Quarantine Gardening | A feel-good guide to ensure you survive lockdown.

Yes, even with 2020 vision, no-one could have predicted that most of us would be in a forced time-out in order to save thousands of lives from a threat that resembles the flu. Isn’t it funny how mother nature can make us sit in the corner and think about what we’ve done?

Here in South Africa, our country has been placed under lockdown for 21 days and what better time to spend it outdoors(ish). If you have a home with a garden, now is the time to get your hands dirty. It also happens to be the start of Autumn in the southern hemisphere, an ideal time to start preparing your garden for spring.

Start your compost heap

Keep all your grass clippings, food scraps and egg cartons. Oh, and empty loo rolls! You should have a few of those. Not only will you be able to save a few bucks by making your own nutrient-rich compost, but you can also reduce the waste you throw out. Double whammy.

Thin out and split large spring-flowering clumps and shrubs that you can easily thin out 

Avoid doing it to ornamental grasses, as they are best split and pruned at the end of winter. Plant your spring bulbs, they need to overwinter in the soil to give you the best results.

Plant trees

Yes, if you live in a winter rainfall climate zone, plant your trees now; it will give them enough time to establish over the winter months and survive the hot summer months that follow.

Veggie garden time

Plant some leafy greens and get seeds for quick-growing vegetables like radish (from seed to table in less than 30 days). This will not only keep you busy, but it can occupy the children as well. Get them to keep a plant growth chart and monitor how quickly their veggies grow. Most supermarkets and grocery stores carry seed packs and some of those dry pack beans and seeds you bought can be grown too.

Indoor plants need love too

Better yet, make more of your own indoor plants by propagating them. Most of your plants will easily propagate in water, as long as you change the water out every few days. Pothos and philodendron easily root in water. Succulents need to be placed on top of the soil, not in it. They will start shooting out little roots and shoots in the presence of moist soil. It’s also a very interesting process to watch unfold during the days ahead. Get the kids involved!

Now is also the time for you to catch up on your garden and design education

Read those gardening books you bought 4 years ago that have only been browsed for their pictures, and actually try and apply some of the methods they mention.Craft small plant containers out of recycled plastic bottles or paper mache, paint them and let the creative juices flow.

If all else fails and you feel overwhelmed or desperately need your space designed by a professional, why not get in contact with our office? We are currently running a design-only promotion for this difficult time, as we know you want to keep busy.

We offer three levels of design that can suit any pocket. You will receive a concept plan, mood boards and a 3D rendering (if required). We are standing by to answer your calls on 021 300 3398 or emails designstudio@contoursgroup.co.za.

Mark Mac Hattie is a Landscape Designer and blogger for Contours Design Studio.

N.D. Landscape Design, B.Tech Landscape Design

Master’s of Landscape Architecture

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