Seasonal shake-up Whip your spring garden into tiptop shape
GET YOUR GARDEN PRIMED FOR SPRING WITH A SIMPLE TO-DO LIST THAT YOU CAN KNOCK OVER IN A WEEKEND OR TWO
For instant satisfaction, tackle jobs such as pressure cleaning, which dramatically improves the look of outdoor areas (above & opposite). Updating planting beds and rethinking areas can also give your outdoor space a new feel. “Giving the garden structure and colour can create appeal and improve growing conditions,” says Nick Livanes of Koppers. Timber edging like Koppers’ Ironwood Sienna sleepers makes easy-tobuild borders as well as retaining walls that won’t break the bank. Enhance existing beds with a thorough weed and nourish the soil with organic matter. “I use a watering can to apply regular doses of worm-farm castings mixed with water, then cover beds with mulch to reduce soil moisture evaporation,” says Lisa Ellis of Lisa Ellis Gardens. Also clean water features – if your pond is murky, drain and refill it with water and introduce aquatic plants and fish. “Water lilies and papyrus reeds are great as they add decorative interest, help control green algae and provide food and shelter for goldfish and carp,” says Lyndall Keating of Garden Society.
Spring is the time to plant flowering seedlings so they’ll be in bloom for Christmas, says Lyndall Keating, who suggests varieties such as salvias, daisies, petunias, alyssum, lobelia and begonias. “Another option are succulents, which are water-wise and easy to grow in hanging baskets,” she says. For extra seasonal colour, Justin Nigh of Regenerative Designs Australia likes introducing zinnias, marigolds, dianthus and impatiens, and deadheading spring annuals to extend their flowering period, while easy-to-grow shrubs such as hydrangea will deliver bursts of colour in summer. Don’t forget to tackle your pots – grouping clusters in different sizes is a great way to create layers and soften corners in outdoor areas. To spruce up potted plants that may have outgrown their container or become root-bound, Sophie Greive of Think Outside Gardens advises giving them a trim and upsizing the pot. “To avoid root shock and encourage new growth, trim the foliage and roots, saturate the root ball and re-pot them into a premium potting mix,” she says.
Everyone covets a beautiful green lawn, whether it’s large or small, and one of the best ways to achieve a perfect patch for your family to enjoy all summer long (above) is with a little TLC. Grant Boyle of Fig Landscapes recommends aerating your lawn before applying a light sprinkling of mushroom compost such as Richgro. “The holes allow the nutrients to get to the lawn’s root system faster for quicker results,” he says. “For buffalo lawns where thatch can build up, rake out affected areas and sow grass seeds to promote new growth – or, for an instant fix, lay new turf and water well until the roots take hold.” To encourage new growth in shrubs, it’s time to pull out the secateurs and give your plants a good haircut. “Shrubs such as photinia, Indian hawthorn, viburnum and camellias will really benefit from a prune once they’ve finished flowering, as it will keep them full and lush throughout the summer months,” says Lyndall Keating. Plants love a drink as the temperature rises, so consider installing an irrigation system to ensure gardens and lawns are watered during the warmer months. “Look for systems with water-saving measures such as an automatic rain sensor and a wi-fi enabled automatic controller linked to your smartphone,” says Lisa Ellis of Lisa Ellis Gardens. A system like this is not as complicated as it sounds, and the starting point is a simple garden tap.
“Keep an eye out for pesky insects which cause leaf damage and treat foliage with a horticultural oil like Eco-Oil every fortnight to keep them bug-free” ~ Lyndall Keating, Garden Society