Gardening / Taking bold steps to look good

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Steps from the driveway and steps on to the lawn… a more interesting approach to a front door.

Hard landscaping provides as much ambience to the garden as plants, says gardening writer CEDRIC BRYANT.  

Cedric Bryant.

MANY older homes have a boring approach to the front door with a couple of precast concrete steps. 

This was the challenge in redesigning the front area for one of my clients. 

Firstly, we got rid of the concrete steps and made the approach two ways; one set leading from the drive to the mini-patio area and the second leading on to the lawn. 

The front door area was enlarged with sufficient space for a small table and chairs and the old tiles replaced with slate to provide a uniform appearance, a great improvement to two concrete slab steps.

Gazebos are good for gardens large or small.

A FREQUENT request from those with a very small backyard was how to provide an entertainment area other than in the home and to fit into the small space. 

While in the photo, the illustrated gazebo was in a larger garden, it would be equally ideal in a small garden. In one place a children’s sandpit was incorporated to be covered with a board when the table and chairs were in place. Obviously, this is perfect to locate a barbeque.

RHODODENDRONS, azaleas and japonica camellias will all now have a mass of buds with some possibly even with a few early flowers. It’s a good time to give them a final feed before they burst into their floral splendor. 

I only recommend organic plant food such as liquid Maxicrop Seaweed Plant Nutrient. With the magnificent rain over the last few weeks this will be absorbed directly to the root zone, unlike granular chemical plant food which the rain would have almost certainly washed away. 

I say a final feed because once they flower there’s no point feeding them until autumn, when the next year’s buds are appearing. At feeding time I also recommend adding a heaped tablespoonful of Epsom salts or magnesium to each standard, nine-litre watering can of water.

DESPITE the recent hail and storms, it’s amazing how most citrus still produced a good crop of winter lemons. 

When picking, always harvest the fruit with a short stalk rather than just pulling it off the bush. 

With the weather warming, it’s also the ideal time to plant citrus. It loves all the sun it can get with a northerly aspect as ideal. Lemons, limes and cumquats all grow well here. 

Oranges can be variable because the weather doesn’t stay hot enough long enough for them to juice up and sweeten properly. They typically need the long, hot summers that are experienced in citrus-growing areas such Leeton in the Riverina or Bourke.

PROFESSIONAL lawn maintenance operatives, the people who core and dethatch lawns, hate extended periods of dry and rock-hard ground (which can damage their machinery).

At present, the ground is still moist from recent rain and the timing is perfect to core the lawn. In any event, I recommend this is done before summer. 

The difference it makes to water penetration and keeping the lawn lush and green can be amazing, combined of course with regular feeding. I have used Paul Howard for many years, call 0412 483846.

 

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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