Spring has sprung!

I guess we only know this as overnight, August became September! While temperatures should start rising and the West Coast is in bloom, now is the time to fill your home and garden with colourful plants.

The best part about Spring is the wide array of colour and the patches that pop up along the roadsides. Nature’s paintbrush is magical, and you too can create your own garden in the same way!

Decorate your patio with pots of Daffodils, plant shady containers with spring-flowering Azaleas or plan ahead with a climbing Wisteria that will drape purple blooms over walls and pergolas.

Cherry, peach, pear and apple trees will be covered in blossoms and borders of azaleas are soon in full bloom. Plan a spring corner by planting a blossom tree underplanted with Azaleas. If you enjoy sunset shades, consider the glorious azalea mollis and Ghent azalea hybrids which produce clusters of white, yellow, pink and burnt orange flowers. Remember that variety is the spice of life!

 Create borders of colour

Spring gardens wouldn’t be complete without charming Pansies and their smaller relatives, Violas. Use them to edge shady paths, carpet beds and brighten containers, window boxes and hanging baskets.

Another winner in spring is the bush lily (Clivia miniata) which offers a swathe of orange and yellow. Like the Clivia, the dusky-pink forest Lily (Veltheimia bracteata) thrives in shady parts of the garden.

For brilliance of colour, look out for the “cat’s tail” bulbinellas whose globular yellow heads on tall stems make a dramatic statement among more conventional spring plantings. Gazanias, Arctotis and Osteospermum thrive in the warm spring weather.

If yours is a windy garden, low-growing plants are the answer. The spring-flowering ice plants or Vygies (lampranthus, drosanthemum), with their glistening pink and purple, orange and red flowers, are eye-catching when planted on sunny slopes, on hot pavement gardens or in rockeries.

Ornamental Kale, Lobelia, Nemesia, Pansy and Primula are valuable for brightening entrances and patio containers. If your patio is lightly shaded, pots of Clivia, Fuchsia, Primula and Cineraria could be just what you need.

Although our dams are now 62% full, the water restrictions have not yet been lifted. For this reason, it is best to check with the nursery from where you purchase, which of these are water wise and require the least hydration.

For this reason, let’s not forget the host of colourful succulent shrubs that are available for planting. We all know that succulents have been the best choice over the long seasons of drought.

Spectacular shrubs

Spring is when many shrubs show off their flowers. Deutzias bear panicles of white flowers tinged with pink, and arching branches of Weigela are covered in pink and red blooms. Viburnum plicatum with white flowers on layered branches, and the snowball bush, Viburnum opulus, are eye-catching, and Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow (Brunsfelsia spp) and white cups of mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) scent the garden and of course create a magnificent show.

Rothmannia globosa’s everyday name of September Bells, tells of its flowering month and of the shape of its creamy, fragrant flowers. September is also the flowering time of shade-loving forest bell (Mackaya bella), a shrub with dark green leaves and dainty, white-striped mauve bell flowers.

Colourful trees

One of the prettiest of spring flowering trees is Wild Wisteria (Bolusanthus speciosus), with a height of 5m, brownish-black bark and mauve Wisteria-like flower trusses. The Boerbean (Schotia brachypetala) is an attractive shade loving tree (7m) that sheds its leaves in late winter before the dainty, cup-shaped red flowers appear in spring to provide a feast for nectar-feeding birds.

Plan ahead and plant roses that will spill over arches, cascade over walls and add vibrant colour to borders. If combined with purple and yellow bearded Iris, mauve Scabious, pink Penstemon, Dianthus, white Candytuft or even Lavender, your garden will be blooming for many weeks to come.

Hopefully this will be of help when next shopping at your local nursery. Remember potting soil, fertilizer, mulch and plant food. Only use chemical free products in your garden if you have pets and remember to check out at the nursery what plants may be lethal to your precious pets. A beautiful colourful garden can’t replace ones loving pets.

Gardening is an activity that many find both therapeutic and rewarding. A sea of colour in your garden is always uplifting and feeds one’s soul.

Referenced research: The Daily Mail

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