Christian Lamprecht, Creative Director of Badec Bros shares tips and insights to help you make the most of your Highveld garden this winter.
Winter in the Highveld is the true test for any gardener or homeowner. Apart from the lack of rain, your garden will undergo major seasonal changes and face icy cold conditions. Seasoned gardeners however know that the coming cold months are vital for the overall health of your garden. Not only does it give you a chance to prune back and clean up, but the perfect opportunity for minor or major landscaping projects and especially an invitation to be creative by adding colour with winter flowers and designer planters, gabions, trellises or other beautiful finishes.
The colder months are an ideal time to evaluate the garden’s design. If your budget allows you, you can use this time to tackle a major landscaping project with all the bells and whistles. With a low chance of rain, winter in the Highveld is a great time to fix water features and garden-related construction. If you do not have the appetite for hard work and expensive projects, simply removing or replanting perennial plants to another location will go a long way.
However, as with any project, it is better to have a plan in place, before breaking ground and making drastic changes. This will also help you save costs on unnecessary expenses at your local outdoor and garden store.
In terms of planting new plants, this time of the year is ideal. It will give the plants a good chance to settle in and establish a healthy root system. The general rule of thumb is to opt for plants that will also thrive during the winter months. Aloes and succulents will reward your garden with warm, beautiful flowers at the start of winter and hardy shrubs with their larger root systems will do really well during winter.
Much, mulch, mulch!
Adding lots of mulch is an important part of winter gardening. Mulch will help to insulate plants and protect them from the severe temperature changes during the winter months. Hardy plants should be able to handle the cold without mulch, but it is a necessity for the more fragile and delicate plants.
Protect against frost.
Young trees and less hardy shrubs should be covered with frost guard material or hessian to protect them against frost and severe cold.
Build a compost heap
Winter is the perfect time to start a compost heap, due to the endless amount of leaves and other organic material. An active compost heap will set you up for success as soon as spring start to show its colours.
Prune and shape
When the leaves have fallen off the trees and shrubs, it is the perfect time to prune them and remove any dead or diseased branches. This will make them flourish during spring time. Evergreen should rather be pruned towards the end of winter, to avoid prune stress and cold damage.
Create beautiful hardscape features
Beautify a dull winter garden by adding well planned hardscape features such as a cobblestone footpath, a paved seating area, a gabion wall as a focus point or beautiful stone water feature. These features can be functional or just beautiful focal points for character and design.