Neglected your garden a bit over the winter? Are your shrubs looking a bit shrivelled and a jungle of weeds taken over the yard? Well, spring has sprung and summer is right around the corner, so here are some simple ways to freshen up your garden for the warmer seasons.
Primp, Prune & Feed
First thing’s first – you’ve got to clean up the mess that winter left!
Get out your secateurs and the hedge shears, then it’s time to get to work. Do your pruning around the end of winter to early spring, you’ll want to cut off any dead or dying bits to prevent decay spreading and keep your plants and trees healthy for the warmer seasons.
- Rose bushes should generally be pruned at the start of Winter so if you missed the boat it’s best to trim them back early spring. This will encourage growth and flowering.
- Loosen and aerate the soil in the flower beds, during winter rains the soil gets compacted
- Your plants are ready to flourish so don’t forget to feed them and probably do so every 2 weeks during Spring so they will be at their best in Summer
For other chores you need to do to clean up check out our checklist here > 10 Must-do Spring Cleaning Chores
Weeding is a bit of a tedious chore but an important one nonetheless.
You can get the gloves out and get pulling. Best to loosen the soil around the weeds so you can pull them out at the roots.
If there are too many, you can nuke them with weed poison. There are many different kinds so make sure you consult someone at your gardening store before buying and applying it. You don’t want to kill the plants, grass or flowers accidentally!
Once you’ve finished weeding your garden beds, it’s a great idea to put a layer of mulch over the freshly tilled soil.
The benefits of laying down mulch:
- Looks a lot nicer than bare soil
- Chunky, bark-type mulch allows the soil to breathe but retains moisture
- Helps to maintain the temperature of the soil
- Attracts earthworms to keep your soil aerated and fertilized
- Less maintenance as weeds have no access to sunlight and are less likely to grow
Don’t forget to sprinkle some fertilizer or compost a few inches around the base of your plants to give them the nutrients they need to grow leafy and strong; potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous.
Make Space for a Veggie Patch
There’s nothing more rewarding than growing vegetables and eating them, and it’s something the kids can get involved in too! To give your warm-season veggies the best chance of growing, plant them when you’re well and truly into spring. Frost will stunt their growth so make sure not to plant them whilst the weather is still cool.
Here are a few of the most popular vegetables and some tips to get you started:
- Tomatoes – So, they’re technically a fruit but tomatoes are great to grow at home, there are so many varieties to choose from! Pick a heat-tolerant variety, but be sure to water them regularly and have a shade cloth handy to set up over them on very hot days to avoid them getting scorched.
- Cucumbers – Another plant that will benefit greatly from a shade cloth on hotter days, make sure that you plant your cucumbers in an area with lots of drainages – these veggies love water but will rot if they sit in it. Straw mulch is a great option for cucumbers, it keeps them elevated with adequate drainage and will deter slugs as the straw is too uncomfortable for them to crawl on. Installing a small trellis cage for your cucumbers will ensure the vines have somewhere to grow.
- Capsicums – Red, yellow, green, get all the colours of the rainbow with this classic vegetable. Capsicums are the ideal planting companion for tomatoes, be sure to put a stake next to each plant to ensure it has something to hold it upright when it’s full of heavy fruit. When picking the fruit, remove it from the plant with some stalk attached to ensure it stays edible for as long as possible.
If you’re not a veggie person, you can always try some fruit or herbs instead. Strawberries, blueberries and parsley will thrive in the warmer months – the possibilities are endless!
Add a Splash of Colour
If you’re after something classic, you can go for sunflowers or hibiscus. Both of these plants have huge, vibrant flowers that will steal the show. Your sunflowers will be a bright golden yellow and hibiscus come in a huge range of shades, the most popular being the red and pink varieties. Growing and caring for each of these plants is very easy so this may be another activity to get the kids into.
To spritz a bit of perfume into your garden, plant some fragrant lavender – a classic, calming scent that will uplift your yard. Plant them in full sun with well-drained soil to keep these little beauties thriving all summer long. Gardenias are another great addition to your garden if you’d like to add some fresh, sweet notes of the fragrance.
Or, try these summer perennials if you’re looking for something a little more exotic:
- Gloriosa Lily