By developing a regular maintenance routine in the garden, you’ll cut down on the work required to keep it looking good year-round. Preventative maintenance is key and will save you time and money in the long run.
Horticulturist Colin Purnell from Earthlife says it pays to get to know your garden and keep a close eye on any changes. “I always say 50 per cent of gardening is observation,” he shares. So grab your morning cuppa and take a stroll around your garden from time to time. This will allow you to see what jobs might need doing and to assess the health of your plants.
READY, SET, GO
Getting started on the right foot is important. When planning a garden, good design is crucial. This means what you’ve planted is getting sufficient sunlight/shade for its needs. Once you’ve planted the garden, soil condition is another key aspect of garden maintenance, as depleting minerals in the soil will impact on the health of plants over time.
Colin suggests introducing a mineral mix into the soil. “Try rock dust, which is volcanic minerals, and if you can source one with soil biology in it, that’s even better,” he adds. Every three months, throw it around the plants, which will build up the levels, then cut back to twice yearly. “Your aim is to create a natural soil ecosystem so the plants will tap into that,” explains Colin.
FEEDING YOUR PLANTS
Getting the soil right is key, but even with added rock dust, sometimes plants might need a helping hand. “A supplemental boost of fertiliser can help if a plant isn’t flowering as well as it could be, or it might form buds but they fall off,” says Colin. “It’s a bit like us taking a multi-vitamin when we need it.”
PRUNING AND EDGING
Hedging and screening plants need regular maintenance so they don’t look scruffy and overgrown. Colin suggests regular pruning when the plants are young to keep them in shape. To begin with, work out the height and edge or line that you want the hedge to grow to. “The height is particularly important; if you let it get too tall, a hedge can lose the bottom foliage,” he points out. How frequently you trim hedging plants depends on the plant and its aspect. “For example, a popular hedging pant, lilly pilly, grows very fast, so you might need to trim it a few times during spring and through summer,” says Colin.
CARING FOR POND GARDENS
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