Make the most out of your garden this spring

It’s no secret that we’re incredibly passionate about our gardens at Renishaw Hills. Thanks to our very own Dr Elsa Pooley, we have the most stunning indigenous plants that seem to thrive where we are situated. Although we’re lucky enough to have the green fingers of Elsa, this doesn’t mean that you can’t nurture your plants at home.

We sat down with Dr Pooley to get her tips on how you can make the most out of your garden this spring…

A word from Elsa:

“This is the time to think about your garden. After the long dry winter, everything is looking a bit thin and lanky. Some plants will have died or are past their best. Take a careful look at your garden and identify spaces which need attention. Before you start planning on bringing in new plants, make sure that certain maintenance matters like feeding are under control.”

Feed your garden

Fertiliser – You can use an all-purpose commercial fertiliser (which will need to be watered into the soil, or spread when the first rains arrive) or feel free to use an organic fertiliser.

Mulch – This keeps your soil healthy and moist. It will keep your plants healthy too. Mulch breaks down during the year and is absorbed into the soil. Dr Elsa recommends that you apply a new layer of mulch at least once a year. Sometimes, she uses her home-made compost for this purpose.

Prepare for the summer

Trim old growth – Flowering shrubs and perennials need a healthy trim to prepare for next season. Dr Elsa suggests that you prune summer-flowering trees and shrubs in winter, with winter or spring-flowering ones being pruned in summer.

Remove dead-heads – You might have noticed that many of your flowering plants have old flowers on them. By cutting them off, you will encourage more flowers. This should be done throughout the year to get the best out of your plants.

Plants which herald spring and early summer:

Why not consider adding some bulbs in your garden? Although they generally only flower once a year, they’re known for putting on a great show. This makes them a great investment for years to come:

Clivia miniata – This Bush Lily needs shade, but has great evergreen foliage, making for a real impact in the garden.

Crinum macowanii – The River Lily flowers in spring and again around February. It is a good mature bulb that will throw up two or three flowering heads. They have the most beautiful fragrant white and pink flowers. To make an impressive statement, plant a few of these.

Crinum moorei – The Forest Lily, although not a spring-flowering bulb, will be a wonderful addition to your garden. It is briefly deciduous and its leaves are attractive. It also produces lovely pink or white flowers more than once a year.

Haemanthus albiflos – Also known as the White Paint Brush, this versatile bulb needs to be planted in a clump. It flowers mostly in winter to produce wonderful big red fruits in early summer. It is evergreen and happy in deep shade and with some sun. This makes it ideal for shady areas.

Scadoxus puniceus – Also referred to as the Paintbrush, this deciduous bulb is always a sure sign of spring. It comes into bud in late July and flowers into September. Its flowers are beautiful and its fruits attract birds. The leaves are also attractive, making it a marvel even when it is not in bloom.

Veltheimia bracteata – The Glossy Forest Lily is an eye-catching, flowering bulb which produces inflated fruits that are equally as pretty. It is happy in deep shade but can take some sun as well.

Spring flowering trees for your garden:

Rothmannia globosa – The September Bells is a shrub or small tree. You will need to buy a mature plant that has already flowered as it is a slow-growing species. During spring, the whole plant is covered in creamy white, beautifully scented flowers.

Xylotheca kraussiana – Also known as the Wild Dog Rose, this is a small tree that bursts into bloom with large white flowers in spring. It flowers on and off throughout the summer, with its orange fruits splitting to show shiny red seeds that are known to attract birds.

For more on the gardens at Renishaw Hills and how you can own a piece of paradise and live the holiday, why not contact us today? sales@renishawhills.co.za.