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What inspires you to garden?

Eckards is full of colour to inspire you to gardenAt a recent talk to the Bedfordview garden club I spoke about what inspires you to garden. Gardens are an extension of you and your family and a place where one can reconnect with the soil. In a world that moves at a faster pace every day and technology that keeps us connected in cyberspace, gardens and plants are our link to what is really important Ė the soil that feeds and houses us and a place where family can come together. Everyone is different and we all find inspiration to garden somewhere different. Whether its food gardening, collecting special plants or just walking around a beautiful garden. There is always something out there that can inspire you to get your hands into the soil. Summer is here and itís the time of the year when everything grows, thatís an inspiration on its own! Look out for some exciting summer showstoppers; here are some of the plants that caught our eye this week.

Inca Lilies Inca Lilies make wonderful ground cover and cut flowers

Alstroemeria known as Inca Lilies originates from South America and has become a popular perennial because they are so easy to grow and bring loads of colour through the summer months. Growing thin stems with clusters of almost orchid like flowers on the end, Alstroemeria also make excellent cut flowers. The more you pick, by simply pulling the stem out of the ground, the more the flowers you get. Alstroemeria prefers a well-drained soil and they will tolerate part-shade to full-sun. Mulching the roots in the heat of summer will aid in flower preservation. Princess Lilies are dwarf Alstroemeria are particularly suitable for pots. Available in a terrific selection of colours, these delightful compact plants will flower continuously from spring to late autumn.

Glorious clematis

Clematis Rebecca, a new variety now at EckardsClematis have been popular in European gardens for centuries and have are becoming more and more popular locally as the new varieties have become more readily available. Clematis will flower in early summer and again in early autumn with single, double or semi-double flowers. The newest variety available is Clematis Rebecca which is a beautiful plummy red, single flower. There are many different colours of clematis but most tend to be in the blue to purple tones with white and pink shades also quite common. Clematis are deciduous climbers that grow in semi-shade to sun and are best on a trellis or a free standing topiary stand. Plant them with 2:3:4 and feed regularly through summer to ensure strong growth and maximum flowering. Well suited to containers, they can then be brought close to the patio when in flower.

LM Grass for Shade LM indigenous shade grass

The MayFord Shade- over and All Seasons Evergreen lawns have been our best sellers for shade lawn to blend into Kikuyu where it dies off in the shade. Both are tufted lawns and with regular mowing and feeding give a great evergreen carpet. New on the market in seed packets MayFord have introduced a runner lawn for shade, LM. The LM grass is indigenous to South Africa. Found predominantly on the Natal coast and Mozambique. It performs very well in shady and semi-shade conditions but LM grass also performs well in full sun. This grass has a creeping growth habit but is far less invasive than kikuyu. LM grass is relatively heat tolerant and can recover from drought and heat stress by means of its creeping growth habit. It does not blend in with kikuyu being a very different looking grass but if your objective is green then this is a very easy option. This grass can be maintained without regular watering as it is water wise. Although this is a relatively drought tolerant grass at maturity, it still needs regular watering during establishment. LM is not a hungry lawn once established and feeding with a slow release fertiliser such as 3:2:1 or Organic alternatives are recommended.

Water Wise bird and bee-friendly gardening

Look out for our Water Wise plantsThe Water Wise campaign has two exciting new stories to tell. Water is an important resource and planting plants that use water conservatively is one of the ways we can all save water. Their new campaign Water Wise Plants for bee and Bird friendly gardens highlights plants that can be used to attract them to your garden. Bees play an important role in in pollinating garden flowers, fruit trees and your veggie garden. The presence of bees in your garden is a good indication of a healthy and environmentally sound garden. By increasing the variety of plants in your garden you could easily triple the number and diversity of birds that you attract. Find more information instore with one of the water wise quick guides and look out for the yellow t-boards in the nursery. PS: With the rain season here remember to try and get your rain water into the ground and not down the driveway and down the road!

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