Getting a few jobs done now will wake up your garden and let the new season take hold around your home. The work put into the garden this time of the year will benefit you all summer with a rewarding garden. Skipping some essential little jobs now will mean more work throughout the summer. We vote for getting it sorted now and enjoying the pending summer with fewer chores then :-)
Get the grass green on your side
Late August and early September is sort out the lawn time! Get the grass greener on your side by sorting it out with these simple steps. A green lawn in summer is the one thing everybody loves. Traditionally most lawns in our local area are Kikuyu with evergreen lawns such as Shade-Over and All Seasons Evergreen as options for small spaces and problem areas.
LM Grass as a runner lawn in semi-shade has also become popular as it establishes fast and is water wise. August through September is sorting out the lawn after winter time.
Spring treatment for Kikuyu and LM Grass:
- Scarify to remove the dead mat. This can be done with a rotary lawnmower set low. Rake with a metal rake or hand broom to remove any long shoots and mow again. By removing the dead mat you will find that the lawn is generally healthier and easier to mow throughout the summer.
- Aerate with a spiked roller or garden fork especially in compacted high traffic areas.
- Top dress with Lawn Dressing and rake level. This will help the condition of the soil under the lawn and help with moisture retention in early summer. One bag of Lawn Dressing will cover around 3 to 4m2
- Well irrigated lawns are fertilised with Wonder 7:1:3 Lawn & Leaf fertiliser, repeated every six to eight weeks. Alternatively feed with Neutrog Sudden Impact for Lawns which is an organic fertiliser every four to six weeks. Organic fertiliser is slow release and can be used safely with any irrigation methods as it won’t burn the lawn.
- Lawns that are watered less regularly can be watered with the slow release fertiliser 3:2:1 SR until the rainy season starts then we recommend changing to the quick release fertiliser Wonder 7:1:3 Lawn & Leaf.
Read more on growing the best Lawn here.
Prune the roses
If you haven’t yet, you definitely need to get this done. Pruning the roses is the only way you can get more flowers and stronger plants this summer. By delaying any longer they will be in bloom in our rain season and the flowers will be spoilt. The thing to remember is that with roses, you can’t really go wrong!
As long as you do cut the roses will reward you with flowers. Gone are the days of specific instructions and vase shaped bushes and slanted cuts facing the right way. Modern roses in our climate simply require a cutback and you are ready to go. Our tip is to use sharp secateurs and cut back Hybrid Tea roses by half and Floribunda roses by a third. Ground covers get cut back by about two thirds while Climbers just need shaping.
Drawing loads of attention on our Eckards Facebook page are the Chamelaucium also known as Wax flowers. They originate in Australia but are well suited to our local garden conditions where they add something different as a small shrub and low screener. They have aromatic leaves and soft branches which sway in the wind adding an interesting texture and feel in the garden. The flowers are bourne on mass all along the stems ad cluster on the tips with a waxy finish that gives them their name. The best thing about them is that they make excellent cut flowers lasting for week in the vase.
Wax flowers need a full sun position for best flower displays, although it will take a little shade, it must have well-drained soil. Trim outer branches lightly after flowering to encourage bushy growth, but do not cut into old wood.
Clivias for shade
Back and also early this year are the spectacular Clivias. Indigenous Clivias will perform well planted in the garden or in containers and normally flower from the end of August through September. They do best in well drained soil and will handle most water conditions just not wet feet. Clivias will not do well in full sun, although they can tolerate some early morning sun. The plants will do well under trees or against an east facing wall.
Feeding of your Clivias improves flowering and the number of flowers. We recommend feeding them with Sudden Impact for Roses and Flowers as an organic flowering fertiliser which has the higher potassium content needed for flower production. Always add bone meal at planting for strong root development. For Clivias in containers, a liquid feed such as Nitrosol or Multifeed Classic every ten to fourteen days will help you grow the best.
TIP: The biggest pest is the lily borer, a black caterpillar with yellow bands. They will tunnel into the leaves and burrow down into the core of the Clivias. They can appear any time from September and can destroy your plant. Use a systemic insecticide such as Koinor or Efekto Plant Protector as a precaution at least twice a summer.