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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Spring is a miraculous experience

My Clivias were already flowering in late-winter and putting up a spectacular show

The whole world comes alive after the winter in which it seemed that everything was dead. The world comes filled with colour and the scent of delicious greenery. The world that seemed so dull and cold has come alive once again. Little did we know that beneath the cold hard ground the plants and trees were preparing for rebirth. Spring gives us hope for rejuvenation in our own lives as well. Spring is a time to renew the excitement and zest for life that lives inside.

The Geraniums responded to the warmer weather by all flowering at the same time

It Must Be Spring
Hush, Can you hear it?

The rustling in the grass,

Bringing you the welcome news

Winter's day is past.

Soft, Can you feel it?

The warm caressing breeze,

Telling you the sticky buds

Are bursting on the trees.

Look, Can you see them?
he primrose in the lane,

Now you must believe it
Spring is here again!

Normally, by early September, we've had our early spring rains, but now, by early October, nothing yet, so Chrissie has to resort to watering the garden from the pond, which delivers strong water through the .75Kw pump. The normal garden hose relies on water tank pressure and is very weak.

My Aloes (A. ferox) flowered throughout winter until late spring, supplying much-needed sustenance to the nectar-feeding birds. Here Chrissie is neatening up the crusher stone edging which the chickens have spread far and wide!

5am on a spring morning is the best time to water the garden before the temperatures begin to rise. This gives the plants a good supply of water to face the heat of the day. Early morning also tends to be a time of lower winds and thus reduced evaporation. If watering cannot be done in the early morning, very late afternoon is also satisfactory. It is important to water early enough so that the leaves have time to dry before nightfall to avoid development of fungal diseases. If possible, choose watering methods that will not wet the leaves (such as soaker hoses) and thus allow for late evening watering.

In spring and summer I also let the girls out much earlier than usual and here they're enjoying some early-morning insect hunting.

My Arum lilies and the Phormiums did well over the winter. Phormiums are not tender greenhouse plants and they are especially good plants for cold and windswept gardens. They can easily tolerate minus 5°C and even minus 10°C, which has never really happened here. Phormiums require full sun in a moist but well drained soil. They will however grow well in poorer soils providing they are given regular granular feeds of a nitrogen based fertiliser. Phormiums are greedy plants which grow quickly if they are well fed. It is because Phormiums provide such a quick and colourful foliage display that so many councils use them on city roundabouts and roadside plantings.

Phormiums are pretty much pest free and most animals seem to ignore them. They are easy plants to grow and make lovely fillers in the garden. The range of coloured leaves between different varieties is enormous. Anyone who has experienced a failure after last winter should try again but remember to mulch heavily before the onset of a hard frost.

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