Western Cape guides
National Water Week takes place this month, and it’s the perfect time to focus on doing your bit to conserve our precious water resources. Plan for a water-efficient garden by planting a garden of waterwise plants.
Spotlight on: Plectranthus
Plectranthus is grown for its interesting foliage and purple, mauve or lilac flowers. This waterwise plant is indigenous to South Africa and comes in six varieties, including shrubs and groundcovers. Here are some tips on growing these evergreen beauties:
- Plectranthus fares best planted under trees or in other shady spots.
- They’re drought-tolerant once established, so plant in autumn to catch the winter rains.
- You can plant them in either garden beds or pots.
- For larger species, prune once a year and deadhead when required.
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR MARCH
Plant & Sow
- Plant fynbos such as buchu, ericas, pincushions, proteas and restios after the first rain.
- Sow veggies such as beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, spinach, Swiss chard and in preparation for hearty winter broths.
- Plant leafy herbs such as basil, chicory, chives, dill, parsley, rocket and sorrel.
- Sow or plant flowering seedlings such as asters, calendula, cornflowers, dianthus, foxgloves, larkspurs, linaria, lupins, nasturtiums, nemesias, pansies, poppies, stocks, snapdragons and violas.
- Stock up on general fertiliser, wait until the first rain and then give your entire garden a good feed. Chat to a garden expert at your nearest Stodels garden centreto recommend the right fertiliser for your garden.
- Feed citrus trees with 3:1:5 to encourage fruit development.
- Deadhead roses and feed each plant with a handful of rose food to encourage another flush of flowers.
- Now is the perfect time to put down mulch – the soil is still warm and moist from summer temperatures.
- Conserve water by mulching around flower beds, trees and bushes.
- To deter weeds, apply mulch to new plantings that have germinated.
- Prune summer-flowering plants such as abelia, daisies, heliotrope, lavender, pelargoniums, salvia and weigela.
- Prune all evergreen trees, except those that bear flowers and berries in spring.
- Disguise eyesores like dead grass by planting rock gardens or adding gravel.
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
Water-saving tips in the garden In honour of National Water Week, brush up on these savvy water-saving practices in the garden:
- Plan a waterwise garden. Using the right garden design and including the hardiest, most drought-resistant plant varieties goes a long way in saving water in the garden. Not sure where to start? Access the seasoned advice of our garden experts by booking an on-site consultation.
- Water during the early morning or late evening. Watering plants during cooler times of the day will minimise evaporation and water wastage, and watering during the evening will give your plants all night to absorb the water before the sun dries them out.
- Switch to container gardening. With a smaller surface area for water loss and evaporation, container gardening is a growing trend and one of the best ways to save water in the garden.
- Collect grey water. Store grey water by using buckets or connect a grey-water system to your washing machine, bath and shower outlets, and ensure collected water is used within 24 hours of storage. You should also take care to use eco-friendly products that are biodegradable to ensure the water isn’t harmful to your garden. The best technique is to alternate between grey water, rainwater, or municipal water so that there isn’t a build-up of residue.
- Create a rainwater-harvesting system. Harvesting rainwater is a low-maintenance solution for saving water. If you have space, install a tank to catch rainwater. Depending on the requirements and installation, initial setup can be costly but will pay off in the long run. Other water-saving methods include using household containers, rain chains, rain barrels and ponds. Best of all, rainwater is better than tap water for gardening because it contains no chemicals and has the right pH level.
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