Celebrate the new year by planting a mass of colour. Follow these pointers to keep your garden dazzling all through summer.

Use begonias to brighten up shady spots as they thrive on filtered light under trees and make great pot plants on covered verandas. They come in shades of pink, red and white and even the leaves are decorative in green or bronze.

Keep roses in tip-top shape by pruning as you pick. When deadheading, cut back to a healthy new shoot branching off the same stem. Water early in the morning so that leaves have a chance to dry before nightfall and are not prone to fungal diseases. Spray against black spot and watch out for red spider. Pick off rose and fruit beetles before they chew holes in your blooms.

Plant mass seedlings such as alyssum, marigold, petunia and zinnias in a sunny spot for maximum effect, creating swirls of contrast. Plant them against a backdrop of purple salvia and tall sunflowers for a cheerful border.

Turn over a new leaf by making the most of pretty foliage plants such as coleus, which thrives in the filtered light of those difficult shady spots, and the versatile, indigenous Mona Lavender groundcover with its purple, pink or white flowers with dark green leaves.

Give the garden a general boost with a slow-release organic fertiliser such as Talborne Organics Vita Fruit & Flower 3:1:5 and water in immediately.

Cut off the dead leaves of summer-flowering bulbs such as watsonias and chasmanthes and add them to the compost heap.

Keep mowing kikuyu lawns twice a week with the mower set high to maintain a springy carpet of greenery. Water two or three times a week if the weather is dry and feed monthly with Talborne Organics Vita Green 5:1:5. Smooth out molehills and use the extra soil to fill in any hollows.

Summer must-dos:

  • Maintain a thick layer of mulch
  • Water deeply if there’s no rain. Avoid watering between 6pm and 6am.
  • Weed regularly
  • Remove dead flower heads to stimulate new blooms
  • Fertilise monthly during the growing season

Top Tip: Banana skins are full of valuable nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and nitrogen, so cut them up and sprinkle them underneath your plants. They’ll quickly turn black and degrade, providing your plants with a low-cost boost.

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