Autumnal Gardening

Do you look around enviously every spring at all those magnificent gardens bursting with colour and full of flowers? Do you think to yourself, “That’s how ours is going to look next year?”, but then are unsure how to do it?


Help is at hand! The Catscapes team have put together our best spring garden tips to ensure that your garden will be picture perfect!


Tip #1 Plan for success

Those gardens you admire every year – most of them select fairly easy to grow annuals and that is why they are always successful! Here are just a few of our all-time favourites: Fairy primulas – Primula malacoides – so rewarding, so easy to grow, a guaranteed winner! Available in pinks, white, lavender, and wine tones, flower spikes up to about 30cm
  • Pansies – shorter growing, about 15-20cm high, available in all colours from pastel to bright, with faces or clear – so beautiful
  • Violas – look just like miniature pansies, little plants laden with bright happy little faces
  • Poppies are another real winner in the garden and so lovely as cut flowers in your home too!
  • If you have a slightly bigger area in full sun Namaqualand daisies are always a winner! And planted from seed very cost effective too! You can go traditional with the bright oranges and yellows or all white. A fun thing to do is to mix white Namaqualand daisy seeds and Virginia Stocks seeds and plant together for a stunning mauve and white look. Just be aware that Namaqualand daisies close their flowers when not in full sun so don’t plant in shade spots
  • If you are keen to give bulbs a go – Tulips, Ranunculus, Daffodils, Freesias and Amaryllis are always fabulous. You can order these directly from the Hadeco website and then will deliver to your door in time for planting. Don’t feel restricted to only these plants, there are lots of other fabulous choices, these are just a few of our favourites!


Tip #2 Winter and Spring Gardens are Planted by Easter


We know, the weather is still too warm to even be thinking of winter just yet let alone spring! But the weather turns quickly and soil temperatures start to drop resulting in growth slowing down so an easy rule of thumb is to try and get your winter and spring flowers planted as close to the Easter Weekend as possible. Remember to prepare your soil well beforehand by digging in some nice rich weed-free compost (and be careful not to disturb the roots of sensitive plants like roses). Also, for maximum effect pay close attention to plant spacing (check the plant label).


Tip #3 Water and Feed Regularly

Particularly in the days and weeks following planting it is critical to keep your seedlings well- watered, especially when the weather is still quite warm to try and get them established and actively growing before the cold weather slows them down. To give your plants a boost it is really effective to feed them fortnightly – either with and organic fertilizer or a chemical one like Mulitfeed (1 flat teaspoon in 1 litre of water). Do not over fertilize or increase the dose as it can cause root burn which will adversely affect these young plants.


Tip #4 Sit Back and Enjoy Your Beautiful Garden!


You’ve done all the hard work, all that is left is to enjoy the fruits of your labour !
Happy gardening everyone!

Autumn transplanting of Evergreens

Early autumn is the best time to transplant evergreen shrubs and trees that are planted in the wrong place in your garden; whereas deciduous trees and shrubs are traditionally transplanted in mid-winter, when they have lost all their leaves and are totally dormant.

As the temperatures drop in autumn, the day length decreases and plant sap slows down; thus reducing the shock and trauma that can occur when moving evergreen trees and shrubs which are actively growing. The soil is still relatively warm in autumn, giving the plants a chance to settle in before the weather really turns cold. The roots will continue to grow throughout winter, and in spring the plant will be ready to start shooting new top growth.

To help reduce transplant shock, dose your evergreen shrubs and trees with Magnesium sulphate (Epson Salts) two weeks before transplanting. Dissolve 6 tablespoons into 10l of water and water it into moist soil. For large plants apply an extra dose or two. You can also spray the plant with a product called Wilt Pruf to reduce transplant shock. For large shrubs it is necessary to prune them back a bit or the roots that remain will not be able to support the plant; in cold regions do not prune too harshly; trees can also be pruned if required.

Prepare the new planting holes well in advance so that the soil can settle nicely. Add lots of compost to the soil and a generous sprinkling of bone meal. Tie a piece of string onto the north side of large trees and shrubs so that you can plant them facing in the same direction that they were growing in before. Water the plants to be transplanted thoroughly a day or two before transplanting.

For large plants, dig a trench around the plant a day before lifting; this is important as you will sever some roots and this is already a shock to the plant. Water lightly and let the plant rest until the following day. Finally dig the entire plant out and move it into its new position. Plant it firmly, stake if necessary and water thoroughly. Never plant deeper than the level at which your plant or tree was growing before. It is not necessary to do anything else until summer besides watering thoroughly once or twice a week.

Some info from SA gardening

Let the friendly professional team at Catscapes Landscapes create the garden of your dreams

Autumn Roses

Autumn roses are often the most perfect ones. Shorter days are a signal to roses to prepare for winter dormancy and the plants start converting sugar to starches and storing it in their stems for their spring growth, so it is important to feed them regularly; especially in the summer rainfall regions. In very cold regions, you should stop feeding by mid-March as this will harden them off against the cold. Lower daytime temperatures and reduced evaporation also mean that you can reduce the amount you water, while still ensuring good moisture in the soil.
Watch out for red spider in hot, dry regions.

In hot, humid regions, you can trim your roses lightly if necessary. Do not cut them short as they can produce their most beautiful blooms in autumn
Late summer and autumn are ideal times to plant new roses, when the soil is still warm enough for the plant to produce hair roots. Roses planted at this time will be ready to grow to their full potential in spring, and produce their first flush of blooms of the season.

Roses like excellent air circulation, but not a draughty windy site; and require at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight a day. Do not plant them near to walls where the soil tends to be dry, or close to other large shrubs, whose roots will compete with the rose for moisture and food.

Roses are quite fussy about their soil. They will do best in light clay or loamy soil, but sandy soil should be enriched with lots of well-rotted manure or compost. Heavy clay can be loosened with basalt and acidic soil is best mixed with lime each year.

Prepare your planting holes very well, making them 1 1/2 times as wide as they are deep, +-60cm square and +-45cm deep. Remove the topsoil and put it one side before digging the rest of the hole. Mix the excavated soil with special rose compost, or well-rotted manure or compost, and a handful of bone meal.
Before planting roses into the garden, ensure that the soil in the planting bag is well watered and allowed to drain, so that it is neither too dry, nor too soggy. Do not plant roses deeper than they are already growing in the nursery bag, the bud union must be above ground level. Firm the soil down well before watering the plants thoroughly. Keep the new plants moist but not soggy. In very cold regions, mulch the roots after planting to protect them from freezing. Do not prune roses after you have planted them in autumn

Some info from SA Gardening

Let the friendly professional team at Catscapes Landscapes create the garden of your dreams!

Easter Gardening with the Children

Easter is the best time to be in the garden with the children.

Make or buy an Easter basket now that can be filled daily with their own home grown produce. Plant lettuce in carrots in a sunny area of the garden and keep them moist. If space or the theme of your garden does not allow, then plant them in containers (half wine barrels are ideal). Make sure the area has sufficient sun. The soil should be amended with a rich compost. The plants need to be kept moist until grown. If space is not an issue, create a tee pee out of bamboo sticks with tomatoes growing on them.

Strawberries and spinach are also relatively easy to grow. Children love to taste mint and it can make an instant addition, as well as being welcome in most cocktails. The veggie patch will also provide an ideal area for hiding the eggs, which can be eaten relatively guilt free after all the healthy home grown produce has been consumed. The excitement can be raised by adding a scarecrow, or relating to Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor’s garden. Have fun watching them grow and enjoying them. Wishing everyone a very blessed Easter!

Christmas Gardening

” Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your banches”

FESTIVE GARDENING

There is no better time to get your garden gloves on, and give yourself and your family the gift that keeps on giving.

INSIDE THE HOME

Instead of spending the GDP of a small country on a conventional tree, consider the indigenous option. The most popular traditional looking choice is the Yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus). It is an evergreen tree which can be easily transplanted into the garden once it has completed its festive function, or keep it in the pot for the following year (they make very attractive pot plants). It has tiny dark green foliage. It is very slow growing which makes it ideal to be used for a number of years. It should be kept during the year in semi shade

Another great choice (if somewhat unusual) is the Cape gardenia (Rothmania capensis) . It is a very attractive small indigenous tree. It has shiny dark green leaves and flowers from December to March. As like its European cousin it has a beautiful fragrance. It will do best in full sun.

Should you wish to go all indigenous, spray paint different seed pods to make the decorations, add sequins and glitter. Berries, fruit and cones can be added to create interest.

IN THE GARDEN

A plant makes a great Christmas gift. For those fortunate to have large gardens, the Tree Wisterea makes a lovely gift, and for those that don’t, a perfect gift is some Rock Roses in a glass container.

Should you be entertaining, it is essential that your garden is looking its best. If you have to fill in with plants, rather choose larger varieties. If you are not set on indigenous, hydrangeas and Fuchsias are very rewarding this time of year. If you want to go more indigenous, there are a wonderful selection of water wise sun loving succulents or perennials such as Felicias, agapanthus, Freylinea and more shade loving plants like Plectranthus, Makaya bella, ferns which will create a wonderful display.

Whatever you decide to do in the garden, make sure you enjoy it to the full! Grab a cocktail and soak up the beautiful holiday weather and the natural beauty we are so blessed with in this country. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for all your garden requirements.

Valentine’s gardening

“Roses are red
Violets are blue
Valentine’s is time for gardening,
For love and you”

It is a busy month in the garden. Let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams. It’s not too late to sow winter flowering annuals. Dead head the old blooms from the annuals to keep them looking great for a lot longer. Watch out for snails and red spider which can be troublesome during hot, dry weather, so look carefully for the telltale yellowing leaves.

Summer Flowering Annuals
Any of the annuals listed below that were not sown in January can still be sown this month. Best results are usually obtained from seed sown in seed trays. If these annuals are sown now the seedlings will stand through the winter and start flowering early next summer:
Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)
Alyssum
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Daucus Carota var. carota (Queen Anne’s Lace)
Delphinium grandiflorum (butterfly delphinium)
Dianthus (pinks)
Digitalis purpurea (foxglove)
Iberis umbellata (candytuft)
Malcolmia maritima (Virginian stocks)
Petunia x hybrida
Phlox drummondii
Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium)
Verbena x hybrida

Winter Flowering Annuals
Sweet peas: These can be sown at the end of the month. A week before sowing, give the soil a light sprinkling of lime and rake this into the top layer of soil. Erect the trellis before sowing.
Any of the annuals listed below can be sown from the beginning of the month
onwards, unless otherwise stated:
Calendula officinalis (pot marigold)
Chrysanthemum carinatum (annual variety)
Clarkii
Consolida ambigua (larkspur) (sow in situ)
Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (Livingstone daisy or Bokbaaivygie) (protect
seedlings from birds by putting chicken wire over the beds)
Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea)
Linaria maroccana (toad flax – sow in situ)
Lupinus hartwegii (lupin – sow in situ)
Matthiola incana (stocks – sow at end of the month in all areas)
Nemesia
Papaver nudicaule (Iceland poppy)
Phacelia
Schizanthus (poor man’s orchid)
Ursinia anethoides (jewel of the veld)
Venidium fastuosum (Aus daisy or bitter gousblom)
Viola cornuta (viola)
Viola x wittrockiana (pansy)

Perennials
Seedlings sown in November and December should be large enough to plant out into the garden now.
Delphiniums: Water copiously and cut down old flower stems.
Dianthus and carnations: These can be propagated now by layering.
Hellebores: These are probably starting to bud. Give the plant about a
heaped tablespoon of 2:3:2 scattered round each plant, and mulch with
compost. Start watering regularly if the weather is dry. Put out snail bait
round the plants if necessary.
Pelargoniums (geraniums): Start pruning. The tips of pruning’s can be used for cuttings. The cuttings should be about 7- 8cm long. Cut just below a node (growth point).

Summer Flowering Bulbs
Agapanthus: Water as needed.
Cannas: Water during dry weather, and fertilise around each clump once a month. Water in after application. Remove old flower stems
Gladioli: Water regularly, spray once a week against thrips and gladiolus fly, and spray for rust if necessary. Lift which are dying back.
White evergreen arum lilies: If the plants are overcrowded and were not lifted last month they can still be lifted and divided this month. Cut off some of the older leaves, and then replant the tuber-like rhizomes in soil enriched with compost and a dressing of superphosphate.


Winter Flowering Bulbs

These bulbs can be planted now:
Amaryllis belladonna (March lily – plant now only in the summer rainfall areas)
Gladiolus blandus
Gladiolus carinatus (mauve afrikander)
Ipheion uniflorum (star of bethlehem)
Lachenalia (cape cowslip)
Veltheimia bracteata (V. viridifolia – forest lily)

Shrubs
Keep the ground mulched with compost and water once every three weeks during hot and dry weather. Pay special attention to watering camellias and azaleas. Hose down azaleas once a week in dry windy weather. If azalea foliage is turning yellow apply iron chelate at the rate recommended on the container, plus a tablespoon of magnesium (Epsom salts) per bush, and acidify the soil with pine needles, acid peat or a light dusting of sulphur.
Roses: Continue preventative spraying against black spot, rust and mildew combining this with a foliar feed. Water once a week during dry weather.

Vegetables
Continue to feed summer vegetables still producing good crops. apply a well balanced fertiliser and water well.
Continue to water vegetables regularly. Pull up any, which have finished bearing. Transplant the seedlings of winter vegetables as soon as they are large enough.
Beetroot
Brussels sprouts (finish sowing)
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Dwarf spinach
Endive
Globe artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke
Kohlrabi
Leek
Lettuce
Onion
Parsnip
Radish
Swede turnip (finish sowing)
Swiss chard
Turnip

Let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams. Whether an English country garden or cactus garden Catscapes landscapes have the horticultural solution for you

Midsummer gardening

Hi Ho, Hi Ho,
It’s off to work we go

Christmas is over and its back to the grindstone, however Summer means different things to different gardeners. But for all of us, summer brings common challenges, such as dividing time and effort between keeping our gardens in good shape, and enjoying them.

1. Take care of budding plants
Does your camellia drop its buds and flowers? As camellias initiate budding in summertime, sudden loss of buds and flowers is often a consequence of the plants drying out, particularly when they are growing in containers. Mulch and water deeply once or twice weekly during hot, dry weather to limit this common and irritating problem.

2. Help pots to stay cool
Potted plants, especially those in terracotta pots, are vulnerable to overheating. Lightly mulch and, where possible, position them out of hot western sunshine. Remember that standing potted plants in saucers of water encourages root rot and mosquito breeding.

3. Water early to avert mildew
Water in the cool of the day. The best time is morning but, if you water in the afternoon, allow enough time for foliage to dry out before sunset. This reduces the risk of mildew and other fungi attacking leaves. Mildew frequently attacks roses, pumpkin, melon, zucchini and cucumber. Spray plants weekly with a solution made from one part cow’s milk to 10 parts water. Repeat after heavy rain or irrigation.

4. Add nutrients to the water
If you can only water occasionally, try to water plants deeply and use that opportunity to simultaneously feed and correct mineral deficiencies. Apply a soluble fertiliser with added seaweed. Water in potassium around the base of fruit trees, especially citrus, banana and lychee, to improve fruit flavour and juiciness. The potassium is important for controlling anthracnose disease of avocado and mango, and it generally helps to improve plant vigour and resistance to foliar fungi.

5. Keep the lawn long and lush
Brown, bare, weed-infested lawns are symptoms of scalping, which means cutting lawns too low. It’s a misconception that cutting lawns low reduces the cutting frequency. Instead, mow lawns as high as your mower permits. Longer turf wears better, but most important of all, a thick sward suppresses pernicious weeds such as oxalis. Should you wish to cut lower cut more frequently. Let Catscapes landscapes scarify your lawn should it be thick. Let Catscapes landscapes professionally fertilise your lawn using their special blends.

6. Keep the water flowing
Check that hoses and irrigation systems are free of leaks, and unblock the nozzles. Clear debris from gutters so that every shower funnels extra water into your rainwater tank. Do you need another, bigger rainwater tank? Use mosquito mesh to stop mosquitoes and frogs from entering tanks and pipes. Let Catscapes landscapes take care of all your irrigation and water harvesting needs.

7. Do hard work when it’s cool
It’s safer, and you’re more likely to do a better job, if youlete energetic work such as mowing in the cool of the day – either before 10am or after 4pm.

8. Protect new plantings
Freshly planted vegetable and flower seedlings are likely to need a bit of sun hardening. Shelter them with 50 per cent shadecloth, old net curtains, dead palm fronds, or leafy branches for a week or two. This helps them establish without harm.

9. Plan shade strategically
Northern boundaries may benefit from some extra shade, but will this make a solar panel or hot water system inefficient? Strategically placing a deciduous tree, vine or some clumping bamboo to shield your house and garden from searing western sunshine is often a better option. For more information on using plants to shade exposed areas of your home, let Catscapes landscapes advise you

10. Boost trace elements
Magnesium encourages robust growth and the production of energy in plants. Gardenias and roses in particular benefit from supplementary magnesium in summer. Also apply it to cymbidium orchids to help initiate flower buds. 1 heaped tsp of Epsom salts to 4.5L of water. Either spray the foliage, or water it in at the roots. If the leaves of citrus, banksia, grevillea, camellia or azalea become stunted and mottled yellow, now is also the time to boost the iron content of soil by applying iron chelates. This acidifies soil and adds iron necessary for healthy growth.

Let Catscapes landscapes take care of all your landscape requirements from design to rejuvenating your garden; from irrigation to lawn care.

Festive gardening

The chocolate advent calendars are half eaten and it’s the first week of December! It’s the perfect time to spruce up the garden and spend some time enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. Whether it’s a simple get together with friends, or a joyous banquet with the whole family, here are a few smart tips and easy gardening ideas that are designed to produce edible and decorative props to be enjoyed over the coming months. These handy tips to enjoy your garden to its full potential during this season.

Reigning in the festive feel
Adding potted colour is the easiest way to get the festive spirit going. Jasmine or Gardenias will not only look great, but smell great too.

Add a feature
If your garden doesn’t have a focal point, now is the time to add one. Whether it is beautiful bench, water feature, bird bath, a statue or an arch; creating a point of interest in the garden is paramount to its success

Light it up
There are some great solar powered outdoor lights which can create any ambience you desire. From flashing tree lights, to subtle up-lighters; the sky is the limit with creating an area which can be utilised day and night.

Lush lawns
In most South African gardens the lawn is the dominant feature. Fill in the gaps, fertilise with 5.1.5 and water it in well. Top dress if necessary.

Clean up and fill up
Remove all dead leaves and foreign debris from the garden beds. If there are gaps fill up with annual colour or mulch with bark chips. Interplanting with herbs such as mint can also provide a fresh festive vibe as well as being a practical source of flavouring for the G & T.

Make the best of what you have
Make your wreaths for the front door from indigenous Olive branches and decorate. Use red fruits and vegetables to give your home the festive colour.

Bring in the birds
Birds have always played a part in my Christmas’s. Whether the robin on the Christmas cards or the trips to see the Eagle at the botanical gardens. It is a great time to attract more birds to your garden with feeders and water points as well as feeding stations with fruit and sugar water. (these make great gifts too)

Take a load off
After all the organising and fussing – sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays. Avoid being beaten inside by those summer rays by creating a shady haven in your garden, whether a large umbrella, a canopy or a pergola are ideal for making the most of your outdoor space

Most important tip
Always leave one job undone. This is vital; so that when the irritating in- law at the Christmas day lunch has you cornered, you can honestly say that you would love to chat, but you really do have to go and clean the water feature

Spring has sprung; the grass is riz

Yeah! Spring has sprung! It is time to spend time in your garden with all the beautiful weather we have been having; and prepare your garden for the seasons ahead. Don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated, let the professional team at Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams.

The focal point of most South African gardens is the lawn. It is essential that the lawn is scarifyed in Spring. This will make the lawn healthier and denser. It will make watering and fertilizing more effective. It will level out small undulations and remove the habitat of a lot of fungi.

spring

Selecting the right fertiliser will make the applications the most cost effective. Remember to always apply fertiliser when the grass is dry and then to apply a lot of water afterwards (or apply in the rain)

Choose your focal points in the garden for the upcoming season. Whether a well placed bench, a water feature or a group of colourful annuals… this will provide the focus and talking point of your garden.

Whether you are thinking of servicing your irrigation or installing a new system, from a focal point to redesigning your garden; let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams.

Autumn Gardening

With a little planning and a little effort you can avoid the devastating effects of the winter cold. Let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams; from mulching to frost covers; from complete redesign to irrigation.
Autumn
1. Protecting your plants

Your beautiful garden plants will most probably get destroyed by the frost in winter (depending on your location) if precautions aren’t taken to protect them. The only way to prevent this from happening is to wrap with frost cover or hessian.

You can also use thatching grass to protect the tender stems

Plant snap dragons, pansies, violas, alyssum, primulas, delphiniums, dianthus, foxgloves and petunias.

Cover all the tropical plants, especially large leaf plants such as the giant strelitsia and the tree fern.

Mulch is the shredding of leaves, sticks, grass and bark, and any material placed over soil in the garden to help retain moisture and stop the soil from eroding. Mulch also enriches the existing soil and should be layered 5cm to 10cm thick.

2. What to plant this autumn

There’s no need to have to prepare your eyes for a sore sight over these colder months, as you can still enjoy a colourful environment. Your winter annuals should be planted and should provide cheery relief over this period.

If you have a vegetable garden, autumn is the time to plant winter vegetables like onions, cabbage, broccoli, peas and broadbeans.

Remember to water them in the mornings to allow more time for water to filter through to the roots and get some sunshine.

This is also a good time to start moving some of the shrubs and trees that need a new location.

3. Planting for spring

While working on your winter garden, don’t forget to think about spring. Many plants can already be planted in the autumn and winter months to sprout when spring arrives.

Some bulbs can go into the ground by March, though many will need to wait until the end of autumn.

4. Care and maintenance tips

To insure the well-being of their precious gardens, homeowners need to do all the pruning at the beginning of autumn, and if any of these plants or trees are diseased, cut the diseased sections off and dump or burn these cuttings, as they can cause problems and possibly infect the rest of your garden.

Autumn is also a good time to start a compost pile or to add to your existing one. There will be more than enough dead leaves, flowers, plants, grass cuttings and kitchen waste to use. This will help your garden significantly next season. Remember not to throw weeds or diseased plants into the compost bin.

Let Catscapes landscapes create the garden of your dreams.