Evergreen summer-flowering shrubs such as abelia, hibiscus and gardenia often take a battering in winter. Branches can be broken and leaves eaten. Plus, with a lower, weaker, winter sun casting minimal light in a damp environment, fungal problems may have emerged. To help encourage fresh new spring growth, remove any broken stems and damaged leaves, then prune other branches or stems to allow air to freely circulate.
2. Weed and feed lawns
Weeds are ugly opportunists that will fill any bald patch in your lawn. They will also steal nutrients from grass roots, with offenders including lawn-smothering dandelions, clover, thistles and the summer bane of our lives – and those of our dogs – bindii.
Additionally, your lawn will require a pick-me-up after its winter snooze. So weed and feed it in one go with an integrated product you can attach to your hose. Just make sure you choose the right one for the type of lawn you have. Buffalo, kikuyu, fescue and couch all need different products!
3. Plant summer bulbs
All of those spring-flowering bulbs you planted in autumn, which are now exploding with joyous colour, will soon be exhausted, so look to plant summer bulbs now.
These bulbs offer big surprises in small packages that burst into blooms for most of the season. Go for hardy, sun-loving Asiatic lilies (Lilium sp) or voluptuous naked ladies (Amaryllis sp). There’s such a wonderful range of colours to pick from you’ll be conflicted.
When picking blooms, leave at least a third of the stem on the bulb so it can produce flowers next season.
4. Pot spring bloomers
Finally, after all that hard work, indulge in instant gratification and buy annual spring bloomers from your nursery to put in pots or a bed. Not only do you save yourself the trouble of nurturing them from seeds, you can also enjoy their prettiness until the long bloomers of summer take over. You can even double up.
For an instant carpet of colour, plant your summer-flowering bulbs in pots and, while you’re waiting for them to emerge, enjoy the vibrant spring sensations of pansies, native daisies, violas, polyanthus, stock and the drippingly gorgeous waterhyssop (Bacopa sp).
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