that many of the different colours flower at different times, as if to make sure the bees donít mix the colours when they are pollinating as nature intended. Indigenous to the dryer parts of the Cape the purple Vygie, Delosperma Cooperii, grows flat and makes a wonderful carpet between pavers or as a groundcover under an Aloe garden.

They will grow even if they get a lot of water but are more compact if given extremes of heat and dryness.

Divine Impatiens

Make your own mix to suit your garden styleThe Divine Impatiens have proven to be the best annual for shade over the past three years. These disease resistant impatiens grow best in semi-shade to shade and will grow and flower until May next year when the frost will take them out. Growing for eight months makes them incredible value for money. Plant them with a generous amount of compost and add Vitaboost Organic fertiliser to give them the best start. Feed with Multifeed classic through to the end of the year and then change over to Multifeed Flowergro to maintain flowering. What is your colour scheme for this coming summer? Make your own mix of purple pink and white or plant one colour on mass.

Does one go hot and tropical with reds and oranges, classic with shades of lavender and pink or does one go modern and contemporary with violet and whiteÖ the choices and endless with you the artist and our selection your pallet for summer.

Colourful Roses

Grow the best roses with help from Eckards

Roses are one of the easiest ways to add colour to the garden. Every year they grow bigger and produce more flowers adding to the landscape. There are two distinct different kinds of roses namely the hybrid Tea roses, which are more traditional cut flower roses, and the Floribunda roses which flower in bunches and are more colourful. When planting roses, group three similar or of the same colour quite close together to make a striking show.

Plant roses in a square hole adding bone meal and compost to the soil. Once planted mulch with a layer of compost or bagged mulch and feed with Sudden Impact before watering well to allow them to settle.

Feed them regularly to keep them flowering more prolifically. By feeding them with an organic fertiliser they not only have better colour but are more fragrant and generally more disease resistant limiting the amount of spraying. When all else fails and you need to spray your roses use Rosecare which is a combination insecticide and fungicide and controls everything that can go wrong with your rose bushes.

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