Plant annuals and bulbs now for a glorious spring garden.
Colour for spring
If you want your spring garden to be colourful, this is the time to plant annuals. They have many uses in the landscape: massed for visual impact; to attract attention to a particular area; as edgings to borders; among spring-flowering perennials and bulbs; in containers, window boxes and hanging baskets; and in rockery pockets.
• Pansies and violas are the most popular bedding annuals. Pansies need sun, but violas will flower in semi-shade; both need well-drained, composted soil. In the
winter rainfall region, to avoid damping off, grow early-flowering pansies in raised beds or containers.
• Poppies are at home in cottage gardens, in separate beds, or in borders. Iceland poppies have large cup-shaped flowers held on wiry stems or shorter sturdy stems. They need a sunny aspect and protection from wind.
• Namaqualand daisy seed is available in mixed shades or in single colours. Sow directly in ordinary garden soil in a sunny position and keep soil moist until they germinate. Other indigenous daisies are Venidium with deeply lobed downy foliage and large daisy-like orange flowers with a dark central zone, and yellow and orange Ursinia with red or black centres.
• Fairy primula (Primula malacoides) has dainty tiered white, lavender and carmine flowers held on delicate stems. Grow in moist soil and light shade.
Clockwise: Grape hyacinth, ixia and freesia
Plant spring bulbs by the end of the month. As well as daffodils, narcissi, anemone, ranunculi, and grape hyacinth, indigenous ixia, sparaxis, tritonia, freesia and babiana will guarantee a colourful spring show. Whether planted in the garden or in pots, most bulbs need a sunny position and well-drained, composted soil. An exception is the forest lily (Veltheimia) which prefers a shady spot.
TIP Spread a layer of light-coloured sand over the area where bulbs are planted to prevent them being inadvertently dug up or pierced with a fork.