Why it’s OK if your garden doesn’t stick to the plan this spring – Stuff.co.nz

why-it’s-ok-if-your-garden-doesn’t-stick-to-the-plan-this-spring-–-stuffco.nz

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ALDEN WILLIAMS/StuffJade Temepara says preparing for spring is a time to think about how to best use our resources in our gardens.OPINION: As the weather gets warmer and the long winter days come to an end, it’s a great time to start planning for your upcoming garden. There are certain tasks that will save us time – and avoid us having to learn costly lessons – over the season. Some tasks are worth investing a bit of thought into to help reuse our resources. But plan, prepare – and then go with the flow!These flowering plants provide a much-needed food source for bees heading into winter hibernation and provide food to build up hive populations in early spring. READ MORE: Five fabulous vegetables to plant as the weather gets colder Five easy-to-grow plants that will help make your meals come alive Why you should start saving your seeds How you can live a sustainable lifestyle A good chop Cleaning up the yard starts with maintenance and pruning jobs. Start with a quick look at what has fallen, needs a trim, or is looking a bit sad from winter's cold snaps. Pruning gives way to an explosion of new life. Taking down old branches will allow you open up spaces and create shapes, to which you can add texture and depth as the garden unfolds before your eyes over spring and summer. Whatever needs attention, make sure not to overdo it – this is especially true if you have large trees that need a good chop, but you aren’t sure how much to take off. It's good to get some advice or information before you cut.123RF/StuffDon't overdo the pruning – and keep trimmings for compost, or to save your budget around the garden. Can you identify waste that can be used elsewhere? Leaves, branches and twigs can easily be composted. They can also be used to line new garden beds – and generally come in handy for mulch or as a cost-cutting resource. If you haven’t got a compost heap going already you can use this greenery as a base for your new compost. A ratio of green and brown layers, mixed with soil, will feed your garden over the next couple of years. Feed your soil, to boost the nutrients available to your garden. Adding fertilisers to enhance your soil quality, and feeding the right food at the right time, will stop pests, grow the best plants and nurture the structure of the soil. Soil is life – feed it the best most untampered and organic matter, and it will take care of you.ALDEN WILLIAMS/StuffThink about what brought you joy in your garden last year when planning for the new season, says Jade Temepara - but don’t be afraid to change your mind. Do something new Creating new spaces is fun and rewarding. Are there areas you can add into your planting that will make interactive, interesting contrasts? By planning your space, you will find new ideas that add height, colour and depth. For some easy inspiration, think about what you enjoyed during the last season. Was it colours, shapes, smells, height? Or edible food and fruits? Quick blasts of colour, like annual and perennial flowers, add pops of interest. Fruit trees in pots, at differing heights, add shape and texture. Rock gardens or hard landscaping are also a terrific way of using up any post clean-up left-over building materials. Not only does this help reduce the new materials you need, and makes better use of resources, but it also helps to encourage beneficial insects. ISTOCKPHOTO/AVOLKE/StuffIt's time to give those neglected tools the attention they deserve. Don't neglect your tools Cleaning up and replacing our tools is another job that we often dismiss – until we go to use them. Now is the time to start going through all of your tools, trimmers, mowers and hoses, and give them a good inspection. This way you will know what is needed to be replaced, or sharpened and mended, or if you need any other tools. If you can learn to refurbish your tools, this can be a great way to secure their longevity over time, which will save you money. Power tools are expensive investments, so make sure you maintain them at least once a year for optimal usage for the seasons to come. Our gardens are living works, filled with our time, dedication and personality. They are as unique as our taste. To plan each year – and then change our minds, or budgets – is really what it is all about. Experimenting, and allowing the growth to change with the seasons, is the beauty of surprise. Jade Temepara is an Ellerslie Flower Show medal winner and former New Zealand Gardener of the Year.
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