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Tips to make your garden a summer oasis

Tips to make your garden a summer oasis

The biggest part of most gardens is the lawn,you know the story – when you’ve had the time to mow it’s been wet, and when it has been dry you’ve been busy.

The good news is if you do mow it after work in the cooler part of the day it won’t go through as much stress. Just because it is long doesn’t mean you have to slash it.

A longer lawn that’s mowed to be uniform looks fantastic, it’s more inviting and it’s easier than pushing the mower on a lower setting.

The longer the leaf on the grass the more traffic it can handle and that means it can stand up to backyard cricket.

Now is not the time to be buying big bags of smelly fertiliser for the garden, unless you want to stay inside with the windows closed. If the garden needs a feed, think about a liquid fertiliser or a synthetic, slow-release fertiliser that doesn’t smell.

I have noticed my paths are dirty, even slippery, from all the rain, so a pressure wash will ensure safety and will give them brighter look.

Tips to make your garden a summer oasis

While you’re cleaning, wash your outdoor furniture. Spiderwebs are everywhere. If your furniture is wooden, sanding the timber lightly and giving it an oil is a quick and easy job.

Some new mulch will brighten the garden beds. I like to use composted bark fines. If you don’t want to spend the money, rake and move your existing mulch around. It will come up like new because mulch exposed to the sun fades.

Now is also a good time to remove all the Ds in the garden – dead, diseased and damaged.

I just removed all the dead flowers from my gardenias and they are transformed – from shrubs where dead flowers were all you could see to beautiful foliage and some new flowers blooming.

Diseased plants that have made the garden look messy should be removed or cut back. Plants don’t repair – they grow out of a problem if you manage it. So I like to remove the diseased foliage so the plant looks neat and tidy, and with dead plants remove and replace with fresh mulch.

It’s not too late to plant some colour in the garden. Nurseries and hardware stores have potted colour plants for a few dollars. By positioning them well around your entrance and around your outdoor entertaining area you can make a big impact for not a lot of money.

Most importantly, enjoy your garden over summer. I showed someone a photo of my lawn and they said, “make sure you enjoy it as much as you enjoy looking at it”, and I will.

Story by Jason Hodges; Story source: www.domain.com.au

Reap What You Sow

Reap What You Sow

It doesn’t have to cost the earth – and nor should it – but considerate planning and planting of a herb garden here, and a lemon, lime or mulberry tree there can reap numerous rewards when it comes to adding value to your lifestyle and property.

Whether you plan to sell or stay in your home indefinitely, a few clever additions to your garden now can invoke a real emotional response from prospective buyers: think a ‘cooks-garden’, a lemon tree dripping with fruit (which are marketable commodities), or fond childhood memories of foraging. Or simply increase your enjoyment of your home now. And that’s got to be a good thing.

With the rise in popularity of cooking shows (you know the ones!), home cooking is in and what better addition to your cooking is there but fresh herbs? Smell that winter casserole simmering away, enhanced with your home-picked herbs.

Now, don’t leap into that head-space about herb and vegetable gardening being complicated, but consider this: plant parsley randomly around garden. Shove in some rosemary. It grows to a metre or so in height, so think mid-garden bed. And while you’re at it, toss in some thyme around the edges too.

Reap What You Sow

These three plants – parsley, rosemary and thyme – will serve any home cook well. They are easy to look after and in fact, some would say thrive on neglect, which really means, water if they wilt, and that virtually never happens. They also happen to look great in the garden and rosemary and thyme produce flowers too.

You don’t need a dedicated herb garden and in fact, planting herbs in with your established garden can be both beautiful and beneficial to surrounding plants and humans alike.

Now to the beloved citrus tree. These are easy to grow if you can remember to water them a few times a week and fertilise at the change of each season. Or thereabouts. We could all do that, right?

Outlay around $30 and you’ve got yourself a tree ready to plant. In 2-3 years you’ll be harvesting your first, albeit small crop. But give that tree five years and you’ll be surprised at just how much fruit it will produce. Imagine being able to share that bounty with friends and neighbours.

Has anyone noticed the price of limes come festive season (and most things for that matter), which jump from under $10 a kilo to around $30 a kilo? Plant your own lime tree. Mojito party anyone?

Or what about a trip around the mulberry bush? Many of us have vivid, fond memories from our childhood of gorging on this beautiful fruit, which doesn’t make it to commercial shelves because of its high-perishability factor, but could you think of anything better than your own backyard supply? Perhaps mulberry pie could be a tad better.

So, with all that said, consider getting just a little motivated and reap the benefits of what you sow. Your family, friends and neighbours will thank you in ways innumerous. And come sale time, you’ll thank yourself too.