The Lockdown Garden and Beyond
If you’ve made the change to working from home recently you may find that you have a bit more time on your hands to spend around the house rather than commuting to and from work. We spoke to Kerwyn Fourie, Chairperson of the Guild of Landscape Designers and Director and Co-Owner of Purple Turtle Concepts, about current landscape trends and the best way to care for your winter garden.
There’s a misconception that gardening or landscaping during winter is unthinkable. However, nothing could be further from the truth and not doing some winter gardening means you are missing an opportunity to make the most of your garden year-round.
Autumn and winter are the best times for pruning, splitting, transplanting and planting new frost-hardy plants in preparation for the upcoming growing season. In general, we tend to not make enough use of our garden in the colder months, but I think it’s crucial we begin to change that idea, especially during lockdown.
Create Outdoor Rooms
The garden can be a temporary escape to clear your mind. If possible, try to move your office or workspace outdoors occasionally to make working at home more bearable. We suggest even attempting to divide your garden into different “rooms” for various activities or members of the household. Areas like specific play areas for kids, reading nooks, a sunny spot for breakfast or a warm drink, herb and vegetable garden, entertainment areas and the “outdoor office” as mentioned above. Linking these “rooms” will also create an interesting meander through the garden, instead of seeing everything in one go from your living room window.
Start a Vegetable Garden
We’re seeing increased interest in edibles, which has created a boom in herb and vegetable sales for gardens. Vegetable and herb gardens should be a garden feature. Far too often they are designed in a utilitarian way or exiled to the far outskirts of the yard, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It pays to be a bit more creative and brave when designing these spaces. Also, nothing is more rewarding than saying “I got this straight from my own garden” when prepping meals for friends and family while cutting down on trips to the grocery store.
Even in winter, it is possible to harvest a bounty from your garden. You can sow hardy things like cabbage, cauliflower, lettuces, spring onion, broccoli, peas, perpetual spinach and kale. In terms of herbs, you can’t go wrong with rosemary, thyme, parsley and mint.
We are, however, quite prone to frost, especially on the Highveld, but dealing with it is not as difficult as one might think. It just takes some planning.
Consider planting more frost-hardy plants in your garden and staying away from more tender varieties. But if you absolutely must have those more fragile plants, then consider moving plants in pots to more protected areas and use frost covers to protect larger, immovable or extremely sensitive plants.
Unfortunately, if you do have a lot of plants that need to be covered your garden will look like a mass of spider webs, which isn’t the prettiest thing to look at. Even with effective protection, native plants may get a bit damaged from frost, but we like to look at it as nature’s way of pruning and toughening them up.
Find more gardening info on our website here.