The super-fun summer garden
It’s holiday season, and a jolly good reason to celebrate! Live life to the fullest surrounded by the ones you love and a gorgeous garden to host them all in. Life is a Garden’s got a fully loaded, super fun summer entertaining and planting guide to get you in the spirit of things this December.
Wet vines from the garden can be transformed into gorgeous decorative wreaths, which you can secure onto your front door. Try ivy varieties, grapevine, and big num num (Carissa macrocarpa) with ornamental grass strands that’ll maintain colour for longer too. Add to the friendly vibes by adding a textured welcome mat available from your GCA Garden Centre.
Try this: Once you’ve gotten a solid run from your wreath, tie it onto a tree branch and hang some birdseed feeders from it.
Solar lights are the best-kept fun secrets this summer. Light up your pathways with lanterns, accentuate your trees with spiralled fairy lights, and make the patio pop with spotlights highlighting your gorgeous container beauts. Solar jars are also a sure win, to which you can add glass stones for extra sparkle. Solar jars look super magical when added to fairy gardens and scattered around beds.
Always lit tip: Wrap battery-operated fairy lights around your front door DIY wreath for added evening ambience as guests arrive.
Keep the kids entertained and educated with a ‘Find that bug’ quest. You can easily create a printable worksheet for your kids and their friends listing the goggas to be discovered in your garden. Alternatively, there are several local apps to be downloaded, which kids can use to identify their discoveries. Why not get them all to give a fun little presentation about the bugs afterwards!
Happy house plants
Consider playing with poinsettia (Christmas star) and amaryllis (Christmas flower) as part of your festive décor prep. Fill your house with cut hydrangea flowers (Christmas rose) if you have lots in the garden. Pick mature flowers (all the little florets must be open) and then scrape about 5cm of bark off the bottom of the stem. Leave them overnight up to their necks in cold water for max bloom power before you arrange them in vases.
Indoor garden tip: Make sure your windowsill/countertop crops are stocked with lekker herbs for braai and cocktail garnish. Pots and seedling trays are available from your GCA Garden Centre.
Good time edibles
Plant: Melons, sweet potatoes, cucumber, eggplants, peppers and the last tomatoes for the season.
Harvest: You can now finally feast on the watermelons and sweet melons sowed in August. A large watermelon is ripe if it feels a little bumpy when you stroke it. When sweet melons are ripe, a small crack appears at the point where the fruit attaches to the vine.
Pests NOT invited to the party
Dash down to your GCA Garden Centre for effective pest control solutions and don’t allow any uninvited guests to your super-fun summer.
Look out for:
- Scale on citrus trees
- Orange Dog caterpillar on citrus trees
- Tip-wilters on the soft tips of roses, dahlias and abelias
- Amaryllis caterpillar on crinums and other bulbous plants
- Mildew on roses, dahlias and cleomes
- Whitefly on beans and fuchsias
- Rust on hollyhocks
- Pear slug on peaches, cherries prunus and ornamentals
- Outbreak of red spider mite during hot, dry weather
Quirky container combos
Plant these instant annuals for pots dripping with life, colour, and nutrition. Seedlings and seedling trays are available from your GCA Garden Centre now.
- Tomato, parsley and petunia
- Basil, eggplant and petunia
- Euphorbia (soft white) with red petunias
Fun-filled, sunny gift ideas for gardeners
- A birdbath, bird feeder and a packet of wild birdseed.
- A potting bench for dad.
- A garden bench for ouma.
- Trays of flowering seedlings and a bag of compost.
- A concrete rabbit or frog and other garden ornaments.
- Instead of the conventional festive stocking, use gumboots, garden clogs, or a watering can.
- Wrap gardening gloves, seed packets and a trowel in a flowery tea towel.
- For the diligent weeder, a good choice would be a kneeling pad and good quality hand tools.
- A garden diary or calendar so that the gardener can plan and record seasonal plantings and blooming habits of plants.
- Top edibles to use as gifts are chillies. There is a wide variety available from hot to very hot. One thing to remember is that some of them can reach up to 2m tall and so are not ornamental. Also think about ‘berry delicious’ in the form of strawberries and blueberries.
Smash out your holiday in the sunshine and have THE funnest summer garden parties! Life is a Garden, and it’s always better when shared with family and friends.