Homes and Property

Seven habits of a successful gardener

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Planting a variety of flowers, mowing the lawn and pruning your shrubs are some things you can do for a beautiful garden. Photos by Constance Obonyo  

By CONSTANCE OBONYO

Posted  Wednesday, December 18  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

With the same set of tools, one gardener will have a well-manicured garden and another will have a tangled mess. Jack Ntegereze, a resident of Lubowa under whose care a beautiful symmetrical garden has emerged, shares seven useful habits for successful gardening.

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1. Prune your trees and shrubs
Some trees and shrubs will grow wild if you don’t prune them regularly. If your secateurs are lying solo at the back of your store, this is the time to whip them out.
“I prune them twice a week. Sometimes I use a rope to ensure that I prune the edges straight. And when shoots come up, I prune them to keep the tree or shrub in shape,” Ntegereze says.
2. Mow the lawn often
How often you should mow the lawn will depend on the size of your plot.
Ntegereze mows once every week on a 50 x 100 ft plot. The smartness of the lawn speaks for itself.

3.Plant an assortment of flowers
From trees like the cedar and the palm to shrubs like the Ixora and the Croton to flowerbed plants like the Agapanthus and the African Marigold, variety is indeed the spice of Ntegereze’s garden.
“I keep planting because some get spoilt. I get them from my friends. Sometimes I send people to nurseries to buy them. They usually cost Shs10,000 and above, depending on the type,” he says.

4.Watering a must
Ntegereze emphasises watering in the mornings and evenings. “Don’t water during the rainy season. During the dry season, there are times when it may take two to three days without raining. You must water at such times.”

5.Maintain soil fertility
Ntegereze mulches twice a year and uses compost to boost soil fertlility. The number of times you apply the compost depends on the type of flower or tree and whether it is withering.

6.Polish if you must
“Sometimes I apply Vaseline to plants, especially house plants. I apply it at least once a week to make them look brighter,” he reveals.
7. Weed with vigilance
“I weed every day. You cannot manage the compound at once. You have to go everywhere every day, so that no grass grows there,” Ntegereze concludes.
Do you wish for a garden that looks like it has fallen out of the sky? Cultivate these habits and a heavenly garden could be within your grasp.

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