Mix of Pink, Whitem Orange and Purple Flowers in Garden

August To Do: Spring into your garden now and get a head start!

August To Do: Prepare your garden for Spring.

August is a strange month in South Africa. While it is the last calendar month of winter, the windy month of the year brings cold spells and some potential frost. This can make it tricky to plan your spring garden. It is a good idea to provide stability to young trees or perennials that are tall and tend to break in harsh winds. Be sure not to tie the stake too tightly to the plant because it may cause damage as it grows bigger.

To help get you through the month and prepared for Spring, we have put together a guide and some suggestions of flowers to get your blooming garden started!


Clean out your flower beds.

Remove dead, dying and unsightly old annual and perennial plants. Annuals will start to look stretched, have slowed down in blooming and flowers will appear less vibrant. These are all indicators that the flower shave passed their peak, and it is best to remove these plants from the soil.

While perennial plants are long blooming and long living, over a period of years, they too get old, and the stems become "wood like" instead of green and "bendy". This is an indicator that the perennial plant has passed its best and may need replacing.

Turn the soil and rake out the old leaves and broken stems.

Now is an excellent time to turn in organic compost or a slow-release fertiliser.


Start your Spring Seedlings Indoors

Get a head start on your Spring Seedlings by starting your seed indoors.

August is a great time of year to get your seedlings started early, sow your seeds into a seedling tray filled with sterilised germination mix or potting soil. Make sure that there are sufficient nutrients in the soil to germinate your seeds. You can do this by avoiding using soil that has previously been used to grow seed or seedlings in or by adding a good mixture of compost or fertiliser to your soil before adding it to your germination tray.

The seedlings should be kept out of extreme weather conditions to ensure steady germination and growth for the seedlings until they are approximately 8 weeks old. Once the seedlings have reached this age – you can start hardening off the young plants by slowly introducing them to the outside elements.


 For the Sunny Spots

Choosing the position in your garden for your plants is important. Placing a shade-loving plant in the sun will burn it and prevent the plant from reaching its full potential. Likewise for placing a sun loving plant in shade, it will not receive sufficient light to survive and will end up dying as well.

Flowers like Marigolds, Angelonia, Alyssum, Dahlias, Salvia, Vinca, Celosia, Petunias and Pentas do exceptionally well in sunny spots in the garden.


 Brighten up the Shady Areas

Impatiens (Busy Lizzie's) love the shade and come in a variety of colours that will ensure your shaded areas are not dull in colour. Other flowers you may want to consider are the Primula, Viola’s, Begonia’s and Torenia. Though these varieties would do well with some morning sun and partial shade throughout the day.


August Annuals

Annuals such as Alyssum, Gazania, Antirrhinum, Pansies and Viola’s are great annual plants to get started in preparation for Spring. For quick colour that blooms all Spring long, these annuals are a win! As a bonus to the vibrant colours, you will also get unique blends that stand out from your perennials that are not yet in bloom.


Perennials with a purpose

Perennials are an excellent addition to your garden. While some perennials take 2 years to start flowering, there are many varieties that do flower in the first year. If you are looking for long-term foliage with a pop of colour, then adding perennial plants to the background of your flower beds is an excellent idea. They grow tall and the flowers will stand out brightly against the green foliage.

Perennial Plants such as Lavenders, Rosemary and Salvia are beneficial and show stunning flowers. They have a hidden talent too! Beneficial insects, such as pollinators, will flock to your garden. Pollinators, like bees, butterflies, and other insects, are especially helpful in spreading pollen to your flowers and vegetables resulting in brighter blooms and larger produce. They are especially also important for the vegetable varieties that require a pollinator to produce any kind of vegetable.


Space out your Garden

Take your time to plan your spring garden – this includes planning more than just which annuals and perennials you would like and making sure that sun loving plants do not end up in the shade.

Hydrozining is the term used for grouping plants together with similar water requirements together will reduce the water usage and localize watering requirements. You can also group plants with similar fertilization requirements together to save time and money.

Plan your garden to be low maintenance by placing plants together with similar watering and fertilizing requirements. This will save you time and money in watering and fertilizing sufficiently.

Group plants like Cannas, Forget Me Nots (Myosotis), ornamental grasses (Juncus, Carex) and Asters together. These varieties love sunny areas and do well with partial shade. They are all high-water requirement plants which will help with watering just one section of the garden. It is helpful to mulch these areas as well to prevent moisture loss through evaporation.

Although these plants are thirsty – they only require water when the soil becomes dry. You can maintain the moisture by watering as little as once or twice a week. And limited maintenance water plants may only need water every week and a half to 2 weeks.

If you are a stickler and particular gardener or would like to make sure you are not using more than needed – you can invest in a moisture tester and monitor the water requirements of your plants and water as needed and indicated by the moisture meter – these can be found at most garden centres.

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Love your ideas and plants

Daphne Auer

Thanks for these wonderful tips. Spring is just around the corner! My lavenders have a multitude of flowers at the moment and many bees. Beautiful!


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