Keep your gardenbrightin winter

2016-06-29 06:00
Add a bird feeder in a place where the birds feel safe - near a bushy tree or shrub is ideal.                                                                         PHOTO: supplied

Add a bird feeder in a place where the birds feel safe - near a bushy tree or shrub is ideal. PHOTO: supplied

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HERE are tips to achieve a bright garden in winter.

Colour for cold

Flowering or ornamental kales prove that one can have bright winter colour in the coldest of gardens. Plant rows of kale in the veggie garden or dot them around the flower beds. They will last for quite a while if watered sparingly. Keep on removing any bottom leaves that start to rot. When the whole plant starts smelling like rotting cabbage it is probably time to turf it.

Instant colour

The quickest way to add colour to a garden is to plant flowering annual seedlings. Whether your garden falls into a frost belt or not, these are tough, cold-tolerant bedding plants that you can plant safely, except of course when black frost hits, which is lethal to just about everything. For sun choose calendula, Iceland poppies, Sweet peas, Forget-me-nots, snapdragons, dianthus, phlox or violas and pansies. For semi-shaded areas choose Bellis perennis, fairy primulas, primroses and cineraria.

Long-term winter colour

Most aloes are at their best in winter and the hybrids that have come onto the market in the past few years are in a range of the brightest colours you will find. They are also good for attracting birds to the garden.

Growing tips

• Choose a spot in full sun for better flowers, although a slightly shaded area is also okay as long as they are not over-watered.

• Choose the variety that is best for your climate and particularly frost conditions.

• Aloes are adaptable to most soil types except heavy clay as good drainage is a must.

• Water moderately and feed every three to four months with a balanced organic fertiliser

Attract the birds

As the cold of winter bites, the natural food resources for birds diminish. You can create a very lively garden by attracting our feathered friends to your garden.

• Add a bird feeder in a place there the birds feel safe. Near a bushy tree or shrub is ideal.

• Give them fresh water.

• Try to get a variety of birds in your garden by putting out different foods, like seed for the seed-eaters, fresh fruit on spikes for the fruit eaters, bird cakes and suet for the insect eaters. Nectar feeders would love a few aloes planted for their food source.

Take it indoors

The easiest way to stay in touch with nature and to add a little homeliness and style to any room is the flowering house plant. Thanks to modern growing techniques, we can pick and choose between a wide array of flowering favourites such as African violets, chrysanthemums, cyclamens and azaleas, just to name a few.

The advantage of the colder months is that the flowers of many house plants last much longer than they normally would in summer. You are thus making a good investment in eye-candy if you buy them now.

- Supplied.

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