Winter is well and truly behind us and the promise of summer lingers in the air. For many Aussies, while the rest of the world hunkers down and wraps up warm, it’s the time to start wearing shorts once again, venturing outside once more and spending some quality time in the garden. The garden is a place where memories are made around this time of year. It’s the place where we hold barbecues and garden parties. It’s where we spend lazy Sunday afternoons reading a book or playing with the kids. Yet, while we’re all looking forward to making new memories in the garden this coming summer, let’s not pretend that the garden can’t look stunning all year round.
We all know that spending time amongst plants, trees and flowers is a great way to elevate our mood and combat stress and depression. We all know the feeling of peace and serenity that comes with sitting in your garden simply listening to the gentle breeze stirring the foliage. Why should we limit ourselves to enjoying the mood lifting benefits of nature to the summer? Here are some tips on growing a garden that looks fantastic not just in summer, but all year round…
Know when to mow
Mowing your lawn may not be the most fun aspect of gardening but it’s one of the most fundamental. After all, it doesn’t matter how beautifully it’s ringed with multi coloured blooms. It doesn’t matter if you have exquisite garden furniture and ornamentation. If your lawn looks shaggy and unkempt it can cheapen the carefully landscaped look of your garden. The lawn is the feature that ties the garden together. Yet, while we may not be aware of it, mowing the lawn at the wrong time or to the wrong length can have an extremely detrimental effect on the lawn and the garden as a whole, which is why it may be a good idea to entrust your lawn maintenance to a company like Garden-R lawn mowing. Cutting the lawn too early can result in the transmission of pathogens through damp grass. It can also result in smaller, more shallow roots which can cause trouble when summer begins in earnest. It can lead to dry and burn stems which can give your lawn a patchy look. Thus, try and hold off your mowing for as long as you can and try to cut to a length of around 2 and a half inches. You should never remove more than a third of the blade when mowing.
The power of perennials
Aside from the lush verdancy of a well maintained lawn, a beautiful garden needs to come alive with bursts of colour. While most gardens have this in abundance in the summer, they can look decidedly gloomy when autumn and winter roll around. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that your garden has a combination of both seasonal and perennial plants. It’s the perennials which will keep the spark of life, joy and vibrancy alive in your garden long after Autumn sets in. Any of these perennials will grow easily just about anywhere in Australia;
Queen Anne’s Lace (actually a form of wild carrot)
Portulacas (also known as moss roses)
Know what to plant and where
When you’re planning what to plant and where you may well be making choices purely based on how beautiful these plants look together. While this is a perfectly understandable consideration, it’s worth remembering that some plant species may look gorgeous together on the surface, but they don’t necessarily get along beneath the soil. They may compete with one another for the nutrients in the soil which is why companion planting is so important. Before rushing to the garden centre, make sure that you have plants in close proximity to one another that will share the space well.
Know your soil so your plants won’t spoil
While to the naked eye one handful of soil looks the same as any other there is enormous variation in soil in terms of nutrient content, pH balance and density. Needless to say, these all play a huge part in which plants will thrive in your soil and which will always struggle. If you haven’t already it behoves you to get a soil testing kit or check out this “do it yourself” guide to help you to determine your soil’s pH balance and nutrient content.
If you feel that your lawn is patchy or discoloured or that your lawn has more moss growing on it than grass you may have an issue with compacted soil. This is where the soil becomes so dense that the plants within it cannot get proper access to the oxygen, water and nutrients that they need. It may also prevent worms from doing their important work in your garden. In this case your soil may be in need of aeration. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Always clean your tools after use
Many keen gardeners like to ensure that they have the very best tools to keep their gardens looking their best. But even the most expensive and impressive tools can wind up inadvertently doing damage to your garden. If you use the same tools in different pots of soil or different areas of your garden without first cleaning them, this can spread the transmission of pathogens from one patch of soil to another. Just like us, plants get sick. Transmitting pathogens between different patches of soil through your tools can cause your plants to become anemic or even die.
Install a focal point
Every garden deserves a talking point. A focal point around which everyone can gather to sip white wine and chat, huddle up together in colder months or simply draw admiring glances and comments from visitors. Whether you choose to install a water feature, a firepit or even a gazebo in which you and your friends can gather, a focal point can really add that extra wow factor to your garden.
When your garden looks great all year round, you’ll be able to enjoy its benefits, whatever the weather.