MAY is a great time of year to plant a fynbos garden, which includes South Africa’s national flower, the king protea (Protea cynaroides).
The cooler temperatures and reduced soil temperatures are the ideal conditions for fynbos plants such as proteas, ericas, restios and leucadendrons to establish themselves. Once planted and established, a fynbos garden is incredibly water-wise and requires little attention other than mulching in summer and watering in winter where there is little winter rainfall.
Indigenous gardens also provide a sanctuary for birds throughout the year and will attract numerous different species to your garden, including spectacular iridescent sunbirds. Not only is a fynbos garden indigenous and water wise, it is beautiful too and can be planted in combination with other indigenous species such as agapanthus, crassula and plectranthus to create a stunning display year round.
May is also tulip planting time in South Africa and you can find an assortment of varieties at your local garden centre. These hard-working and vibrant bulbs are the ideal addition to your spring garden and come in a range of different colours. Plan them en-masse in your garden or in pots on your stoep to enjoy the flowers up close.
May is also a good time to cut lilies and cannas down to ground level once the leaves have died back. Make sure to mark their position so you don’t forget where they will emerge next season.
Tie your sweet peas to their supporting framework or trellis and remove any unnecessary tendrils and side shoots to ensure strong and healthy plants that will provide you with an abundance of sweetly scented flowers in the spring.
To keep your citrus trees producing fruit for the next few months, apply a moderate amount of nitrogen fertiliser on the surface of the soil around the trees and water thoroughly.
Autumn is also a good time to plant a variety of new trees in your garden as it will allow roots to develop before the flush of new growth in spring.
Keep your eyes peeled for the first flowers emerging on the winter flowering impala lily which livens up the garden in the cold winter months.
For more information, visit www.lifeisagarden.co.za or www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa. SANA (South African Nursery Association)