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November in the Garden

Summer is about colour – everywhere! Old favourites are in full bloom so you need more of them. The best news is the availability of modern dwarf hybrids of many perennials and edibles, which can be planted and enjoyed in the smallest of spaces!

On trend – containering

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Container gardening is gaining popularity by the day and what’s not to love about it?

  • you can garden in small spaces – even indoors;
  • you can take your garden with you if you move home;
  • you can change your garden according to the seasons or if you get bored with it;
  • you have perfect control over the soil
  • from the traditional and pretty decorative pots, to gumboots and repurposed wooden pallets, the variety of different containers you can use is endless.23

 

You can feed yourself royally from pots

Plant blueberries, strawberries and Cape gooseberries in large pots.

To health with blueberries!

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They say that the blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is one of the world’s super foods due to a high concentration of antioxidants, and luckily for us, good blueberry varieties are now readily available – just in time for those scrumptious summer smoothies. Plant them in full sun in a space which will allow for a mature height of 1,5m and a spread of up to 2m wide. You can however, also plant them in a large pot. Blueberries like moist, acidic soil so mulch them with acid compost or pine needles, and feed them with a fertiliser formulated for blue hydrangeas.   

Smart planting

Brachyscome Magenta – tons of bright magenta blooms cover these mounded plants all season long and is ideal for containers and garden beds. The plants are sensitive to overwatering, and for optimal performance, can be fed with a slow release fertiliser to encourage blooming. Plant these beauties in full sun. They reach a height of between 15 to 30cm and width of 15 to 20cm.

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Petite and huge blooming beauty – dwarf Inca lilies are magnificent for the garden and suitable to grow in containers too, as they reach a height of only 30-35cm. They flower profusely from spring to autumn and can be found in a wide range of bright colours. These shorty’s can, just like their taller family members, be picked as long-lasting cut flowers.

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Hydrangeas – brighten up shady areas with glorious hydrangeas, which will now be available in flower. Colour in between them with impatiens, begonias and browallia. Hydrangeas love dappled shade, rich loamy soil and lots of water. If you want to grow them in pots, place them on the Southern side of the house for early morning sun and afternoon shade.

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Plant camels for a dry garden

Plumbago Royal Cape – huge clusters of vivid deep blue flowers cover this sprawling, vine-like shrub most of the year. It is a reliable evergreen and can be used as a groundcover, bank cover or container plant in frost-free areas.

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Statice (Limonium perezii) – an evergreen perennial that forms a rosette of large, leathery leaves. It grows in the sun in most soils as long as it is well drained. It is drought tolerant once established, but needs regular watering when newly planted. This is a reliable low maintenance plant. You only need to remove the old foliage to keep the plant tidy and looking good. The Statice plant flowers year-round but has more flowers in spring and summer. It has large clusters of bi-colour blooms on stems ranging from 15-60cm tall. These flowers are purple-blue and white and have a papery feel to them. The flowers last forever and are excellent cut flowers – both fresh and dried, as they retain their colour. Remove the old flowers to encourage new flowers to develop. Butterflies and bees love the flowers.

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Hardy bedding bestie – Portulaca!

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Portulaca grandiflora varieties are annual succulents flowering their hearts out in summer to autumn. They mature at around 15cm in height and 30-40cm in width. The reddish coloured stems are prostrate and green cylindrical leaves are arranged in clusters around the stem and pointed at the ends. Both the stems and leaves are thick and fleshy.

The flowers, formed at the tips of the stems, are rose-like in appearance and have either single, semi-double or double petals. The colours tend to be bright such as scarlet, orange, yellow, pink and white, although there are some cultivars that have been bred to have a more pastel palette.

The best uses for this plant include the following: in a rockery, between stepping stones as groundcover, or in a hanging basket. The trailing habit of this plant makes for an ideal companion in containers, as it will spill over the edges magnificently. Portulaca enjoy sandy, well-draining soil and a hot, sunny position.

Bug patrol

Infestations of red and two spotted spidermite have the following symptoms: Fine, pale mottling with small reddish or two spotted mites on the underside of leaves and stem. In severe cases, a fine silk web will be apparent and leaves lose their green colour. Leaves fall off and such weakened plants may die. Treat with an oil based insecticide.

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Bro’s growing in the air!

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Airplants (Tillandsias) are part of the epiphytic bromeliads which live off moisture and nutrients in the air. Their roots are insignificant and the hard leaves are mostly grey or white and covered in small scales, which absorb water and food. Probably the most well-known air plant is Spanish moss or old man’s beard (Tillandsia usneoides), often seen hanging like grey curtains from tree branches. But, there are more than 400 species of these very collectable plants which are so easy to grow.

Food for the wild ones

Keep on planting for birds, bees and butterflies. Wild dagga, (Leonotis leonurus) September bush (Polygala myrtifolia), Egyptian star (Pentas lanceolata) bushes are highly recommended to make your garden come alive!

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Check list for November

  • It is prime time for hydrangeas, gardenias and fuchsias. If yours are not at their best, feed them with a water soluble fertiliser and renew the mulch around them.
  • Plant out a fresh crop of sweet basil and also sow some seeds to ensure lots of these aromatic leaves for summer salads and pasta dishes. Remove all flowers as they appear to ensure good quality leaves, and to stop the plants from setting seed.  
  • Prune jasmines, banksia roses, deutzias, and spiraeas after they’ve flowered.
  • Prune lightly those shrubs suffering from hail damage, and treat preventatively with a fungicide.
  • Prune azaleas for neatness after flowering. Then give them a feed, water and mulch to help them set buds for the next flowering season.
  • Prune ivy geraniums after a first flower flush. Keep on feeding them regularly to encourage another flower flush.
  • Beware the lily borer (a black caterpillar with yellow bands) which bores into the hearts of Clivias, Agapanthus and Arum lilies. Signs of activity are decaying leaves and dying plants. Treat early or preventively with a registered insecticide containing pyrethrum or pyrethroid

 

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September in the Garden

As Margaret Atwood so finely put, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”, we couldn’t agree more! The birds are chirping, the days are getting longer (and warmer!) and it’s the perfect time to do a happy dance and get into the garden. Get up and garden!

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Trending – Gym in nature!

Giving yourself a good workout in the privacy of your own backyard is much nicer and cheaper than taking out a gym contract, and you don’t have to force your ‘love handles’ into unbecoming lycra!

While you are getting fitter and trimmer with pruning, weeding, composting, raking, digging, planting and mowing, your garden will reward your spent time and perspiration with lush growth and great harvests of flowers and edibles. Another advantage is that spending time outside in the sunshine and fresh air, has a positive influence on your psychological health as well – it relieves stress and depression too.

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Smart planting in September

Cape thatching reed (Elegia tectorum): This graceful restio specie is found from Clanwilliam in the Western Cape to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and naturally grows in moist, sandy dongas. The plant is, however, quite hardy against frost and dry conditions and will grow virtually anywhere. It is a fast grower with a rounded, tufted growth habit and can reach a mature size of about 1,5 m high, with a spread of 1,5m – 3m. The reed-like stems are dark green and smooth with dark brown bracts. Slender, compact flower spikes with brown bracts appear in autumn.   

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Vygies (Lampranthus) – amongst the many species with upright or trailing growth habits, there is a wide colour range which includes white, cream, pink, salmon, red, yellow, mauve and purple. Smother your dry zones or rock garden with vygies – few other plants can beat their spring splendour and   economical water usage!

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Osteospermums - The striking bold colours of this indigenous beauty clearly dispel all and any suggestions that indigenous gardens have to be dull, dreary and boring. Like other indigenous daisy-type flowers, Osteospermums require full sun for the flowers to fully open. As such they are ideal specimens for rockeries, borders and flower beds. They are also highly suited to container plantings, with the prostrate growing varieties performing well in hanging baskets.

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Dainthus Dash - Sweet William is an old-fashioned cottage garden plant. This selection from the Dash series is unusual because it acts as a long-lived perennial, instead of a biennial. It bears masses of showy clusters of fragrant ‘magical’ flowers that open white and mature to shades of pink and rose, late spring into summer. Excellent as a cut flower. Plants are easily divided in early autumn or spring. Remove fading flowers to encourage more buds to form. Prune plants back hard in midsummer if they become scruffy or floppy.

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Bedding Besties

Add bright colour to the hottest and sunniest spots in your garden with bedding Verbenas available in a wide colour range from soft pink, hot pink, purple to reds. These bushy little guys grow about 25cm high and wide. They love sandy, well-drained soil and regular water.

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Lawn questions:

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Q: Is spring a good time to lay a new instant lawn? And, to save on cost of the sods can it be laid in a checkerboard pattern?

A: Instant lawn can be laid in any season, but spring is the best time in colder regions. To lay the sods in a block pattern can save money, but if not done with care, will result in a very uneven lawn which will be expensive to fix. After laying the sods and tamping them down with a spade or wooden block, you need to fill the open spaces between them with a mix of fine compost and river sand, to the same level as the sods.

Q: Can one use ordinary garden soil as filling or for top dressing after spring scarifying an existing lawn?

A: Never use garden soil or so-called ‘topsoil’ as it can cause bad drainage or could be infested with dormant weed seed. Rather invest in lawn dressing.

 

Trees for life!

National Arbour Week is from 1 – 7 September which gives you seven official days to plant trees. One of the trees to plant in 2018 is the real yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius) which is also our National Tree. As this stately evergreen heritage tree with its neat growth habit and glossy green leaves becomes a very large tree, we suggest that you plant one in a roomy pot to use as a Christmas tree at the end of the year. We also recommend the following fruit trees for planting:

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Pomegranate ‘Wonderful’ (Punica granatum) is a leading cultivar with a resistance to adverse conditions and a high yield potential of huge blush red fruits. It is a small deciduous tree (2,5m high) for climates with cool winters and hot summers.

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Olive varieties – these hardy, but beautiful trees with their dull green leaves with the silver reverse, can tolerate very cold (and hot) temperatures and wind. Good varieties are ‘Manzanilla’ and ‘Mission’. Olive trees are not only functional but grow into really pretty shade trees that blend well within any planting scheme or garden design.

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Rose care for September

Fine tune roses for a spectacular flower flush next month. Pinch-prune about a third of the shoots, start increasing watering to at least twice a week. Fertilise again at the end of the month and spray fortnightly against pests and disease.

 

Pest patrol

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Our gogga of the month is the aphid. Symptoms of an aphid infestation include the appearance of colonies of aphids on young plant stems, leaves and buds, as well as honeydew on leaves and fruit, with black sooty mould, or yellowing leaves. Plant growth is stunted, leaves eventually die off due to sooty mould fungus, bud growth is prohibited, and the plant eventually dies. Eradicate biting and sucking insects like aphids, by spraying with a Cypermethrin every two weeks or use a seasonal soil drench with a systemic insecticide like Koinor

Patio and balcony living

Balconies and patios allow one to garden really intensely in small spaces.

  • Fill up roomy pots with bright, spring-flowering Azaleas and Barberton daisies.  

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  • Hang up hanging baskets with new petunia varieties in gaudy shades like Petunia ‘Baby Doll’ and ‘Night Sky’ – all new kids on the block!
  • Vertical gardening on a patio is a lot of fun. Recycle old wooden pallets and fill them with succulents, herbs, or colourful annuals.

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  • Paint one wall with the brightest shade you can handle and also some old clay pots with the same colour. Ask your handyman to make a few iron rings big enough to hold the painted pots, fix them to the wall, and fill them with pretty annuals in flower or a collection of succulents.  

 

Balcony DIY: Double-storey strawberries

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Buy two plastic or clay pots of different sizes. Fill the bottom, larger pot with good quality potting soil and a small handful of bone meal. Place the smaller pot, also filled with soil mix, inside the bigger pot on top of the soil and plant rooted strawberry runners in both. If you buy quality, fairly mature plants now, you will see that you can easily divide them into rooted runners to plant. This project will stretch your strawberry season deep into summer.    

To do list for September

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  • Start planting begonias and impatiens in shade and Sunpatiens in sun.
  • Start spraying fruit trees against fruit fly and codling moth once about 75% of the blossoms have dropped off. Spray every 10-14 days.
  • The blooming power of some tall-growing perennials, which are dormant in winter, can be increased by pinching out the main stems in spring when they start emerging again and are about 20cm high.
  • Berries of all kinds are good for your health and different varieties are readily available. To ensure a good crop, prepare beds by working soil over with a fork and adding in compost and a balanced fertiliser for fruit and flowers prior to planting.
  • You are not done with bulb-planting, as the summer-flowering bulbs are now on sale. Start planting coloured Zantedeschia hybrids and dahlias.   
  • Weed regularly before it gets out of hand. Treat weeds on paving, pathways and in gravelled areas with a non selective herbicide.

 

  • Top tips for using chemicals:
    • Never spray on a windy day for fear of drift
    • Always spray in early in the morning or late afternoon – never in the heat of the day

                                                                                                                                                        

Happy September Gardening!

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August in the Garden

Awesome August has arrived, which means it’s almost time for a spring awakening… You will see on crispy August mornings new mint-green leaves sprouting, and bees and butterflies zooming over swathes of daisies turning their heads to the sun. Wake up and make your life a garden!

Go crazy with daisies!

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No other country in the world can lay claim to the same sensational indigenous late winter and early spring colour that we can, with our fantastic Osteospermum hybrids, sold under the collective name of Cape Daisy. These ground-covering plants are loved by butterflies and thrive in full sun. They are spectacular in window boxes, in mixed containers or in single patio pots.

For a mass of cheerful flower faces, few plants beat the beloved daisy bush (Argyranthemum frutescens). Every year more hybrids and colour variations appear, with each one seeming to be more floriferous and more compact than its predecessors. They are perfect for sunny patios, balconies, pool sides, or anywhere that a typical sense of spring awakening could be celebrated. Daisy bushes are at their most colourful in cooler months but flower repeatedly in summer if they are looked after well with ample water, feeding and a light clipping after a flower flush.

Hot tip: Give your old pots a new lick of paint before planting them up with your daisies or invest in new pots roomy enough to allow them to grow into large cushions of flowers.  

Waterwise daisy – Golden daisy bush

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It’s almost impossible to be upset about anything if you are standing in front of the golden daisy bush (Euryops pectinatus) in bloom – this indigenous shrub is just too cheerful! On a bright sunny day, the hundreds of butter-yellow daisies stand out against dense foliage and catch your eye from afar (and those of pollinators like bees and butterflies too!). Their greyish green, fern-like foliage is also attractive. Plant them en masse along garden paths or in rows of pots to make a real statement. They grow fast, are easy on water and flourish virtually everywhere, except in the coldest of climates.

Stylish Clivia

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If you can only choose one fantastic early spring-flowering plant, make it a Clivia (also known as the Natal or bush lily). When the breathtaking orange flowers burst forth after winter they instantly banish any traces of the winter blues still lingering. More you need to know, is that they are easy to grow, evergreen, perennial and have lovely dark green leaves that are long and strap-like. The trumpet-shaped, brightly coloured flowers are arranged together in sturdy flower heads attached to fleshy stems. They last for several weeks and then give way to fleshy round berries that remain on the plant for months.

In a nutshell -

Legend has it that Clivias bring good fortune if planted near your house.

Good for dry shade gardens.

Pretty in pots too.

Sweet temptations

Plant a compact and hardy Strawberry hybrid for a delicious crop of sweet fruit in summer till autumn. Keep it indoors on a sunny window sill or outside on a balcony in a pot or hanging basket. This is an ideal gift for a loved one as well. 

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A is for Azalea

Sometimes you will find pots filled with three to four differently coloured flowers all in bloom at the same time. This is because quite a few cuttings of different hybrids are planted together to supply bright colour indoors or on a shady and protected patio. Keep your plants always moist, but not sopping wet. Never allow the soil to dry out completely. Prevent water on the blooms and closed buds, and keep the plants in good light or filtered sunlight and out of cold drafts, and they will keep on blooming for many weeks. After flowering, they can be planted out into the garden or in bigger pots, in the shade.

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Bedding bestie – Gazania

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One way to describe Gazanias (more commonly known as Treasure Flowers) is to say that they have large, stripy, or boldly coloured daisy-like flowers in shades of orange, white, yellow, pink, red and many bicolours, which open during the day and close at night. But, that does not say it all! Originating from South Africa, they can also withstand high heat and little water. They prefer sandy soil with excellent drainage and full sun. To initiate beautiful blooms throughout many months of the year, plant them into compost enriched soil and feed them monthly.

Rose care for August

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If not yet done, roses can still be pruned in August. In very cold regions  pruning end August is best in any case. After pruning, pull off all remaining leaves as they can harbour disease and pests. Spray bare stems to kill insect eggs and fungus spores, dig in compost, and a rose fertiliser. Add a fresh layer of mulch and water well afterwards.

Friendly bugs – butterflies and bees

Butterflies bring a lovely, colourful and whimsical look to the garden. While feeding on plant nectar, they also collect pollen on their legs and carry this pollen to other flowers and parts of the garden, creating the opportunity for entirely new flower beds to spring up, in time!Without bees we will lose many vegetables and fruit which are pollinated by them. Unfortunately, their numbers keep on dwindling due to a lack of flowering plants in smaller gardens. You can encourage bees to your garden  (even if it is just a garden in pots), in a few ways, one of which includes planting bee-attracting herbs. This list includes: Sweet basil, bergamot, catmint, French thyme, lemon balm, borage, mint, cotton lavender and lavender. 

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Black gold – home-made compost

Compost enriches the soil and helps retain water, and is easy and cheap to make.

  1. Combine brown and green material (like dead plants, dry leaves and cut-up sticks) in heaps of about 1m high and 1.5 m wide at the base.
  2. Keep moist and turn it over regularly as it heats up.
  3. Compost is ready when it is dark brown and has an earthy smell.  
  4. Add compost activator to accelerate the break-down.

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August is Lavender month

‘As Rosemary is to the spirit, so Lavender is to the soul’ – Anonymous

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10 Lavender Facts

  • Lavenders can be added into the edible garden for colour and fragrance.
  • Used with roses provide lovely contrasts and they give you that old style English country garden look
  • Lavenders don’t often get used in cooking but can be added to cookies combined with pecan nuts (YUM YUM)
  • The flowers can be used to decorate cakes and tables
  • Place dried leaves and flowers in your clothing cupboards to ward off fish moths and cockroaches
  • Add fresh lavender to your bath before bedtime, this will help induce sleep
  • Lavender oils soothe aching muscles and joints and make a fantastic massage oil
  • The flowers attract bees so planted in the orchard or nearby fruit trees will aid in pollination
  • In the language of flowers, lavender can mean devotion, luck, success, or happiness (so why not plant one in your garden)
  • Lavender has antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic and anti-depressant properties. It is used in treatment of headaches, insect bites, burns, acne, and insomnia.

So find a sunny spot in the garden for some new lavender or perhaps your old ones need some replacing

To do list for August….

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  • No matter what the weather, your garden will always need feeding, feeding and even more feeding!
  • Feed all shrubs and trees when you see new shoots sprouting. Dig one bag of compost and a handful of superphosphate or bonemeal, or balanced fertiliser into every square meter of bed. Remember to water well after feeding.
  • Mulch and feed your fuchsias.
  • Prune and feed your hydrangeas. Apply acid compost as mulch.
  • Primula seed can be harvested and stored for next season.
  • Buy summer bulbs like amaryllis, different coloured Arum lilies, Gladiolus and Dahlias, as soon as they’re available. Store in a cool dry place until planting.
  • August is the time to plant your summer annuals such as Petunias, Lobelias, Dianthus, Begonias, Gazanias and marigolds. Remember to keep covered those plants which are frost-tender.
  • Don’t forget to stake newly planted trees and standards to prevent them from toppling over or snapping in the August wind.
  • Revive your indoor plants by cleaning the leaves with a wet cloth or leaf-wipe tissue and giving each plant a diluted dose of liquid fertiliser.
  • Start preparing your lawn for the summer. Rake out any dead and matted undergrowth (add these rakings to the compost heap or use as mulch for the flower beds) and aerate the lawn to improve its absorption of water and nutrients. Aeration can be as simple as stabbing holes into the lawn with a garden fork. Apply mulch and lawn fertiliser to newly raked and aerated lawns. Water well afterwards.

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October in the Garden

We pack a colourful punch this month with bright, flowering suggestions for you to plant and sow right now. Enjoy the beautiful face of October!

We are also celebrating garden day this month!

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What is Garden Day: a Day dedicated to celebrating your garden, the beautiful outdoors, your community, friends, family and neighbours. Garden Day is coming up on Sunday, 21 October and we can't wait to celebrate with you!

Smart planting

Enhance your gardening pleasure and manage your budget and water bill with these hardy beauties:

Pelargonium pizazz!

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Fill up pots, window boxes, your rock garden, and the openings in cement retaining walls with pelargoniums (more commonly known as Geraniums) in different colours. These plants are ideal to add colour to hot and sunny places.

Troubleshooting…

Although they are easy to grow and quite tough, they can sometimes be shy to flower profusely. Here are some good tips:

– The right soil: Geraniums hate wet feet and heavy, slow draining soil. Use a good quality commercial potting mix for pots, and condition garden soil with lots of compost.

– The right food: Keeping these plants hungry for food will cause them to sulk and stop flowering. They are gross feeders and need feeding in the garden every six weeks with Atlantic Fruit & Flower Organic Fertilizer. Plants in pots should be fed fortnightly throughout the year with a water soluble fertiliser.

– The right cut: Remove spent flowers regularly and prune the plants back in spring or autumn to keep them bushy. Tattered old plants can be given a new lease on life by cutting up to two thirds of the plant away, ensuring you leave some leaves on the plant.

– The right way with water: Geraniums are water wise. Only water them when the surface of the soil is dry.

Jasmine time  (Trachelospermum jasminoides).

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  • This versatile creeper with its glossy, dark green foliage and aromatic, pure white flowers, can be used to trail over pergolas and fences and if planted in mass, as groundcovers under trees. It grows well in pots too

 

  • For a year-round visual effect plant Cordyline ‘Electric Pink’which will give you splashes of vivid pink shades on a naturally multi-stemmed plant. These Cordylines are tough, easy to grow plants and grow to about 1m high x 1m wide. Pests and diseases seldom attack them. Full sun or light shade are perfect for Cordylines and so are large containers. They combine beautifully with soft ornamental grasses in mixed borders, and are great near a swimming pool. Their root systems are not aggressive and they are not messy plants.

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Regular water will ensure very lush foliage, but never overdo it, as these plants can survive dry periods once established, without losing their splendour. A general rating will be low to medium water usage. Regular feeding during summer will result in healthy plants with bright and colourful foliage. Use Vigorosa!

Proudly perennial

Planting lots of different perennials regularly and when in season, means that your garden will have a diverse array of lovely plants throughout the year. ‘Perennial’ normally refers to herbaceous plants which live for more than two years.

Absolutely fabulous agapanthus

Perennial agapanthus have been hybridised to give us varieties with longer and repeat flowering capabilities. These plants are very floriferous and tough, withstanding frost and long periods of drought.

‘Buccaneer’ – repeat bloomer, producing white flowers with deep purple stripes.

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‘Bingo White’ has pure white flowers.

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Keep agapanthus happy by planting them in full sun or light shade. Water regularly but don’t overdo it, and feed them with Bio Ganic All purpose Organic Fertilizer

Grow cut flowers from seed

Make it a spring resolution to sow easy-to-grow cut flowers. This is a very good reason to get down and dirty, and which gardener doesn’t love wandering through a meadow filled with lots of colourful flowers to pick?


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Seed companies nowadays supply seeds of the most popular garden flowers in mixed, as well as in single colours, and even go as far as mixing different combinations of flower seeds together into jumbo packs for sun and shade. This seems to create a meadow effect when flowering starts.   

Sowing tips

  • To sow directly means to sow seeds in the bed in which they will grow to maturity, as opposed to planting them in seedling trays and transplanting them later.
  • The soil in flowerbeds should never be allowed to dry out after the seeds have been sown. If necessary, give it a light sprinkling of water twice a day. As soon as germination has occurred and the first true leaves show, you can reduce watering.

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Sow sow special!

Beauties to sow now include:  cosmos, sweet william, cornflowers, baby’s breath, carnation, nasturtium, marigold, sunflower, verbena & dianthus

Rose Care in October

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October is rose month! You can plan a new rose garden or fill up an existing one

Although roses dislike disturbance around their roots while growing actively again, they do enjoy the presence of a living mulch. Try a few dainty groundcovers and perennials, and add more colour and romance to the rose garden. Bright colours and flowers to add now include creeping Jenny (Lysimachia ‘Aurea’), chives, Brachyscome daisies in different hybrids and colours, bindweed (Convolvulus) and sweet violet (Viola odorata). The very best living mulch is, of course, the white Sweet Alyssum – it stays compact, does not interfere with the rose roots, is scented, neutral in colour and reseeds itself.

Bedding besties

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Time to colour in your shade. Since the worst cold and frost is now over, invest in New Guinea Impatiens. They are available in colours for every taste. You can also plant impatient power in the sun, by asking for ‘Sunpatiens’

Don’t lose your impatiens… Be sure to put out crushed egg shells around newly planted impatiens, as the snails love their soft leaves and pretty flowers.

Love your lawn

The appearance of broadleaf weeds on the lawn, patches of discoloured lawn, and even patches of soil where lawn has been completely destroyed, should be dealt with this month. Weeds compete with plants (in this case grass) for moisture, nutrients, light, and space, leaving the lawn looking yellowish brown, and eventually completely weed-ridden. Fertilise your lawn first, water well and keep on mowing.

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Checklist for October

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  • Freshen up garden containers of specimen plants, like lollipop standards, by pruning them neatly to maintain a round shape. Add a layer of compost and plant some bright red bedding begonias around the stems.  
  • Repot ferns into fresh potting soil and start feeding them every two weeks with a liquid fertiliser mixed at half-strength. Orchids and ferns love humidity in the atmosphere, so place them on pot trays filled with gravel and a little water. Do not let the base of the pot stand in water, or the plants will rot.
  • Use potted roses to brighten up indoor rooms or your patio.
  • In the rose garden and orchard, remove any growth sprouting from below the graft bud union on the mother stock.
  • Neaten up flowering peaches, almonds and ornamental quinces as soon as they have finished flowering.
  • Put out crushed egg shells amongst strawberry plants to discourage snails and provide a mulch of straw, coarse clippings, or weed matting to prevent the fruit from touching the soil. Pick the fruit frequently to encourage new ones.

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  • Remember to apply mulches around all shrubs and trees to conserve moisture in the soil around them, regardless of the amount of rain which has fallen.

Happy Gardening !

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September in the Garden

As Margaret Atwood so finely put, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”, we couldn’t agree more! The birds are chirping, the days are getting longer (and warmer!) and it’s the perfect time to do a happy dance and get into the garden. Get up and garden!

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Trending – Gym in nature!

Giving yourself a good workout in the privacy of your own backyard is much nicer and cheaper than taking out a gym contract, and you don’t have to force your ‘love handles’ into unbecoming lycra!

While you are getting fitter and trimmer with pruning, weeding, composting, raking, digging, planting and mowing, your garden will reward your spent time and perspiration with lush growth and great harvests of flowers and edibles. Another advantage is that spending time outside in the sunshine and fresh air, has a positive influence on your psychological health as well – it relieves stress and depression too.

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Smart planting in September

Cape thatching reed (Elegia tectorum): This graceful restio specie is found from Clanwilliam in the Western Cape to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and naturally grows in moist, sandy dongas. The plant is, however, quite hardy against frost and dry conditions and will grow virtually anywhere. It is a fast grower with a rounded, tufted growth habit and can reach a mature size of about 1,5 m high, with a spread of 1,5m – 3m. The reed-like stems are dark green and smooth with dark brown bracts. Slender, compact flower spikes with brown bracts appear in autumn.   

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Vygies (Lampranthus) – amongst the many species with upright or trailing growth habits, there is a wide colour range which includes white, cream, pink, salmon, red, yellow, mauve and purple. Smother your dry zones or rock garden with vygies – few other plants can beat their spring splendour and   economical water usage!

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Osteospermums - The striking bold colours of this indigenous beauty clearly dispel all and any suggestions that indigenous gardens have to be dull, dreary and boring. Like other indigenous daisy-type flowers, Osteospermums require full sun for the flowers to fully open. As such they are ideal specimens for rockeries, borders and flower beds. They are also highly suited to container plantings, with the prostrate growing varieties performing well in hanging baskets.

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Dainthus Dash - Sweet William is an old-fashioned cottage garden plant. This selection from the Dash series is unusual because it acts as a long-lived perennial, instead of a biennial. It bears masses of showy clusters of fragrant ‘magical’ flowers that open white and mature to shades of pink and rose, late spring into summer. Excellent as a cut flower. Plants are easily divided in early autumn or spring. Remove fading flowers to encourage more buds to form. Prune plants back hard in midsummer if they become scruffy or floppy.

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Bedding Besties

Add bright colour to the hottest and sunniest spots in your garden with bedding Verbenas available in a wide colour range from soft pink, hot pink, purple to reds. These bushy little guys grow about 25cm high and wide. They love sandy, well-drained soil and regular water.

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Lawn questions:

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Q: Is spring a good time to lay a new instant lawn? And, to save on cost of the sods can it be laid in a checkerboard pattern?

A: Instant lawn can be laid in any season, but spring is the best time in colder regions. To lay the sods in a block pattern can save money, but if not done with care, will result in a very uneven lawn which will be expensive to fix. After laying the sods and tamping them down with a spade or wooden block, you need to fill the open spaces between them with a mix of fine compost and river sand, to the same level as the sods.

Q: Can one use ordinary garden soil as filling or for top dressing after spring scarifying an existing lawn?

A: Never use garden soil or so-called ‘topsoil’ as it can cause bad drainage or could be infested with dormant weed seed. Rather invest in lawn dressing.

 

Trees for life!

National Arbour Week is from 1 – 7 September which gives you seven official days to plant trees. One of the trees to plant in 2018 is the real yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius) which is also our National Tree. As this stately evergreen heritage tree with its neat growth habit and glossy green leaves becomes a very large tree, we suggest that you plant one in a roomy pot to use as a Christmas tree at the end of the year. We also recommend the following fruit trees for planting:

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Pomegranate ‘Wonderful’ (Punica granatum) is a leading cultivar with a resistance to adverse conditions and a high yield potential of huge blush red fruits. It is a small deciduous tree (2,5m high) for climates with cool winters and hot summers.

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Olive varieties – these hardy, but beautiful trees with their dull green leaves with the silver reverse, can tolerate very cold (and hot) temperatures and wind. Good varieties are ‘Manzanilla’ and ‘Mission’. Olive trees are not only functional but grow into really pretty shade trees that blend well within any planting scheme or garden design.

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Rose care for September

Fine tune roses for a spectacular flower flush next month. Pinch-prune about a third of the shoots, start increasing watering to at least twice a week. Fertilise again at the end of the month and spray fortnightly against pests and disease.

 

Pest patrol

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Our gogga of the month is the aphid. Symptoms of an aphid infestation include the appearance of colonies of aphids on young plant stems, leaves and buds, as well as honeydew on leaves and fruit, with black sooty mould, or yellowing leaves. Plant growth is stunted, leaves eventually die off due to sooty mould fungus, bud growth is prohibited, and the plant eventually dies. Eradicate biting and sucking insects like aphids, by spraying with a Cypermethrin every two weeks or use a seasonal soil drench with a systemic insecticide like Koinor

Patio and balcony living

Balconies and patios allow one to garden really intensely in small spaces.

  • Fill up roomy pots with bright, spring-flowering Azaleas and Barberton daisies.  

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  • Hang up hanging baskets with new petunia varieties in gaudy shades like Petunia ‘Baby Doll’ and ‘Night Sky’ – all new kids on the block!
  • Vertical gardening on a patio is a lot of fun. Recycle old wooden pallets and fill them with succulents, herbs, or colourful annuals.

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  • Paint one wall with the brightest shade you can handle and also some old clay pots with the same colour. Ask your handyman to make a few iron rings big enough to hold the painted pots, fix them to the wall, and fill them with pretty annuals in flower or a collection of succulents.  

 

Balcony DIY: Double-storey strawberries

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Buy two plastic or clay pots of different sizes. Fill the bottom, larger pot with good quality potting soil and a small handful of bone meal. Place the smaller pot, also filled with soil mix, inside the bigger pot on top of the soil and plant rooted strawberry runners in both. If you buy quality, fairly mature plants now, you will see that you can easily divide them into rooted runners to plant. This project will stretch your strawberry season deep into summer.    

To do list for September

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  • Start planting begonias and impatiens in shade and Sunpatiens in sun.
  • Start spraying fruit trees against fruit fly and codling moth once about 75% of the blossoms have dropped off. Spray every 10-14 days.
  • The blooming power of some tall-growing perennials, which are dormant in winter, can be increased by pinching out the main stems in spring when they start emerging again and are about 20cm high.
  • Berries of all kinds are good for your health and different varieties are readily available. To ensure a good crop, prepare beds by working soil over with a fork and adding in compost and a balanced fertiliser for fruit and flowers prior to planting.
  • You are not done with bulb-planting, as the summer-flowering bulbs are now on sale. Start planting coloured Zantedeschia hybrids and dahlias.   
  • Weed regularly before it gets out of hand. Treat weeds on paving, pathways and in gravelled areas with a non selective herbicide.

 

  • Top tips for using chemicals:
    • Never spray on a windy day for fear of drift
    • Always spray in early in the morning or late afternoon – never in the heat of the day

                                                                                                                                                        

Happy September Gardening!

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July in the Garden

July in the garden will be cold and dry, but winter can never be boring if we dip into our treasure chest of saucy succulents and splendid shrubs which are dressed in their best right now. So, let’s plant lots more!

Melt the ice with these hot sellers   

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Winter-flowering aloes like the trusty Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens) grows from sea level to the highest mountain tops and sets winter gardens alight with its bright orange-red flowers. Birds and bees adore the nectar-rich blooms too.

If you want to choose a very dramatic plant for a large container, choose the sculptural and very striking Tree aloe (Aloe barberae). This aloe is a perfect focal plant for the garden as well but, needs space to grow in as it can reach a height of 15m. Expect pink to orange flowers in winter. There are plentiful and pretty new aloe hybrids of all sizes to choose from as well. Enhance your aloe collection with other types of succulents like crassulas, kalanchoes and sedums, which are equally pretty now, even if not in flower. Their foliage colours intensify and with their strong structural forms, it is hard to ignore them in a winter garden.

 

Fine planting is fynbos!

Heritage plants like proteas and pincushions, are common nowadays, so do plant some of your own. In a natural habitat the members of the Proteaceae family grow in poor, well-draining soil with a low pH (slightly acidic – between 5 and 6). The plants prefer hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters, but many will grow well in summer rainfall areas too.

Bad drainage is a recipe for disaster, although some species and cultivars are more tolerant of heavy soil than others. Prepare the soil well by mixing in well compost and remember not to use fertilizer. Slightly raised beds or mounding of heavy soil will improve drainage and so will adding a little lime to break up the clay when preparing a planting place. You can also grow all of these plants in large containers. Protect with frost cloth if you are in an area which is affected by this

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Great balls of fire…
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Heavenly bamboos are available in many shapes and sizes, but if you need a foliage plant that can really create fiery winter colour, pick Nandina ‘Pygmaea’ which is a dwarf plant growing to about 50cm tall and wide. These plants are very cold-hardy and look fantastic if planted in bold groups as ground covers, as border plants in full sun or light shade, or in pots. They are absolutely problem-free to cultivate.

 

Bedding bestie

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Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is possibly the most loved garden annual. Although one can plant them throughout the year, they grow and flower much lusher in the cool seasons. They create much joy in the winter garden when combined with other cool season annuals like pansies, petunias and lobelias. All the alyssum varieties grow fast and have a compact size of 10cm to 15cm high and 20cm wide. They are perfect for bordering, (especially around roses), as filler plants in containers, window boxes and hanging baskets, and even between paving blocks. Alyssums like full sun to flower really well.

 

Rose care for July
In most areas, rose pruning is done during the last week of July, and the first week of August. Gardeners who approach this task with trepidation can relax, as rose pruning is basically the removal of dead wood and weak and old twiggy stems, in order to attain a neat and pleasing shape, to open up space for new stems to grow, and to cut back to a desired height.

After you have completed the pruning process, dig in the old mulch layer and freshly added compost into the soil around the bushes, feed with a Vigorosa, renew the layer of mulch afterwards and water deeply.

 

Pruning to do 

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Deciduous fruit trees, like peaches, apples, plums and apricots, can also be pruned now.

 

Lawn Matters

  • Take all lawn-mowing equipment for a proper service and refitting of new blades.
  • Spend the time enhancing the shape of your lawn by correcting awkward shapes and fixing damaged edges. You might want to build a neat brick edge to frame a formal lawn, or to think about adding another form of edging between the lawn and flower beds.

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It’s lawn dressing time in 2-3 weeks so don’t let time catch up on you!

 

Cool ideas with pot plants

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Fill your house with all kinds of houseplants to keep you company in winter. Some plants will, for instance, clean the air. Besides, being surrounded by them, leaves one with a sense of well-being and calm. Using indoor plants is also the affordable and easy way to give any room a quick new look.    

  • Fill an empty corner in a large room with something big and bold like a bamboo palm or Ficus tree. They like bright light.
  • Add pizazz to the fireplace with succulents like echeverias, haworthias, house leeks (Sempervivum), Echinocactus, or foliage plants like the radiator plant (Peperomia). These plants like a warm atmosphere, bright, indirect light, and very little water.
  • Add greenery to a home office. Plants like peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) and the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium) clean the air and neutralise secondhand smoke. They prefer bright, indirect light, medium water, but a humid atmosphere.
  • Create a green corner on a table near a window with a collection of pretty houseplants to potter around with all winter. Display them in all kinds of containers. A good choice for low light is Aglaonema‘Silver Queen’, ‘mother-in-law’s tongue ‘(Sansevieria), peace lily and bird’s nest fern.

Hot tip: Display indoor plants close to where you work, sit or sleep to get the most advantage from their air cleansing capabilities

 

Create new paths

This is the best time to access the “bones” or structure of your garden in terms of pathways and access to different areas. Widen pathways that are being taken over by the encroaching garden, by adding more pavers. Add a “secret” pathway into very deep beds – this also assists tremendously with maintenance of the garden. Add pavers and a bench as a special feature.

Hot tip: When laying any pavers, make sure you use weedguard and river sand under the pavers.

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Pesky pests!  

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Cochineal is a sap-sucking insect that feeds on cacti, aloes and prickly pear plants. Feeding causes discoloration of plants and swelling around the area which has been fed on. The plant’s outer pieces eventually start to die, leaving it with only bare, woody stems. Spray with a mixture of Oleum and Malathion.

Cochineal should be controlled when they lay their eggs in October and again in February. It is easily confused with lookalike mealybug and that has become more and more of a problem on roses, other small shrubs and plants, especially during these past long periods of droughts. They are more easily visible in July and should be brushed off and then sprayed with a bio-oil based insecticide at double the recommended concentration.

 

Bird Business

Attracting birds to the garden has become a big hobby even in the heart of big cities. Visit our Feathered friends department where you can buy bird feeders, bird food, bird baths, nesting logs, and all other kinds of related products.

Top bird attracting trees which supply either nectar or fruit (or both) to plant now, include: Weeping Boer Bean (Schotia brachypetala), Acacia thorn trees, wild peach (Kiggelaria africana) and coral tree species (Erythrina).  

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Checklist for July

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  • You can break up heavy clay soil by digging in a dressing of agricultural lime. Ailing lavenders and clematis will also benefit from a small dose of lime in winter and adding a light dose to irises and stocks will promote good flowering in spring.  
  • In the cutflower garden, you will be able to pick the first bunches of sweet smelling stocks and sweetpeas. Keep on picking, to invite more flowers.
  • Feed citrus with VITA 3:1:5 and water well.
  • Protect cold-sensitive vegetables like lettuce, celery and parsley from winter frosts with frost guard.
  • Fill up your rock garden and the openings in cement retaining walls with pelargoniums in different colours. These plants are ideal to add colour to hot and sunny places like these.
  • Conifers grow actively in cooler months and can be lightly pruned to shape them neatly. Never cut into old wood, rather just shave off healthy foliage and growing tips with sharp secateurs or a hedge clipper – this will result in fresh growth

Happy Gardening !

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Awards

We are so proud to announce that Greener Tidings was awarded the BEST GARDEN CENTRE IN SA!

We were also awarded with the following:
-       1st place – Best Inspirational Displays
-       2nd place – Best Food gardening department
-       3rd place – Best staff
-       Best Retailer in Limpopo

Our team is super excited and we would like to thank you, our loyal gardeners for all your support during the year!

Contact us

015-296 0303
082 908 7510 (Premicel)

Greener Tidings Garden Centre,
Erf 7421
2 Knottrox Ave
Bendor ext 115
Polokwane
0699

Business Hours:
Mondays-Saturdays: 8am-5pm
Sundays: 9am-1pm
Public holidays: 9am-5pm