Your Spring Garden
“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
General Spring Tasks
August is unpredictable, and not without gusts of wind and the odd severely cold day, just to scatter about the dregs of winter. But Spring is firmly on Winters heels, with colourful promise and prospects on the horizon.
With the wind still strong, stake standards, young trees and climbing plants. Replace old stakes, preventing wind damage.
This is the perfect time to tidy up and cut back dead branches and frost damage on shrubs and climbers. Prune and shape shrubs, climbers and hedges that have finished flowering or will flower after mid-summer on new growth. Prune frost sensitive plants in August, when danger of frost has passed.
Prune your roses in the first week of August, if you have not yet done so.
Divide perennials like Agapanthus, Hemerocallis and ornamental grasses if you didn’t do so in Autumn. Cut back leaves and replant in freshly composted soil. Fertilise with an organic 5:1:5 or 2:3:2 and water well.
As your plants watering needs increase, mulch with bark, nut shells, peach pips or good ground cover – this will keep in moisture without damaging soil. Adjust your irrigation.
Remove weeds as they appear, and apply thick layers of compost over all beds. This acts to suppress weeds, providing nutrition for strong and rigorous growth.
Winter annuals will be in full bloom now – feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser. Pick off all dead flower heads, ensuring their colours brighten up the garden for as long as possible. Remove spent plants and fill gaps with new annuals and colour bags.
Summer flowering bulbs hit the shelves at the end of August – stock up on your favourites now! Don’t remove leaves on spring-flowering bulbs that have finished flowering – they need these to produce food for the developing bulb, for the following season.
September is Arbor month – our trees of the year are the Sclerocarya birrea Marula Maroela (COMMON) and the Philenoptera violacea Apple-leaf, Appelblaar (UNCOMMON)
This month tends to be hotter but without much rain yet, so, within watering restrictions, adjust irrigation and watering.
Plant Clivias as the perfect shade-loving, water-saving, indigenous perennial. Under the dappled shade of a tree they are perfect en-masse – or in pots on a shady patio. They require well-draining soil and regular water when the temperatures heat up.
Check Clivias, Agapanthus and Amaryllis for lily-borers. These present as a yellow and black stripy caterpillar. If you see them – squash them or spray them with a pesticide.
Check for aphids on the new growth of roses, citrus, seedlings and other plants. Check the undersides of leaves and spray fortnightly with an organic insecticide. For more on how to deal with all the pesky pests, click |HERE|
Summer bulbs like Zantedeschia, Eucomis, Gladioli, Sandersonia, Gloriosa Lily and Amaryllis are available in September, and Dahlias later in the month. They require well prepared beds.
Weed the garden regularly in September, saving yourself plenty of trouble later in the year.
After the dusty winds of August, now is the ideal time to clean water features and ponds. Divide and replant aquatic plants now if necessary.
Remove the old potting soil around all your container plants right up to the root level and fill up with fresh soil, or replant into larger containers where necessary.
Growing your own potatoes is very rewarding. Seed potatoes will be available at Lifestyle towards the end of August. We also stock a very handy Potato Bag and Potato Pot for growing spuds in.
Cut back autumn fruiting berry bushes and canes and plant new berries as soon as they become available, for harvesting in Autumn. This is also a great time to plant new grape vines.
Winter scale can be a problem on fruit trees and berries. A good product to use for this is Biogrow Pyrol or Oleum. Our plant doctor section in-store is the ideal place to find insecticides, fertilisers and every sort of fungicide!
Clean all down pipes and gutters in time for the rains, and invest in rainwater tanks if this is possible. Be as water-wise as possible.
Fruit and Veggies
In August- thoroughly clear and prep beds for spring and summer veg and herb planting. Remove all weeds from new beds and dig in plenty of organic compost. Create a plan for successive planting – this will ready you for a busy time in the veggie patch.
Potager gardening is the French concept of kitchen gardening – click |HERE| to read more.
Plant spring herb and veggie seedlings now. Spread organic snail bait to deter snails and slugs from younger plants.
In August sow beetroot, radishes, carrots, bush and runner beans and a last batch of peas directly.
Sow green peppers, aubergines, capsicums, lettuce, Swiss chard and tomatoes in seed trays and protect from the elements. Transplant when danger of frost has passed. Learn more about sowing seeds |HERE|
September is the time to remove the last spent veggies. Prepare beds, containers and hanging baskets for your summer vegetable and herb garden. Add compost, organic fertiliser and bone meal to the soil. (avoid bone meal if you have dogs) Read more about Composting |HERE|
Sow or plant beans, beetroot, radishes, carrots, spinach, swiss chard and lettuce now and tomatoes, sweet peppers, chillies, cucurbits, maize and brinjals when all danger of frost has passed. Water seedlings daily and feed with a suitable organic fertiliser every fortnight.
Seed potatoes are available for planting now, if you didn’t plant in August. Plant either in prepared beds or in the nifty Potato bags or pots available in store. We planted some potatoes and photographed every stage of the process to help you to learn how to grow potatoes with success; click |HERE| to read our blog.
Fruit trees must be protected against fruit fly by either spraying, or by putting out bait in traps. The ideal time to do this is at 75% blossom drop. Continue spraying fortnightly. It’s also a good time to plant new fruit trees – we have the biggest selection so come and choose your favourites!
Spoil yourself to some strawberry plants and plant them in beds, pots and hanging baskets!
October is time to really get stuck in! It’s the ideal time, with nights having warmed up, to sow vegetable and herb seedlings.
At three week intervals, sow fast-growing veg that you comsume quickly, such as beans, lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes and radishes.
Plant seedlings of fruit bearing vegetables like tomatoes, green peppers and aubergines. Cabbage and parsley can be planted now as well.
Continue to spray for aphids and white fly, and spray with organic pesticide. Snails and slugs should be monitored too.
Interplant veg with companion flowers and herbs – this deters pests. Read all about Companion Planting |HERE| Some great examples of strong-smelling plants which deter bugs are Nasturtiums, Marigolds, Basil and Thyme!
Deciduous fruit trees should start flowering this month – apply mulch to help with water retention.
Nothing shouts “Spring!” like these perennials in flower: Scabiosa, Felicia, Argyranthemum, Salvia, Pelargoniums, Osteospermum and Aquilegia.
Find Impatiens, Begonias, Chrysanthemum, Marigolds, Gazanias, Petunias, Celosia, Salvia, verbena, Snapdragons, Lobelia and Alyssum in store now for filling in borders, pots, baskets and gaps in beds!
Remove spent winter and spring flowering annuals, and plant summer flowering annuals like Marigolds, Celosia, Dianthus, Verbena, Sunflowers, Zinnias, Salvias, Portulaca, Petunias and Penstemons (in sunny spots) and Impatiens and Begonias in dappled shade.
Regularly dead-head, promoting continuous blooms.
Finish planting all summer flowering bulbs now, removing spent flowers. Continue to water deeply and regularly. Don’t remove the leaves of bulbs that have finished blooming, as they provide food for the bulbs for the next season.
October is Rose Month. Your roses should be in full bud now and ready to burst into colour. Water them twice a week if rainfall is insufficient and remove faded flowers.
Divide and transplant perennials that have finished flowering.
Weed the garden continuously, as the rains promote their growth. Mulch as much as possible to keep soil moist and cool and to keep weeds at bay.
Ensure a healthy summer lawn by Spring Cleaning your lawn in late August. Click |HERE| to read all about Spring Lawns.
Scarify and aerate your lawn for easier penetration of air, water and fertilisers. Cover with a fine layer of lawn dressing to stimulate new growth and improve the condition of the soil. It is also time to service your lawnmower and sharpen or replace the blades.
October is the perfect time to lay new lawn. Sow shade-over in shady areas. Don’t mow the lawn too short at first (more than a third of the length off the blade). Longer grass is able to produce food for stronger growth. Mowing ensures weeds are kept at bay and ensures compact growth.
Re-pot indoor plants and fill up with potting soil. As days warm up, increase watering. Clean leaves with a soft indoor cloth.
See our pick of the Top 12 Trendiest Indoor plants by clicking |HERE|
Kids in the Garden:
Add cheer to any garden space by getting the kids to plant sunflowers – read all about how to do that |HERE|
Add fun and excitement to the kids Spring schedule by creating a Teepee: tie three long stakes at the top with rope or garden twine and plant 3 runner bean seeds around each stake to grow up on it. In no time they will have a shady spot all of their own to relax in, and mom will have beans for dinner!
Visit our Kids Korner Blog page for plenty of fun activities for the kids to be involved in! Click |HERE| to be transported to Funville!
Feeding and Fertilising Your Garden in Spring
- Fertilise Perennials and ornamental grasses with organic 5:1:5 or 2:3:2.
- All beds, new plantings and pruned plants should be fertilised with 2:3:2 and Vermicast to promote growth.
- Feed spring-flowering bulbs that have finished flowering with bulb food or 3:1:5, in preparation for the next season.
- If you didn’t feed spring-flowering bulbs – do so now to provide nutrients for the next season. Use 3:1:5 fertiliser or bulb food.
- Lawns need a nitrogen-rich fertiliser in September – we recommend Vita Green 5:1:5. Water the lawn well before and after application.
- Fertilise citrus trees with organic 3:1:5 and a cupful of Epsom salts. Spread along the drip-line of trees.
- Feed deciduous trees with organic 3:1:5, watering every 10 days.
- Through-out August and well into September, fertilise roses with 3:1:5 or Ludwigs Vigarosa, mulch well and water thoroughly.
- Feed summer-flowering annuals with water-soluble fertiliser.
- Continue to feed bulbs with 3:1:5 or bulb food until foliage dies down.
- Fertilise roses with a balanced rose food, promoting healthy foliage and bloom production.
- Spray roses fortnightly with organic fungicide / insecticide.
- Fertilise lawn with organic 5:1:5 and water regularly.
- Feed all hydrangeas now to ensure a stunning show for Christmas.
What To Plant in Spring
- Summer flowering bulbs can be planted now – go for Zantedeschia, Eucomis, Gladioli, Sandersonia, Gloriosa Lily and Amyryllis, to name a few. Lifestyle has a vast selection of bulbs from which to take your pick, available from the end of August.
- Herb and veggie seedlings can be planted throughout Spring. Seasonal seedlings available on the shelves at Lifestyle are plentiful!
- From September, plant beans, beetroots, carrots, spinach and Swiss Chard, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, chillies, maize and brinjals.
- Plant seed potatoes now. Learn more about planting potatoes |HERE|.
- Plant strawberry seedlings In September and October.
- Once October hits, plant cherry tomatoes, radishes, beans, lettuce and spinach in 3-weekly successive intervals, as they grow quickly and are consumed quickly.
- Plant cabbage and parsley seedlings in October. Parsley is easier to grow from seedling than from seed.
- Marigolds, nasturtiums, basil, tagetes, yarrow and thyme can be inter-planted amongst other veggie plants. These aid in keeping bugs away and attracting the right beneficial insects to your crops!
- For more on Companion Planting click |HERE|
- Plant the following shrubs throughout Spring: Gardenia, Fuchsia, Hydrangea, Viburnum, Plectranthus, Duranta, roses, Murraya exotica and Mackaya bella.
- Summer-flowering annuals can be planted now – got for marigolds, celosia, Dianthus, Verbena, Sunflowers, Salvias, Potulaca, Petunias and Penstemons for sunny spots. For shadier areas go for Begonias and Impatiens.
Seeds to Sow in Spring
- Sow green pepper, aubergines, capsicums, swiss chard and tomato seeds into trays, keeping well protected.
- Sow beets, radish, carrots, runner beans and peas directly.
Sow beans, beets, radishes, carrots, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet peppers, chillies, cucurbits, maize and brinjals.
- All veggie and herb seeds on the Lifestyle shelves can be planted now, as the nights warm up.
- It is best to plant successive plantings of radishes, beans, lettuce and cherry tomatoes, as they grow very quickly.
If you are new to sowing seeds or need some guidance on how to sow and understand seed packets, click |HERE| to read our seed sowing guide.
Flowering Plants for Your Spring Garden
These plants will add vibrant colour to your Spring garden:
- Perfect Spring Perennials include Aquilegia, Delphinium, Fuschia, Scabiosa, Gaura and Alstroemeria.
- These flowering perennials; Scabiosa, Felicia, Argyranthemum, Salvia, Pelargoniums, Osteospermum and Aquilegia, will add colour and volume.
- Find Impatiens, Begonias, Chrysanthemum, Marigolds, Gazanias, Petunias, Celosia, Salvia, Verbena, Snapdragons, Lobelia and Alyssum in store now for filling in borders, pots, baskets and gaps in beds!
Spring is Spring Cleaning time!
It’s time to perfect the lawn , get rid of weeds, fertilise and feed! Alongside those chief tasks, don’t forget to:
- Prune shrubs that have grown scraggly over winter
- Compost winter mulch, if you choose to remove it from beds.
- Re-purpose dead leaves as mulch. Spread around beds instead of bagging it and disposing of it. it breaks down and forms a bacteria rich component of the soil.
- Pull dead annuals.
- Remove dead growth from perennials. Find your perfect secateurs at MICA Lifestyle or within our own hardware department.
- Clear out clogged up soil from the veggie garden – fork through new compost, bone-meal and other organic additives.
- Get rid of weeds!
- Edge garden beds. Define beds with decorative stones or edging, or simply clean up using a hand held garden saw.
- Your lawn should be a priority – get it in peak condition by reading exactly how to |HERE|
Spring Gardening Tools
In Spring you will find the following helpful around the garden:
Hand Trowel, Hand fork, Weeding Tools, Pressure sprayers, Lawn Edging, Combisystem Hand tools, Tree ties, Fertiliser spreader, Lawn Mowers and Aerators. Find these handy items in the Lifestyle Hardware department or at MICA Lifestyle.
Our beautiful spring quote is from this website