Firstly, grab a notebook and a pen, walk around your garden and look at the walls and gutters. Do they need painting or damp proofing? If they do, this should be a priority during the dry winter months. Next, look at areas where water has been damming following the rain and causing damp or leaks; you may need to put in additional drainage pipes. (It is best to do building and renovations during winter.)
Now is also a great time to check if your existing irrigation system is fully functional. If you do not have one already there are many options out there for you. An irrigation system installed by a qualified irrigation specialist will save you thousands of rand a year and you have the option of going the computerised or manual route. If you tend to travel frequently then the computerised option will be best for you.
If your water bill was fairly high this year, investigate either installing a borehole or rainwater harvesting system with Jojo tanks that collect rainwater from your gutters.
As you walk around your garden you will start to get a good idea of what needs to be done. Look at the trees. Do they need a slight pruning? (Trees must only be pruned after the last frost in winter to ensure that the tender shrubs below don’t get burnt by the frost).
Now, stand in areas where there is a focal point and start planning what you would like to be looking at. Do you want a water feature, oriental, English, formal, country, tropical or indigenous garden? If you would like advice, get a landscaper to do a design for you. You may decide to put in a raised deck or pathway through the garden – it is better to do all the hard landscaping now and during winter.
So what does your garden need if you would like to keep it well fed for the winter months? I would suggest putting in some good compost or mulch into the flowerbeds and pots. I would also look at fertilising the lawn.
We do this because all plants are able to store nutrients – though some are better at it than others. If you give your plants that extra boost now before they go dormant during the winter months, just think how radiant they will be when they start to bloom as they have all that energy stored up. Too often people leave it until spring to fertilise their gardens. I recommend composting your garden twice a year; you will be rewarded with something special in spring and summer!
As the leaves change colour and it starts to get cooler, follow us as we teach you what you should be doing seasonally. We will also learn how to build a compost heap, how to grow our own fruit and vegetables, and how to create a vertical garden. We have a lot in store for you this year.
Happy gardening! Nick
Who is Nicholas Spargo?
Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants, has been in the landscape trade for 12 years as well as being a lecturer at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre for the past year. He was awarded a Gold for a design at the Lifestyle Garden Design Centre Design Show in 2008, is an Invasive Species Consultant and is affiliated with the South African Green Industries Council.
Landscaping and education are very close to his heart.