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The best gardening advice to breathe new life into your green space

There is no better time than the present to update your garden with new blooms and fresh greenery. Here are some expert tips to help you along the way

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By House & Garden South Africa | April 12, 2024 | Gardens

As the growing season starts, it is time to get back outside and into you garden. Here are some ideas to refresh your outdoor space.


If you have a structured garden space, consider fluffing it up a bit with plantings that are not permanent. Try slipping foxgloves between evergreens for spring magic, perhaps some frilly lettuces under the topiaries in your pots. Queen Anne’s Lace with Scabiosa or poppies are wonderful sowed by seed direct into the garden and look great in vases too.


Add some grasses for some movement, swathes or individually for texture - there are so many gorgeous ones on the market. Try Stipa dregeana for shadier spots and Muhlenbergia capillaris for a candyfloss effect in autumn. I also love sowing linseed direct into the garden for wonderful linearity and blue clouds of blooms.

A close up of the pretty pink dahlia ‘Salmon Runner’


Try adding simple water features to the garden: a gorgeous pot filled with water, a submersible pump inside acting as a little water jet, makes a focal point outside a large window. I recently added a simple stone-built birdbath that brings me great joy. It has a little water jet and an easy-sloped bowl that the birds adore - remember, they need a shrub or little tree close by to dart into.

New Books

I have just bought Fiona Brockhoffs With Nature, and I love her philosophy and distinctive Mornington Peninsula style. There are numerous other books on growing cut flowers, including Sarah Raven’s A Year Full of Flowers.

The dahlia ‘Cornel Bronze’ grows wild and free, Photograph: Heidi Bertish


Low-slung chairs and daybeds with sleek, thin cushions in outdoor fabrics spell relaxed, summer living. Have a wonderful organically-shaped timber bench seat custom-made for your garden in sustainable South African pine. Or go the more organic route by sitting on random sized chunks of angled wood or natural boulders around a gravel-pit fire.


If your neighbours complain about noise, try the chargeable electric mowers, leaf blowers and hedge clippers now on the market. Then there are those cheeky little robotic mowers that take charge of your lawns, which are extremely cute and very quiet. I recently trialled the moveable solar bollard lights by the Italian company Fumagalli, which are good-looking, have a long life span, are programmable and well worth the investment. Marie has apparently made a special new rose clipper that holds the cut piece, so you do not have to scrabble around picking up the clippings - I have yet to try it.

To-dos in spring

Make sure the garden is compost mulched for a head start, and work out your fertilising programs. Get your compost-making organised, fill up any gaps now and re-pot planters that are root bound. Lastly, stock up on birdseed.

A vibrant mix of dahlias, Photograph: Heidi Bertish

Text originally by Franchesca Watson