Warm weather and the first Spring flowers have the motivating effect of encouraging us out into the garden and down to the local nursery. It’s the Spring seduction!
Like going shopping when you’re hungry, you can easily come back with some “instant takeaway” plants that satisfy momentarily, but in the long term do not add to the value of your garden.
So, keeping the potted colour splurges to one side and labelling them the “naughty but nice” plants, what are some decisions that you won’t regret in the morning?
1. Ground covers
Wherever there is a spare patch, weeds will find their way. Planting ground covers is a great way to “future-proof” your garden. African daisies and gazanias are lovely now, will flower prolifically for months and are perfect for sunny embankments.
Trees are the best option the home gardener has to make a difference to their environment. Not only are they great at producing oxygen and being carbon sinks, they also create shade, reducing the water needed for other plants to cope in summer and even shading your house, helping your home stay cool without the air con.
Deciduous trees work particularly well here, using passive solar energy the winter sun can still warm your house and then when the canopy grows, the summer sun is blocked.
Small to medium-sized deciduous trees for back yards include Japanese Maples, crepe myrtles, Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ and, if you’re in warmer, tropical areas, leopard trees. Larger options include Chinese Elms and Jacarandas.
For evergreen native options perfect for attracting birds, consider Ivory Curl trees, fire wheel trees and some of the taller grevilleas like ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Sandra Gordon’.
3. Herbs and veggies
Your kitchen garden can really do with a spring splurge now the weather is warmer. Tomatoes and basil can be planted, as well as other cold-sensitive crops like capsicum, eggplant, cucumbers and melons.
Herbs like coriander, dill and parsley should all be resown from seeds, and quick crops like lettuce, baby spinach and silverbeet can go in and be picked leaf by leaf in a few weeks for delicious salads.
It’s hard not to be tempted by jasmine and wisteria in spring, but as far as climbers go, these are two of the most antisocial. Consider less-vigorous options such as the natives Hardenbergia and Pandorea ‘Snowbells’.
5. Insect-friendly plants
Bees are seriously having a hard time these days. Why not plant a butterfly and bee-attracting plant or two? Think buddleia for butterflies and salvia and lavender for bees. Both are deliciously tantalising for our six-legged friends.