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This is the gardening you should be doing in spring-time

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What a great start to the season! These warm sunny spring days are just fantastic, what a beautiful time of the year! I must say I was expecting a much colder winter but it just never seemed to arrive.

It is really encouraging to see nurseries and DIY hardware stores filled with people wanting to get their gardens and homes ready for the summer months. It always amazes me that when the blossoms come out that this is when people start to come out of hibernation and decide to fix up their gardens and homes. We as South Africans have really got this all wrong. Our winters are relatively mild with little to no rain, depending on which province you reside in this is when you should be preparing your garden for our summer months and doing renovations on your home.

Rainy summers

If you live in the provinces with no rain in winter these are the practical things you should be focused on during winter months: roof repairs, painting, damp proofing, repairs to your pool and ponds, hard landscaping such as decks, paving and installing irrigation systems.

Come spring you should not be digging up your garden to repair pipes and painting while trying to dodge the rain clouds. You should be focussed on lawn dressing your lawns; if your lawns have a thick thatch build up then it is best to scarify your lawn. To get optimum results I add a mix of Vita Grow 2:3:2 and Vita Green 5:1:5 organic fertilizer to my newly lawn dressed lawns.

My flowerbeds are given a thick layer of enriched compost which consists of kraal manure sifted topsoil and decomposed organic matter. The compost has a dark rich composite and, depending on how wet the season, it can be quite fresh on the nose, so put it lightly.

#TrueStory: I remember buying some fresh enriched compost not so long ago, I was driving down the main road and stopped at the traffic light what I did not expect was the smell to catch up to my car and all that were parked around my car… It was very embarrassing to say the least, the garden loved it on the other hand.

What the landscaper wants you to know

Now is a great time to get your tree specialists in to look at branches that require pruning. Removing dead wood and dangerous branches should be done before we have the summer thunderstorms.

Seedlings which can be planted in spring that will give you instant colour throughout summer are: alyssum, antirrhinum, begonias, celosia, cleome, dianthus, delphinium, foxgloves, marigolds, lobelias and petunias.

If you are into organic vegetable gardening, spinach, lettuce, chives, coriander, tomatoes, basil, cabbage and broccoli are in the nurseries. I have just planted all my seeds from last year’s harvest of corn, tomatoes and paw-paws and am really excited as I have just got pineapple to grow too.

Please remember that water restrictions are in place within Gauteng. You are only allowed to water your garden between 6pm and 6am, I usually water much later in the day in summer when the soil temperature really begins to cool down – watering to early the ground is still very warm and evaporation is still much higher. Cape Town and other drought affected areas have much harsher water restrictions please check with your municipalities to find out what restrictions you have.

If you are really unsure what to do in your garden this season I would really recommend that you pick up the magazine – The Gardener from your local store and visit the multitude of Open Gardens which are on display throughout South Africa. We viewed six gardens this past weekend and what a beautiful way to spend a weekend walking through truly spectacular gardens. Once you have got some ideas ask a landscaper to help you design your garden.

Got a burning question? Email mariette@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist

Who is Nicholas Spargo?

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants.

Nicholas Spargo, owner of Spargo Landscape Consultants.

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.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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