Reviving An Old Garden

jan15-reviving-old-gardens-main

The arrival of a new year is the perfect time to assess an established garden and plan any changes that might be necessary or desirable.

Start by taking a walk through the garden with a notebook in hand to jot down ideas. Take lots of photos – these will help you plan for the future and also record your progress.

First look at the trees. If these are well established they’re probably creating great blocks of shade. Check to see if they can be strategically thinned so that more light comes into the inner parts of the tree, as well as onto the lawn and garden beds. You may need the services of a professional arborist to carry out the work. Check with the local authorities, too, to see if you need permission to trim your trees.

Have any of your plants outgrown their welcome? Clumping plants like agapanthus spread slowly but inexorably as the years go by. They’re often used to line paths and driveways but, over time, they can encroach on said paths and driveways and make them narrower. Sharpen the spade and use it to scrape them back to their original borders (don’t forget to wear foot-protecting boots).

As they mature, many climbing plants can turn into real thugs and smother surrounding trees, shrubs and buildings. Wisteria is one of the worst. Old climbers may need to be either cut back severely or completely taken out. Remember, though, that even after pruning they’ll still have the same well established root system so will re-grow rapidly. Keep your secateurs at the ready.
Check the garden’s shrub layer and decide which shrubs need to be removed or, at the very least, pruned. Here’s a tip: if you cut back during the warmer weather, it’s a good idea to spray the plant with Yates DroughtShield. This polymer film will protect the newly exposed parts of the plant from sunburn.

The last plants to check are the ground covers. This layer includes the flowering plants that provide colour in the garden. If these are sun lovers, they may now be suffering from too much shade so should be moved into sunnier spots. Take out anything that is underperforming and make the most of the opportunity to plan replacements.

Revitalise the soil in garden beds by adding some old organic matter and some Dynamic Lifter Organic pellets. Sprinkle Dynamic Lifter around the plants, too – it supplies a gentle, non-burning, slow release fertiliser that encourages root growth.

Replace or remove tired old pot plants. Re-pot and tidy plants that have been in the same container for some years, using a quality potting mix such as Yates Premium. Lastly, check the hard aspects of the landscape. Clean furniture and, if necessary, repair and repaint. Clean paths, decking and garden walls.

Revitalise the lawn by treating it with a soil wetter such as Yates Waterwise hose on soil saturator and feeding with a long lasting lawn fertiliser like Dynamic Lifter Concentrated Lawn Food.

Shout yourself to some new plants but avoid the trap of buying trendy plants merely because they’re in fashion. Something more traditional may be better suited to your garden’s style.


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