WINTER IN YOUR SMALL GARDEN
As Spring edges closer, now is the perfect time to start doing some winter preparation for your summer garden. Important winter activities include watering, composting and feeding, working with layout, and pruning. As a follow on from our “winter garden groundwork” blog of 2018, and in line with our recent “small gardens” theme we discuss these basics in more detail below:
GARDEN CLEAN UP & LAYOUT IMPROVEMENT
If you have opted for paving instead of lawn in your small garden, use winter to neaten up the paving borders, re-do any “scraggy” looking pathways, and clear the paving of any weeds or remaining fallen autumn leaves. [A useful tip: Use the fallen leaves to cover garden beds which will help to regulate the soil temperature.]
ADD CONTAINERS OF COLOUR TO YOUR SMALL GARDEN
There are several plants that will reward you with colour flowers in winter, Aloes and Redhot pokers are great winter flowerers as well as some of the succulent varieties that bloom beautifully in winter. Plant these in containers and place them along your paving to invite great splashes of colour into your winter garden.
Remember though to move your container plants to a sunnier area if they have ended up lying in the winter shade. As the sun changes its path in winter your plants may not receive the same light in different seasons.
LAWN WINTER SCARIFICATION & TOP DRESSING
If your small garden has a lawn patch, then now is the time to get rid of the dead grass (called thatch) which thus restricts light and air getting through to the grass roots. Scarifying also helps to increase nutrient retention, improves drainage and increases disease and pest resistance. Lawn scarification is a harsh but very beneficial and necessary lawn treatment. It should be done annually in winter and must always be followed by lawn top dressing and watering. Read more about these vital winter activities here.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE SNIP
Even if your small garden only has small shrubs, it’s important to now trim, shape and prune. Pruning allows sunlight and air into the plants centre – just enough to promote healthy growth. Pruning in winter also promotes faster regrowth in Spring.
Pruning is a vital part of your annual garden maintenance calendar – it promotes healthy and prolific flowering and fruits, enables you to maintain the natural shape of the plants, and allows your garden to flourish back to life beautifully in the Spring.
Click here to read our past post for 5 ways to achieve the best pruning results.
FEEDING YOUR WINTER GARDEN
Once you have cut back your garden, it’s important to give it a good feeding. Compost is a garden feeding solution for healthy soil and is a very important garden practice which will improve soil structure, increase nutrient content, increases water retention and produces plants with fewer pest problems. It will also make your plants hardier and more able to withstand the winter cold.
Mulch is another great “winter-must-do” . It reduces surface water evaporation from the soil, can reduce soil erosion during extreme weather conditions, moderates soil temperature changes and protects shallow-root plants from damage and intense sun damage. Mulching also discourages weed growth and decomposes to provide soil with organic matter. It’s also a great water-wise discipline to adopt in the drier months.
Mulching is the most water-wise discipline one can institute. Materials one could use for mulching your garden are bark shavings, bark chips, dried leaves, dried sugar cane leaves, gravel or pebbles, nut shells
Last but definitely not least, in KwaZulu Natal our plants need extra watering in winter due to the reduced rainfall, so be sure to water at least once a week, preferably twice, during daylight hours. Watering at night can cause damage due to freezing.
Our Winter Special Service Offering
If you’re wondering when you are going to get to that Winter Pruning in your hectic schedule, Eco Balance Landscaping is offering an exciting Winter Special: Quote the code ‘Winter19’ to claim your special of a Free Garden Refuse Removal to the value of R550 with every ‘Winter Pruning’ order placed. Contact us for further details