Green Living

Give your garden a boost this September with our spring gardening guide

From planting annuals to topping up potting mix and sowing a new lawn, these easy spring gardening tips will give your garden a much-needed boost just in time for summer

Give your garden a boost this September with our spring gardening guide

+ If your garden is looking a little bare after winter fill the gaps with easy-care flowering annuals such as alyssum, lobelia, marigold and calendula. Most will drop seed and give you more free plants as the growing season continues. Give the kids some sunflower seeds to sow in a sunny spot, too.

+ Spring is the best time to sow new lawns, while the ground is still moist but not boggy. (If it’s very wet resist sowing seed as it will probably wash away in the next downpour unless you cover the area.) Start your prep by removing perennial weeds and levelling the ground. Improve drainage in clay soil by using a fork to make holes and working coarse sand into them. Use the same method to add well-rotted compost to light, sandy soils.

+ Working in the garden is considered more beneficial than many other forms of exercise. Give yourself a gentle early-spring workout by topping up mulches and pulling out those little weeds that keep popping up after it rains in garden beds, shell or gravel paths and bark areas.

+ Bird lovers might want to think about adding more plants that produce nectar or berries to feed our feathered friends when food is scarce. Native birds relish coprosma, corokia, creeping fuchsia (Fuchsia procumbens) and titoki berries. Kowhai, ornamental cherries, aloes, pohutukawa (there are now many cultivars to suit smaller gardens), bottlebrush, tecomanthe, camellia, flax, protea and red hot pokers are rich in nectar, too. Plant now in warmer gardens, later in spring further south.

Gladioli – long considered a ‘nana’ flower – are making a comeback, and why not? Their bold flower spikes make a lovely display in the summer garden. Gladiolus hybrids, calla lily, dahlias, hippeastrum and other summer-flowering perennials can be planted now in many areas, but wait until late spring in very frosty gardens.

+ As late-winter-flowering plants like camellias, flowering quince, michelias and magnolias finish blooming, trim off crossing or diseased branches and lightly shape plants.

+ Don’t forget about container plants in your spring gardening spree. Plants use up all the nutrients in most potting mixes within a couple of years so now is a good time to replenish it. For large plants, you’ll probably only be able to remove part of the mix; do this and top up with fresh stuff. Use good-quality potting mix and wear a protective mask and gloves.

Words by: Carol Bucknell.

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