Right now our Hilton gardens seem dry and dusty but compared to many places in South Africa we cannot whinge. Instead we must acknowledge that we live in an oasis by comparison!
The temperatures have been as a friend put it, "Ominously warm." As we know all to well snow can fall nearby as late as November so keep your scarves, gloves and beanies at the top of your clothes pile.
Meanwhile it is divine out of doors with many blue sky days, our sweet fresh air and sunshine to chase away any remnants of Winter's chill. If you have a passion for gardening you will be thrilled at the birdsong and promise of Spring.
We have not yet felt August's gutsy wind so be prepared for blasts of heat or even belated frosts. Now is the time to check older trees for any unsteady branches and remove them carefully before a wind does the job recklessly. August certainly beckons the end of winter and the beginning of spring with pregnant buds, the first sweet blossoms and the suns gentle migration south. Watch your standards too and mend any unstable stakes.
It'd be good to begin watering and mulch if you have not done so, it will reduce moisture loss as temperature increase. Clear out drains and gutters before rains return. Feed your roses Epsom salts, a tablespoon each will be welcome. Liliums are bursting at ground level and need nourishment. Your deciduous trees are hungry for something organic. Fuschias enjoy a light pruning of dead and weak growth as well as inward bound stems.
Your lawn may be quite desperate looking and you should give it a spring clean. Mow short, scarify by pushing a garden fork into the soil so the roots can breathe and drink when the rains arrive. Rake over well to rid it of dry bits. Fill holes. Feed with some 4.1.1 and then water well.
For colourful flowers the time is right to sow the seeds of ageratum, alyssum, aster, begonia, candytuft, celosia, cleome, coleus, bedding dahlias, dianthus, gaillardia, gloriosa daisy, Helianthus spp. (sunflower), helichrysum, impatiens, lobelia, marigold, nasturtiums, nicotiana, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia, salpiglossis, torenia, verbena, vinca and zinnia.
If you have a vegetable patch can sow bean, beet, brinjal, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, corn, lettuce, leeks, onion, radish, swiss chard, tomato or turnip seeds.
There are always pests who add nuisance value to a gardeners experience throughout the year. During August you should watch out for caterpillars boring into the centre of clivia and other plants of the lily family. Scale on indoor palms. Leaf curl may appear on your peaches and nectarines. Mealy bugs and aphids settle on succulent new growth. Your favourite nurseryman or woman will be equipped to advise you on the best solution to keep these worrisome creatures at bay.
Gardening is a healthy activity that can strengthen your body, calm your mind and reward you with colour and flavour! Go ahead and indulge.
Written by: Budding Diva