COUNTRYWIDE, this time of year could easily be referred to as Maintenance March, making it a great time to administer some TLC to your garden preparing it for the coming winter months.
Traditionally, it is also our water-wise month, so implement a new water-saving method.
As the weather starts cooling don’t forget to adjust your watering, especially any automatic systems, to use less of this precious commodity. Having said that, you should still water before 9am to lose as little moisture to evaporation as possible while still allowing the foliage enough time to dry off before nightfall.
If you didn’t make use of mulch during the hotter months, you have no excuse now as mulching will prevent the soil from losing moisture on hot days in the warmer regions, help with protection on cold frosty nights in the colder ones and serve a dual purpose for our more temperate region.
Mulch is also great for suppressing weed growth.
Split and divide your agapanthus, day lilies, arum lilies and cannas, prune your shrubs that have no doubt grown enthusiastically during the summer and deadhead all your annuals.
Feed your rose bushes with a fertiliser high in nitrogen and potassium to give those autumn flowers a boost and now, before winter sets in, is a great time to do the same, with a suitable fertiliser, for your lawn.
The Eastern Cape coast in March is almost as hot as it is in February so be sure to keep an eye out for pests. You can plant annuals like dianthus, petunias and lobelia to vegetable seeds like beetroot, carrots and radish and even a late crop of sweet basil.
Plant some small trees like Tibouchina, Caplurnea aurea, Pavettas and Stenocarpus which are flowering in the Eastern Cape now.Two of the most rewarding garden perennials you can plant now, that offer year round colour, are begonia dragon wings and New Guinea impatiens. © Life is a Garden, South African Nursery Association