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Summer gardening in Cape Town

Summer is at our door step. With only a few easy tips you can keep your garden looking beautiful during the dry summer months here in Cape Town!


  1. Choose plants that can survive Cape Town’s long, dry summers without much watering.

Plant indigenous. You will play a role in preserving our indigenous flora. Indigenous trees and fynbos attract pollinators and birds.


  1. Remove weeds – they will compete with your garden plants for water.

If you need weed killers, only use those that will not harm the environment.  The best way to remove weeds especially in lawns are to do it manually.  Sit on a garden stool, using a narrow garden trowel and sharp fork while enjoying nature and your garden.  It is easier to do this when the soil is wet so do it after watering.

  1. Mulch your garden.

Only use organic mulch like leaves, pine needles and compost.

  • Grass cuttings are a good source of mulching. It should however be dry and disease-free as wet clippings can form a mat and prevent water filtering into the soil.
  • You can use your partially decomposed leaves which is excellent for controlling weeds and will give your garden a nutrient kickstart. They improve soil structure, add organic matter, and increase water retention so the soil can handle droughts.
  • If you don’t have time for leaves to decompose, coarsely shred the dry leaves. They suppress weeds well.
  • Water-wise groundcovers are “living mulches”.
  • Water early morning and early evenings.

  1. Prune the dead leaves so that green foliage receives more nutrition.


  1. Keep caterpillars and slugs to a minimum by scattering crushed eggshells on the soil beneath the targeted plants.

Plant strong scented plants, such as lavender, citronella, mint, basil, and lemongrass, as natural insect repellents.


  1. Lawns are a beautiful feature in a garden.

They are however high maintenance and use plenty of water during the summer months. Try to keep your lawn small. Kikuyu grass needs lots of water so rather opt for indigenous grass like Buffalo and Kweek.

“When you are sad, a garden comforts. When you are humiliated or defeated, a garden consoles. When you are lonely it offers companionship that is true and lasting. When you are weary your garden will soothe and refresh you.” – Monty Don


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