• Lifestyle College

Get that Garden in Shape for Summer

Winter. The lazy time of the year. In many, many ways. Think about it - did you sit around doing not much exercise, and you’ve now realised you need to shed a few pounds, that it’s time to get that body back into shape? Much the same probably happened in one’s garden, with things possibly going pear-shaped out there too! But fear not – there’s time to get everything into shape for summer – all you need is a plan…..

There’s a wonderful feeling that arises in one’s body – much like the sap rising in plants – that for many people heralds the coming of spring, and an end to the dry, dusty coldness that we endure over winter (although, we are so lucky our winters are so short!). One can almost see it happening in the change of light, from a cold, white nuclear blast to the more rounded golden rays of summer. And you should have by now noticed the burgeoning buds and spring bulbs beginning to make their presence known. Yes, the harsh winter weather will soon be giving way to spring showers, sunshine, moderate temperatures, and new growth. And outdoor living begins to swing into step.

If you’ve been hibernating for most of winter, and not doing all that much in the garden, it’s now time to get back out there and start getting it – and yourself – ready for the summer months ahead. As Rudyard Kipling had it: ‘Gardens are not made by singing “Oh how beautiful”, and sitting in the shade.’ It’s an exciting time for the discerning gardener, many of whom are just dying to dive back outside after a winter of inactivity.

As the weather really starts to hot up, don’t just drag out the Weber and braai sets, blow up the paddling pool and dust off the sun loungers. It’s going to take a little more energy than that. We may have been waiting for the warmer temperatures so we can get out and soak up the sun (although, here in Joburg, we can pretty much do that all winter long, albeit while dressed warmly on some days), but it’s now really worth taking some time to get your garden sorted for the summer months, making sure it looks gorgeous for the time of year when it really becomes an extension of our indoor living spaces – so get into creating another amazingly colourful room full of life for the whole family to enjoy.

The bleak winter months can leave the garden looking a little worse for wear, so the first step involves a thorough spring clean. Springtime is perfect for tidying your garden up in preparation for planting new flowers! Now that it’s hopefully getting a little warmer (although the late cold patches can still take us by surprise), step outside and have a walk around – you might notice that there are a lot of weeds to pull, a lot of trees and hedges to prune, and a lot of soil to mulch. Get dethatching and scarifying the lawn before you feed it, tackle the weeding, trim back the hedges – and maybe consider a fresh coat of paint on your fence or walls to make the area much brighter and more attractive. Getting all the busywork done and out of the way early means that by the time summer comes round, you’ll have a nice, fresh garden to get stuck into.

It may not be the time to plant out summer annuals yet, but start off with a plan, one that will inject colour and life into your garden. Colourful flowers and interesting plants will create a beautiful garden that will become your new favourite place to spend time in the summer. Just embrace the spirit of spring by promising yourself to try something a bit different this year, by making your garden feel like a new one with some great garden accessories. Just add those decorative touches and you’ll then be all set to enjoy this clever extension of your home.


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