Spring is the best time of year for gardens as we start to see all of that hard maintenance work we did throughout the winter finally pay off.
As poppies and daffodils begin to flower, suddenly all of those cold days in the garden seem worth it. However just because your fruits and flowers are blossoming, it doesn’t mean it’s time to take a break. Now is the time to change things up in the garden, while taking special care of your old friends.
Fill a boring patch of ground with colour
Give it a good dig over using plenty of cow manure and compost, check the drainage and level the surface out. Water well with Seasol and scatter some California Poppy seeds over the surface. Gently tamp the seeds into the surface so they don’t blow away. In a very short time you should have lots of little shoots. A mass of orange or yellow flowers with blue-grey foliage can be expected in early December. Californian Poppies are reasonably drought tolerant, so ensure you keep the soil just damp, rather than wet.
Take special care of your citrus
As the warmer weather sets in, your citrus plants will be flexing their muscles in the bright sun. Aid their growth bygiving them a dose of good citrus fertiliser. Citrus can be hungry plants so read the fertiliser instructions carefully. Remember to water your citrus plants throughout spring, as without enough water the fruit could be dry and inedible. Citrus are subject to attack by leaf miners,so as a preventative maintenance job, spray the leaves with either Pest Oil or Eco Oil .
Experiment with a new vegetable
Enrich both your kitchen and your garden by growing your own potatoes. All you need is a large garbage bin with some holes in the bottom for drainage. Build up a 10cm layer of gravel at the bottom of the bin to help with the drainage, then fill the rest of the bin with compost from your compost heap.
Buy a bag of Certified Potatoes from your nursery and follow the planting directions. All you have to do is keep the compost damp and once the plants have died back, dig up your new potatoes. You will be surprised at just how many of them there are.
Don’t forget your bougainvillea
Your bougainvillea will be starting to get a move on now that the weather is warmer so give it a feed of a good Flower and Fruit fertiliser. This has a relatively low nitrogen content but has plenty of potassium and phosphorus in it. If you use a high nitrogen fertiliser then you will get lots of foliage but not many flowers. To keep your bougainvillea under control and in the shape, you want to give it a light prune every time a flush of flowers finishes.
Plan ahead for summer
With thoughts about next season’s flowers, dead head any daffodils or jonquils but don’t touch the foliage, just let it dry right back so all the goodness will be absorbed back into the bulbs. The bulbs will start to multiply and will need all the food they can get. If you are going to leave the bulbs in the ground, give them a feed of bulb food and water it in well. Once the foliage has dried right out, remove it and put it in the compost bin.
By Hugh Meyers