Pam Jacob – Driefontein Garden Centre
That we are desperately in need of rain, cannot be denied and I hope that by the time you read this, we will have received showers of blessings to water our parched earth. It is some comfort that the Hazelmere Dam is 115.71% full – an enormous improvement on last year’s statistics. Please check your property and ensure that all gutters are cleared of debris and that waterways are open and not clogged, thereby eliminating any damage that might be caused if we have a repeat of the torrential rains that we experienced for the past two Julys – 2015 (200mls) and 2016 (375mls), when the heavens opened in torrents.
That said, we are heading into Spring and you can’t fool the plants. They know that the days are lengthening and they are all ready to burst forth in bud. Perennial plants, such as Marguerite Daisies (Argyranthemums) from snow white to the deepest jewel colours and Indigenous Osteospermums, are longing for a place in your garden. Geraniums are in abundance and the Nurseries are filled to capacity with masses of exciting plants to fill those empty spots. In a good garden, you should not see bare soil. A garden should be filled with shrubs, perennials and bright splashes of colour to excite the senses.
Get your fertilizers ready for application at the first sign of rain. We always recommend 3:1:5(26) Slow Release for shrubs and flower beds and 3:2:1(28) Slow Release for your lawns. You can go into any hardware shop and your mind can become quite boggled by the choices available.
There are any number of blends and mixtures that are suitable for your garden with each good gardener (and some who are not so good) giving well intended advice. For your flower beds, the last number in the fertilizer ratio should be a `5’ (3:1:5) which means the mix is high in potassium and for lawns, the first number, which represents nitrogen, should be the highest in the ratio (3:2:1; 4:1:1; 7:1:3) in order to green the leaves.
Any fertilizer is better than no fertilizer; but the correct fertilizer is the right fertilizer. Spread a good layer of compost on your flower beds and gently loosen the soil with a garden fork. Don’t attack the garden like the devil in a rage and turn the soil excessively as this will break the root systems and is particularly bad with perennial plants such as Agapanthus; Day Lilies; wild Iris Dietes and other soft wood plants.
For those who have Inca Lilies in the garden, you will notice that they are pushing through leaves and buds are starting to form. The very best that you can use in our coastal area are Alstromeria ‘Indian Summer’ and Alstromeria `Summer Breeze’. They are wonderful performers and are once again available in the Nurseries and will be throughout the Spring and early Summer months. So dear friends – go gardening and enjoy one of the oldest hobbies known to man.