Pond Maintenance & Tips for South Africans

Many homeowners dream of having a pond in their homes. It creates a beautiful environment where you can feel rested and relaxed as you enjoy the beautiful view. Although there is much to be enjoyed, maintaining your pond is a crucial element that can seem quite tedious.

Life is a Garden has the perfect pond tips that will make maintenance easier. You can find all your water gardening needs at your GCA Garden Centre.

 

Pond Pump

Choosing the right pump for your pond will set you up for a win. It will provide accurate oxygen and circulation which is essential for fish staying healthy and alive and an important aspect of your pond's ecosystem. If the water in your pond is not correctly circulating it will result in algae build-up and stagnation in your pond.

 Some of the things to consider when choosing the ideal pond pump are how high you are wanting to pump to push up and the volume of your pond.

 An easy tip for calculating the volume of your pond is: L x B x H = x 1000 which will equal the litres of water your pond holds.

 

Pond Leaf Skimmers

Adding in a product to minimize the leaf debris is your next step. For example, you could use a Pond Leaf Skimmer, this type of product is ideal for reducing your workload by removing leaves and other particles as they land in your water that may cause your pond to be waterlogged. It basically works as a net to accordingly collect all the particles before they sink to the bottom. It is easily accessible and should never be underestimated for the huge clarity it adds to your water for better viewing of your fish as they swim around.

 Although leaves are more likely to fall during the autumn season, we recommend that you use a pond skimmer with a floating basket that not only cleans your pond but enriches the water with vital oxygen and improves the water quality.

Spring Zing September Checklist

September Checklist

The season that needs no introduction – it can only be spring! This is an exciting time for gardeners filled with blossoms, blooms, and renewed beauty after the winter. This month, Life is a Garden loves the spekboom, and we’ve got some special varieties to share. The veggie garden is every home grower’s dream, so check out our edible zingers for September. Perennials and bulbs are also ready to crank up the heat in the garden, so let’s dig and plant right in! 

 

‘n Spekkie for thought 

Portulacaria afra (elephant's food, elephant bush, or spekboom) is an indigenous superstar in our South African climate. They tolerate high humidity, high rainfall or drought, heat, desert sun or well-lit indoor spaces. They are frost-tender but will bounce back quickly. Not prone to pests or disease either, the spekkie boasts the following fabulous benefits: 

  • Environment: They help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by acting like a handy carbon sponge, thereby improving the quality of air we breathe. 
  • Firebreaks: This plant is used in fire-prone areas as a perimeter hedge – good to know! 
  • Food: Spekboom leaves are edible and add interesting texture and flavour to salads. They are high in Vitamin C with a juicy, sour taste – definitely worth a try!  
  • Soil: A good soil binder that helps to prevent soil erosion – wind and slopes beware! 
  • Versatile: With so many varieties available, spekkies are excellent groundcovers, look spectacular in hanging baskets, add a vibe to mixed succulent containers, are super hardy trees, cute bonsais, and are just overall an awesomely easy addition to the garden.  
  • Easy to please: Prune them to shape or let them grow wild, feed them or forget about them, mulch them or munch on them. 

Did you know? Spekboom provides 80% of an elephant’s diet and can live up to 200 years. 

August in the Garden Checklist An extraordinary, rewarding August

With the great winds of change upon us, dare we say the smell of spring approaches! All your hard work this winter will soon pay off as August comes to reward the garden with extraordinary blooms in gorgeous hues for every mood. There’s one more month of cool-season stunners to enjoy with daisy bushes leading the pack. Make sure to tick off your maintenance checklist and begin prepping the lawn for September. Edibles are exciting in August too and there’s much to sow and munch on. Hold onto your hats and let’s glide right in!

 

Fulfilling flowers
Strikingly crazy for daisies

Colour blast your way through the wind and immerse outdoor beds in bold and brave daisy bushes. The vivid variety of daisy blooms will pop off brilliantly against the winter landscape and are simply stand out additions to the  garden. Daisies flourish in containers, beds, and borders that receive full sun. Bushes can be sown and/or planted in autumn for a vibrant August gust of colour. Here are seven striking inspirations:

  1. Cape daisy (Osteospermum): Indigenous and water-wise in deep shades of many magical colours to choose from, flowering from spring to autumn.
  2. Marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum): Blooms attract butterflies, available in pretty coloured hues for every mood that flower from spring to autumn. Single and double flowers available.
  3. English daisy (Bellis perennis): A fast grower and spreader with uniquely rounded red, white, and pink flowers, blooming in masses from winter to spring.
  • Golden daisy bush (Euryops chrysanthemoides): Compact and evergreen with bright golden-yellow blooms peaking from autumn to spring.
  • Livingstone daisy (Mesembryanthemum): Dark centres blend into radiant shades of pinks, purples, orange, yellow, and crimson. Flowering begins in August, peaking in September.
  • Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum): Cheerful and quick-spreading with robust all-white petals and a yellow centre.

July Checklist Gardening Checklist

July is all about colourful comforts in the garden and enjoying the hearty harvest winter has to offer. Keep your beds looking lush with a sensational selection of flowers available from your GCA Garden Centre. Don’t forget your July maintenance to help your garden stay in top shape and ready for the last cold stretch. Enjoy the journey with your landscape and take some time to appreciate the remarkable changes of Mother Nature.

 

Beat the winter blues
  • Surround yourself with colourful comforts available at nurseries now: primose, alyssum/lobularia, violas, pansies, verbena, Primula malacoides, Primula obconica, Primula acaulis, and ornamental kale.
  • Robust succulents: Aloe Hedgehog, aloe Ferrox, and aloe Speciosa.
  • Gems: Krantz aloe, Basuto kraal aloe, nandina, viburnum, camellia, holly and Elaeagnus.
  • Indoor babies: Move indoor plants to warmer parts of the house if needed. Also check that your plants are getting enough light.

A flying reminder: Help the birds out and ensure your birdbath and bird feeder is well-stocked. Food is scarce for the flyers during the winter months.

Everything edible
  • Garden centre treasures: Fig, olive, grape, cherry, peach, plum, and apple trees are available at GCA Garden Centres from July.
  • Harvest now: Horseradish, asparagus, celeriac, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and waterblommetjies.
  • Split & divide: Divide your asparagus and rhubarb now for a larger yield and remember to mulch well after transplanting.
  • Support: Stake broad beans and Brussels sprouts to give them more support and increase growth.
  • Feed: Remember to feed your winter veg seedlings with nutritious fertilisers and compost. Also, feed your spring bulbs and clivias now.
  • Mulch up: Much beds well to retain warmth and moisture.
  • Water down: Be careful of overwatering during winter every 3rd day should be sufficient.

Top tip: Use bird netting or frost cover sheets to deter birds while also allowing light and air into the veggie garden.

June in the Garden Checklist for the outdoor artist Gardening Checklist

Consider the June garden as an inviting blank canvas, welcoming you to paint with a rainbow of winter blooms. For your cool-season muse, Life is a Garden has gathered a few vibrant beauts to plant-paint with, as well as some artsy edibles to inspire your soups. Learn how to defend your plant babies against black frost and enjoy our handy maintenance tips. Embrace the cold and plant on!

 

Chilled thrills in the Western Cape
  • Have faith in your fynbos and head over to your GCA Garden Centre to checkout new protea hybrids and visit some old faves too. Leucospermums (pincushions) and leucadendrons are stunning choices you can go bos with in the garden. Remember, proteas grow in pots too!
  • Aunt Gale’s wind is always around the corner so make sure all ties and stakes supporting young trees and roses are super secure. You may also want to check your garden furniture and make sure that nothing will end up in your neighbour’s yard.
  • Avoiding flooding at home by clearing drains and gutters of old plant material.
  • Begin winter pruning on vines, peach, plum, and apricot trees. Visit your GCA Garden Centre for products to spray on dormant trees after pruning.
Plant flowers from Wonderland
  • Pansies and Violas: These annuals are perfect to plant as borders and edgings, in window boxes and containers. Position them where they receive full sun in winter but partial shade in spring and early summer, to give them a longer lifespan. They like fertile, composted soil with good drainage and regular watering.
  • Snapdragons: These short-lived, yet super-cute perennials are ideal in mixed border gardens, flower boxes, and as potted patio décor. Bright snapdragon flowers will bloom profusely all winter long in full sun to partial shade. Begin germinating seeds indoors and when they’re ready, pop them into nutrient-rich soil that drains well.

March in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

March Checklist
March Gardening Checklist

As the last month of summer comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing the garden for autumn and winter growing. March presents ideal conditions for sowing seeds as the day temperatures are still warm enough, while night temperatures begin dropping gradually. This is also a great time for cool-season seed germination varieties, and let’s not forget that much-loved gardening maintenance.

 

Flowers and foliage

The autumn climate is well-suited for planting as new roots get a chance to establish themselves before spring. Try sowing these lovelies now for a brilliant flush of colour and fragrance:

  • African daisy (Dimorphoteca) to beautify beds, borders, and containers.
  • Livingstone daisy, known also as Bokbaai vygie (Mesembryanthemum) are colourful customers.
  • Virginian stocks (Malcolmia maritima) as an enthusiastic and cheerful bloom.
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
  • Blue Felicia bush (Felicia amelloides) for fast-growing, striking sky-blue flowers.
African daisy (Dimorphoteca)
Livingstone daisy
Virginian stocks
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
Blue Felicia bush
Sweet peas

Before sowing sweet peas, prepare their new home by digging deep trenches and working in some nutritious compost from your local GCA Garden Centre. Bonemeal (if you don’t have dogs) and super-phosphate are excellent choices to assist in creating your sweet pea sanctuary. Remember to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water before sowing directly into the ground.

Roses

Roses are a simply spectacular sight in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their leaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilise with rose food – your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best option. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.