Meredith Kirton shares her to-do list for a tidy summer garden.
“A NEW BROOM SWEEPS CLEAN”, they say and in the garden, the saying rings true. Decluttering the garden can seem to be a counterintuitive act, but judiciously removing some plants, pruning the overgrown, weeding the unwanted and then mass planting in the bare spots can be a great way to breathe new life and vigour into your yard without a huge financial outlay.
PRUNE January is a time when plants are in their full summer growth. Hedges may well be looking a little less than trim, so a quick tidy up will create order where there was none. Take the opportunity to completely cut away overcrowded branches or diseased wood, too. If the weather is forecast to be hot, delay the trim until it cools a little or follow it up with some Yates Waterwise Droughtshield to give the new growth some sun protection. And don’t forget to trim lawn edges along driveways, paths and paving to make the yard look really neat.
WEED Make sure you remove the whole plant, roots and all, and pull it out before it forms flowers and seeds. Place the weeds in a large plastic drum with a lid to make your very own weed soup, which works like liquid green manure. Weeding can create bare soil and nature abhors a vacuum, so quickly cover any freshly weeded areas with mulch until you can plant ground covers to take their place. It is better to wait to plant new cover in autumn, when the heat has relented.
MASSED PLANTING Gardeners can be tempted to have one of everything. They get carried away with the types of plants they grow, and the result can be a mishmash of plants. Decluttering might be as simple as refining your palette, choosing those plants that are thriving in your area, and mass planting more of the same. The unified look of this approach will
add impact to your garden design. And if you already have the plants growing in your garden, it might be an easy home propagation job to get more specimens.
HIGH-PRESSURE HOSE Use that new broom to sweep clean or, better still, hire a water blaster. Paths and stonework will look like new after a quick high-pressure blast. Just be sure to back-fill paving with fresh, clean, dry sand – if you dislodge the pavers, weeds can grow in the cracks.
CUTTING EDGE Fiskars “Lucy” pruner, $25.98, from Bunnings. CUTE CUTTER The Thoughtful Gardener pruner in Blue, $32.95, from Zanui.
Meredith Kirton is a horticulturist, landscape designer and author of several books on gardening.
Involve the family in getting your garden looking trim and tidy this summer.
RUSTIC APPEAL Wire basket with pots set, $12, from Kmart. GROW UP Yates Weed ‘N’ Feed herbicide, 4L, $14.98, from Bunnings. KNEEL IN STYLE Homegrown & Handmade gardener’s kneeling pad in Watercolour Odyssey, $44.90, from Hard to Find. HANGING GARDEN Satsumas plant stand, $69, from Ikea. SHEAR DELIGHT Hedge shears, $10, from Kmart TIED UP Decorative twine with scissors, $7, from Kmart.