As any real estate agent or lifestyle programme will tell us, garden makeovers can add not only charm but value to a property. I was recently contracted to landscape a previously inaccessible area down the side of a client's house. I constructed a steel and hardwood timber path which is not only functional and long-lasting, but also complements the character of the house. Mulching on either side of the path, around existing plants, completed the look. If you have an area around your house that requires attention, I'd be happy to discuss your needs.
I’ve been busy doing hedging for a number of clients recently. This prompted me to think about what makes for a good hedge? Regular trimming without doubt encourages thick foliage and dense growth. Leaf size is an extremely important consideration when choosing a hedge. The lower the hedge, the smaller the leaf you will want to keep the hedge looking “tight”. Popular hedges (by their common names) include: photinia, viburnum, box, murraya and lilly pilly. These varieties are hardy and flourish with regular pruning.
I’ve just spent a good part of my day removing the spent flower heads of in excess of 400 Agapanthus at a client’s property just outside Berry! (Removing the flower heads prevents undesirable seed propagation.) These evergreen plants with narrow, straplike leaves provide a colourful display of blue to purple or white flowers every summer. Agapanthus are particularly impressive when used to line garden borders or massed on sloping hillsides. They are generally hardy, low maintenance plants which thrive in full sun or part shade. They can be readily propagated by dividing expanding clumps.
Are you looking to create a romantic garden in a small space? Here’s an example of one that has been achieved in just two years. Pierre de Ronsard rose has been planted to climb along the fenceline and pergola. Box hedges and topiary provide structure and interest in the foreground and Murraya hedges in the background. The garden is well-mulched and seaside daisy is growing as a soft white groundcover. Burgundy plum trees offset the green hedges beautifully and ornamental features have been cleverly incorporated to complete this romantic picture. The gardener regularly uses seaweed solution to nurture her plants and is preparing to prune back the roses for another flush in the New Year.
The perfume of wisteria heralds the arrival of spring. As a deciduous climber, wisteria provides interest in the garden all year round, with a mass of lilac to white flowers in spring, beautiful green foliage in summer to autumn and a bare vine in winter. Wisteria requires full sun to flower and responds well to shaping. Throughout summer, when new growth leaders appear, prune them back 20-30cm from the main leader. This will promote flowering the following spring and ensure that your climber is not a tangled mess by summer's end.
In late winter/early spring, magnolias provide a spectacular and colourful floral display. Magnolia x soulangeana (Saucer magnolia) is a deciduous tree which grows to a height of about 5m. Its tulip-like pale pink and white flowers appear in August- September before the leaves. This magnolia works well as a feature plant in lawns or in garden beds. It enjoys full sun to partial shade and will benefit from a good supply of water in summer. A smaller but nevertheless spectacular magnolia is Magnolia stellata (Star magnolia) which grows 2-4m high. It has small white, fragrant, star-shaped flowers. It provides a real impact when several are grouped and planted in garden beds. Both these magnolia species are pest and disease-free.
Winter is the ideal time to feed roses. Add horse, sheep or cow manure, blood and bone or a commercial rose food after pruning your roses in June or July. Additional manure and compost can be added throughout the growing season. Feeding roses, coupled with regular pruning, are the best means to ward of pests and diseases. Roses require little watering and do not tolerate humidity, so they thrive in a hot, dry summer.
If you have an area in your garden where plants and/or lawn fails to thrive, perhaps landscaping with pavers could be an option. The borders around the landscaped area will serve also as edging for garden beds. With the right plants and colour, you can create a new and visually appealing room in your garden, perhaps an ideal entertaining area. If you have an area in your garden you wish to enhance, please contact me to discuss your landscaping and planting requirements.
In small spaces, such as courtyards, where natural soil is not available, plants in pots can provide dramatic effect. Citrus plants grow particularly well in large pots, and with adequate water, food and pruning, will display dense, dark green foliage and provide beautiful (and useful) fruit in the winter months. Be sure to keep up the water to your potted citrus plants, at least once a week in the warmer months. Citrus require regular feeding, ideally well-rotted manures or a citrus fertiliser. It’s important to tip prune citrus plants regularly to promote fruiting and to help prevent them becoming woody. Ideally, citrus plants should be re-potted every five years.
Winter is a great time to be out in the garden! One of the most important tasks is to be weeding garden beds then mulching in preparation for spring. If you're time poor or would like some assistance with this task, please contact me to discuss your needs.
Vaughn loves to transform outdoor spaces. He has studied aspects of horticulture and with plenty of experience tending South Coast gardens, he can maintain and help your garden reach its full potential.