It’s a blooming good time to plant some flowers

October is the ideal time to plan out, prepare and plant your flower beds to ensure you have a showstopper summer garden.

Planning is vital to ensure you plant your flowers in a happy spot where they will thrive. You could make a sketch of your garden – including any permanent features such as buildings, sheds or trees – and the areas where you would like to plant, to help you visualise your creation before going ahead. You can do this without knowing exactly which flowers you want to plant.

On your sketch, simply draw in the general shapes (tall, low, round, bushy) and general sizes of the plants you feel would look good in that spot. You can identify suitable species later with the help of your local garden centre. You can also find expert inspiration and advice in the GARDENA website magazine: Garden Magazine.

Then, over the course of a day, with fairly average weather for your region, make notes on your sketch of how many hours of sunlight different areas get. Categorise them as follows:

Full sun (6 or more hours of sun per day)

• Partial sun/partial shade (3-6 hours)

• Dappled sun (such as the light found under large deciduous trees)

• Full shade (less than 3 hours of sun per day)

A lot of flowers prefer full sun. Full sun in the morning and early afternoon is ideal, as flowers can benefit from maximum sunlight before the sun gets too hot. Although full shade isn’t ideal, partial or dappled shade still offers plenty of options.

Prepare the area

Begin by marking the boundaries to your flowerbed using stones, wood or any other materials. Adding a layer of mulch around plants will highlight edges as well as keeping moisture in and weeds at bay. Remove large stones and other debris. Mix in some good quality compost to improve soil drainage and add nutrients. Use GARDENA Lawn Edging to mark out your planting space, whether separating lawn and flowerbeds or organising flowerbeds according to different water requirements.

Test soil drainage by watering thoroughly and leaving overnight. If the soil is still very wet and sloppy the next day, it’s a sign of bad drainage. In this case, try adding more compost and test again. If the soil still isn’t draining properly, you may have to consider other options. You can build a raised bed within a wooden frame, but planters and containers are easier options. These look great and are easier to maintain than a traditional flowerbed.

TOOL TIP: A pointed spade is the perfect tool for loosening soil, clearing grass and making borders for planting areas. The GARDENA NatureLine Pointed Spade is a good choice, featuring an extra-wide D-shaped handle for a comfortable grip; an extended plastic coating for non-slip handling; and a foot-rest designed to facilitate optimal soil penetration. The GARDENA NatureLine is made from recycled and renewable materials that make it an eco-friendly choice.

Get your hands dirty

Now that the area is ready for planting, head to your local garden centre with your sketch to pick out plants. Our suggestion is to keep your choices indigenous. Because indigenous plants are by their very nature better adapted to our climate, they usually require less specialised care to thrive and are more likely to reward you with flourishing growth and flowers. Generally, they require less water than many exotic species, which is good for the environment and your pocket. Indigenous flowers also attract birds and butterflies.

Here are our top four suggestions of beautiful indigenous flowers to plant in October:

Forest bell bush (Mackaya bella) – evergreen and prefers to grow in the shade.

• Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethopica) – a hardy, shade- to semi-shade loving plant with elegant white flowers that emerge on long stems throughout the summer.

• Blue lily (Agapanthus africanus) – can thrive in sun, semi-shade or shady conditions.

• Crane flower (Strelitzia regina) – will flower throughout the year and can be planted in the sun or semi-shade.

TOOL TIP: Use a hand trowel to dig planting holes to the exact size and depth needed for the plants you have selected. Hand trowels offer greater precision than spades and shovels. The GARDENA Classic Hand Trowel is ergonomically designed and coated in Duroplast to protect against wear and tear. The GARDENA EcoLine Hand Trowel is similarly effective and durable, but made from recycled and renewable materials. If planting bulbs, the GARDENA Bulb Planter is a handy tool for getting the right depth with ease.

More tips to garden like a pro

Make sure you use the correct tools. This will allow you to complete tasks faster, and reduce discomfort and fatigue (especially when handling large tools).

Ensure you have the correct gardening gloves. The GARDENA range of gardening gloves is made from Oeko-Tex®, a specialised fabric free from harmful substances and safe for your skin.

Plant and water in the afternoon to reduce the risk of shock to the plant.

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