Usually by this time of year your garden will be in full and glorious bloom. Here are some tips to help keep your garden looking at its best.
With the heat that generally accompanies December; the most important task is to ensure your garden is getting enough moisture. As a general rule your plants will need about 25mm of rain a week to keep in shape. If Mother Nature is not supplying you with enough water, you're going to have to do it yourself.
Water your bulbs and other plants in the garden with a sprinkler, for 40 minutes, every 4 days. Do not water every day. The roots want to be in moist soil, but the bulbs above them want to dry slightly between watering. As soil in pots dries out quicker, water bulbs in pots every two days.
Pots should never be in full sun. When it comes to protecting your garden from the ravages of our extreme South African climate, mulch is the gardener’s first line of defence. Mulch keeps the soil cool, combats evaporation and protects tender new roots, promoting healthier plants.
If you are using darkly coloured mulch like bark chips, it reduces reflected light which reduces ambient temperature, which reduces the moisture lost through transpiration, which reduces watering etc, etc. Mulch also helps to control weeds because it cuts out light to the soil’s surface, inhibiting seed germination.
We all know the benefits that earthworms have on the condition of the soil. Mulch, especially those organic in nature, encourages their activity. It helps control erosion and lessens the soil compaction that occurs when water hits the ground.
Give your lawn a boost of nitrogen with LAN fertiliser. This will ensure your grass will be lush green for Christmas. Apply agricultural lime to your lawn to discourage weed growth both now and again in winter. Deadhead any spent flowers.
On some plants this will encourage more blooms to emerge, while on others it will stop them wasting energy on producing seed.