Getting Garden Ready for Summer

BY ROXY ALLNUTT

A summer to-do list for your outdoor space

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26 OCT - 2022

As the calendar turns to spring, it's time to get physical and prepare your space for summer's bounty of blooms and vege.

While the rest of the world starts to layer up and nestle in, we get to crack open the sunscreen and enjoy bubbles in the sunshine. Summer of ‘21 was spent sipping G&Ts with the flatties in our lush garden perfectly tucked from a busy main road. We can thank last year’s isolation for the energy I spent getting my current flat’s garden into its best shape.

We naturally spend less time tending to our gardens during the winter months of the year. When the weather heats up again in the summer, we want to go out there and enjoy it. The problem is that there is often labour involved in getting things looking nice before we can sit back and enjoy the view with friends.

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I was among the Aucklanders who thought to counter potential disruptions in the food supply chain because I am so conscientious and considerate like that. I would start growing edible plants! Bare in mind, I have never been a gardener (far too scared of insects), but Mum has permanently housed a thriving food forest at home. Her proud energy was infectious as she pulled ingredients from outside into our salads. If a busy lady like her can do it, so can I. So, after spending hours getting my small section clear of weeds and sifting through root debris from a dehydrated soil bed, I finally had the ground to cultivate some magic in.

Spring is the perfect time to make your garden moves. It's not too hot nor cold, meaning you'll catch a lick of tan without the burn. I want to share my guide to getting the garden ready as we hang on the cusp of summer days.

Music Recommendation through the journey: Solar Power Album by Lorde - meets you halfway for the down-to-earth energy you’re about to endure with your soil and the sun above.

Weeding

This is the grotty part. Weeding a garden bed that hasn't been touched in years (likely) can feel like a never-ending task. To make things more annoying, if you want to do this right, you must clear ALL of it. Even those niggly, little sprouts that will one day overwhelm your baby tomato’s roots. You can head to your gardening store to pick up some weed killer. But like they say, ‘shortcuts make for long delays,’ and your fresh new garden may be hindered by chemicals left in the soil from these products.

Gloves are an absolute must for this task. A decent gardening fork, spade, shovel, whatever you can get your hands on.

My biggest urge as you get ready for weeding is a gardening bag you can throw everything into and dispose of off-site. Things get messy quickly, and your pile will outgrow you before you know it. Don't make the same mistake as I did, thinking that a large bucket would do me fine - I had to offload multiple dumps into some neighbouring bush. This is awful etiquette for future Roxy if I ever want to utilise that space. Come a few months, and it will be a shit show of condensed weeds that I will have to deal with.

Give Everything Surrounding Your Space A Zhuzh

There are a few ways to revamp your garden immediately. You’ll need a couple of bags of mulch, some more soil and decent gardening clippers. Take a really good look around your space and eye out what needs to go. Get rid of any random pots, rubbish and cluttering equipment. From here, with your clippers, I want you to be brutal. If you see any ugly branches and half-dead stems, just cut them off. We’ve just come out of winter, so your trees may look a little dreary, so you can be lenient. Once November arrives, many gardeners undergo the methods of pruning. Pruning means cutting branches back enough for the trees to grow back a far more leafy sprig, like how we cut dead hair and split ends off to give our hair a new lease of life.

Now for the bags of mulch and soil. These will be worked into your garden beds for both decorative and supportive purposes. Take mulch to any beds you don't want to plant further. For example, around small trees and pathways to the letterbox, you may have the perfect spot in mind! Mulch helps big time with weed control and helping moisture levels - if your garden likes to flood. The soil bags are the best lifehack after you’ve worked your arse off in the garden culling weeds. Simply sprinkle the bag all over your new bed, and with gloves, incorporate the two together the same way you’d toss a salad. You’ll immediately see that your soil looks healthier, sexier, and you’re giving your seedlings and bulbs a far more successful shot at life.

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The Best Part

Time to shop!!!! Okay, so your garden looks gorgeously revamped, and the section you’ve been slaving away on for plantable goods is ready to house. Whether you are going for a flower garden or an edible garden, it’s essential to create a plan. Sketch out the size of your space and mark little x’s on the map to create a picture. I have listed my all-time favourite flowers to grow in the summer. Plus, Mum has made a list of edible plants that she recommends.

Roxy’s Flower Picks
Dahlias: You’ll get addicted to watching these grow
Zinnia: These grow super tall in such cute colours
Delphinium: Eye-catching and beautiful
Hydrangea: Cut these blooms and pop them around the house
Cosmos: These grow like wildfire, perfect little stems you’ll melt for

Mum’s Edible Picks
Green Beans: Snack them straight from the stem
Cucumbers: Produce lovely flowers along their vines
Peppers: Love the sun
Tomatoes: You’ll go through these as fast as they bloom!
Sunflowers: Use the seeds for snacking
Note from Mum - While it’s so tempting, try to refrain from the strawberries! The birds and bugs always get to them before you, and it’s heart wrenching!

Last year my 3-meter-long flower batch consisted of dahlias and zinnia. I let them grow totally wild and only came in with snips when bits were dyings. You can let your patch run its natural course or keep it conformed and elegant, whatever suits your vibe.

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Adding Outdoor Furniture

Prosecco in the garden among your blooming space is only complete once you’ve added some furniture. So if you’re a barefoot-laying-in-the-grass type of gal, that’s fine with me! However, for the others, I have picked out some outdoor additions that you may swoon for.

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Red Current Khaki Alfresco Outdoor Beanchair $139

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Mitre10 Nouveau Montego Outdoor Bench Setting 3 Piece $2299

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Nood Terrace Lounger - Natural $999

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Adairs Malmo Sandstone Cushion $59

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Freedom Laboheme Outdoor Ottoman $379

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