Winter is Upon Us

Ann Hamilton-King

By Ann Hamilton King

Now with your three compost heaps ready and in use, some still decomposing, this is the time to use that which is ready for warmth and food in the winter.
Take your top layer (that has not rotted) off the compost heap and use it as the base in the next compost heap. That way, there is always compost in the middle bin to use. Then you have the good compost to use in the garden all year round.
Do not forget if you want colour you have to feed, feed, and feed! The best balanced food being compost first, and then mulch to retain the moisture and encourage growth.
This time of the year colours are glorious, you can use colour for beautifying your garden especially around the house, patios (patios are excellent for plants that prefer being potted) and along driveways (colour plants require more food and water) and some will grow well in mottled shade i.e. Cineraria’s and Primulas, and some in full sun, like Petunias and Namaqualand Daisies.
You can plant some of the colour plants for the flower arrangements in the house. Talking about flower arrangements, when you are in your garden smelling the roses and you have your secateurs in your hands, it is essential to take a half bucket of water with you, pick your flowers you need, immediately put them in the bucket next to you and take them to the shade area were you are going to arrange them. Have your vases washed and ready. Do cut the stem again under water in a small bowl next to you when you are actually doing the flower arrangements.
It is the time for your shrubs now to do their work without much attention. Hedges need attention at this time of the year too. Do not forget to feed and water your hedge and that your hedge should be three times wide at the bottom than the top, maximum of thirty centimetres (30cm) at the top and a metre at the bottom. Thus preventing those see-through hedges we see around us.
You can plant Buffalo and Durban grass (or the broad leafed ground covers) under the trees or in any other shady areas that you in the garden. That way you allow areas to rest in each season.

Happy Gardening ….Ann!

Ann Hamilton-King
Author: Ann Hamilton-King

Ann Hamilton King began her journey into the world of horticulture through the influence of her mother Elsie Grobler Hoffman. Later in life, being open minded to opportunities that come with volunteering; Ann volunteered to work at Kew Gardens in England and had the opportunity to see and learn how gardens are maintained. Amazed by how tiny seeds could grow into such beautiful flowers and plants, she combined the knowledge from Kew gardens and the desire imparted to her by her mother and decided to embark on a lifelong adventure exploring the world of horticulture. Over the years she has studied and photographed Zimbabwean plants in diverse habitats. Her experience is reflected in her articles in Harare Magazine and many personal blogs like www.12fleetwood.co.zw

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