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March in the Garden

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Happy autumn and a merry March, maintenance month! It’s time to prepare those beds for some annual autumn planting and sow them seeds for the new season. Get busy in the garden and give your seedlings a nutritious head start.

You should work in about 3 to 5cm of compost into the soil, as well as, a handful of bonemeal or superphosphate per square metre. This will ensure that plants have all the nutrition they require to get off to a great start. Give your soil nutrients so that the plants in your garden have the ability to become strong and healthy. Use a general fertilizer like a 2:3:2 or one that contains more potassium such as 8:1:5.

  

What to Sow

Autumn means it’s time to start sowing winter and spring flowering annual seeds. Some of our favourites to sow now are:

Sweet Peas: Their seductive fragrance in the garden or as cut-flowers in the home is like no other. The seed is generally available in mixed colours, which are a gorgeous mix of mostly pastel colours, for both dwarf and climbing varieties. The climbing Sweet Peas will need a sunny spot with supports to climb up – like a trellis, fence or an arch. Sweet peas will be happiest with their roots are in cool, moist soil, so it is a good idea to plant low-growing annuals in front of them to keep the roots shaded, mulching will also work well. The secret to fabulous Sweet peas starts with the soil preparation. Dig over a trench of soil, next to the supports, to the depth of a garden fork and add plenty of compost and preferably manure too. Add a handful of bonemeal or superphosphate per square metre, also sprinkle a handful of Dolomitic or Agricultural lime per running metre and dig it in. If possible, use a pencil to make holes and drop them in at the correct depth, then close them up to shut out the light. Keep the area well watered.

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Tips: Soak the seeds in water overnight before planting to soften the seed covering. Sow at about 2 weekly intervals for a longer-lasting show of flowers. To encourage bushy growth, cut off the tips of plants only when they are about 15 to 20cm tall (and not sooner). Don’t forget to feed your plants regularly.

Pansies: Are a winter and spring flowering favourite for the sun. Their colourful blooms are available in a wide range of single and bi-colours. They can be used as massed flower borders, in pots and window boxes or as fillers between spring-flowering bulbs. Pansies typically have large and medium-sized blooms while their smaller flowering “cousins” Violas have dainty little flowers. The larger flowers are showy and suited close to entertainment areas or pathways. The medium-sized Pansies and Violas often have more flowers and are a hit when used as a massed display in the garden.

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Primulas: Fairy Primroses, (Primula malacoides), are still a favourite for winter and spring flowering colour in the shade. They have dainty, tiered flowers and are available in white, lavender, rose, pink and a darker pink/purple. White primulas will brighten up shady patches the most and show up well in the evening. A plus is that fairy primroses are self-seeding.  

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Sow, sow & sow: Calendulas, (Calendula officinalis) have edible “petals” that look super sprinkled on winter soups. Iceland poppies are available in stunning mixed colours – choose cultivars with strong stems for windy gardens. A few others include; alyssum, Livingstone daisy, godetia, schizanthus, stocks and snapdragons for the sun and lobelia for semi-shade and foxglove ‘Foxy’ for semi-shade to shade. (Tip: Before sowing always check the sowing time on the back of the seed packets for your region’s best sowing months).

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What to Plant

Garlic: There is nothing better than cooking with fresh produce from the garden and Garlic bulbs are available in garden centres at this time of year. Simply prepare a sunny bed with compost and a plant starter and plant the individual cloves about 10 to 15cm apart and about 3 to 5 cm deep, making sure that the pointy side faces upwards. If your soil has poor drainage then plant them in raised beds or even containers. Garlic wards off many pests with its pungent smell and is, therefore, a great addition to any veggie garden. (Garlic is not well suited to very humid, hot areas of the country).

Pelargoniums: Bush geraniums, (Pelargonium x hortorum), and ivy or cascading geraniums, (Pelargonium peltatum), are still some of the “jewels in the crown” of our indigenous plants even though they have been heavily hybridized. Geraniums are one of the most rewarding garden plants and are ideally planted in containers on your patio in a sunny to semi-shade position. Geraniums love to be moist but not wet. Give them a weak but regular, (preferably weekly), liquid feeding.

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What to Spray – to protect your happy place

Amaryllis caterpillar/worm: Keep a lookout for wilting leaves or flowers on any of the lilies like arum lilies, amaryllis, agapanthus and clivias. Inspect the plants by pulling the leaves open to reveal the “middle” of the plant above the bulb - the Amaryllis worm is normally easily spotted in this area if they are the culprit. They may be between the epidermal layers of the leaves or openly chewing close to the base of the leaves and flower stalks. The base of the leaves will also become slimy, smelly and pulpy.

White grubs: The adult chafer beetles lay their eggs in the lawn and the grubs that hatch feed on the lawn roots and underground stems. The lawn or leaf blades start to wither and die in patches. If you want to confirm your suspicions, you should be able to easily pull up pieces of lawn and see the large, fat white grubs curled up in a c-shape

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What to Pick

Roses: Roses are prized cut flowers. Hybrid tea roses have the longest stems and are great for picking, especially when a long stalk is preferred. Fragrant roses add that extra sensory dimension too.

Inca lilies, (or Peruvian lily): Also known by their botanical name of Alstroemeria, Inca lily blooms are best harvested by firmly holding the flowering stem close to the base and twisting the stem as you pull it upwards. This will help the detach the flower from the underground stem and promote further growth and flowering.

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Bedding besties for March

Snapdragons: Most snapdragons, (Antirrhinum majus), are either slightly or moderately scented which is great if you like to cut flowers from the garden or one can place them close to the home. Snapdragons love the sun and varieties range from tall, (over 60cm tall which may require staking), or as short as 15cm for the dwarf ones, and come in a range of beautiful colours and colour mixes. They are long-lasting in the garden and will grow through our mild winters and flower into spring.

Blooming babes

Calibrachoa: This is a trendy treasure that has yet to be discovered by many gardeners, calibrachoa, (Petunia ‘ Goodnight Kiss'). This is a trailing plant, that gets covered in hundreds of small bell-shaped flowers that are quite dazzling. They are the first choices for planting in containers and hanging baskets for gardeners that have had them before. Although sun-loving, in very hot areas they will do better in a semi-shade. They are available right now in shades of violet, blue, pink, red, magenta, yellow, bronze and white as instant colour plants in pots and hanging baskets. They can be pinched back for a time to time to encourage bushy growth and more flowers. 

Tip: Feed calibrachoa with a liquid fertiliser regularly to encourage healthy growth and flowering.

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Rose care

Roses are simply spectacular in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into the winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their eaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilize with rose food. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.

Water-wise  

One of the best ways to save water in the garden is to hydro-zone the plants in your garden. Hydro-zoning means that you position plants in the garden, or in containers, according to their water requirements so that we do not use any more water in any hydro-zone than the plants positioned there require. We, therefore, group all plants that like the most water together and these are commonly known by your garden centre staff as 3 drop plants, those that require a medium amount of water 2 drop plants and the water-wise, low water requirement plants as 1 drop plants. Where possible keep the 3 drop zone to a minimum – perhaps around a swimming pool or entertainment area, and in the same way make the 1 drop zone the largest area of your planted garden, (since paved areas effectively constitute a 0 drop zone). There is no better time to start than today – have fun and save our precious water.

Lift and divide

Its time to lift and divide summer flowering perennials. Here are some examples of the most common ones: agapanthus, wild iris, (Dietes bicolour and Dietes grandiflora), penstemon, campanulas and asters. Most perennials start to decline in vigour from being too close to one another after several seasons of pushing fresh outward growth and therefore require division, (normally only once in 3 to 5 years), to “refresh their vigour or growth. Simply cut the foliage back by about two thirds, lift them carefully form the soil and then divide them by hand or by using two garden forks, (back to back). Split up into fresh, healthy-looking clumps and plant them in well-prepared soil that has compost and a plant starter so that good root growth is initiated. Water well.

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Happy Gardening

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Spring brings new beginnings

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September is here – the sun is getting warmer, and our gardens are showing new signs of life.

Spring is the perfect time to look at your garden with fresh eyes, make some changes and plan for the summer months ahead. 

 

Arbor week

The 1st to the 7th of September is national Arbor week in South Africa - a time when South Africans of all ages are encouraged to celebrate the beauty and importance of trees.

The trees of the year for 2019 are Common Tree of The Year: Sclerocarya birrea Marula Maroela. Rare (Uncommon) Tree of The Year: Philenoptera violacea Apple-leaf, Appelblaar. 

The month of September is the perfect time to plant an indigenous tree in your gardens - at home, office parks, and schools – especially as we are currently losing many of our trees to the invasive Shothole Borer.

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What to Sow

During summer months, having fresh salad supplies ready to pick from your garden is a win! September is the time to sow lettuce, spring onion and tomato seeds, ready for your summer salads.  

  • Lettuce can be grown in a sunny garden bed. Most varieties are quick and easy to grow and produce a harvest within a month or two.  The loose-leafed varieties are the most practical because you can harvest the individual leaves for up to three months before replanting. Others, like the butterhead or iceberg, are picked when the heads form, so it’s best to sow seed at 3–4 weekly intervals to have a constant supply. Use a fertile, well-draining soil medium and space about 30cm apart to allow for good air circulation. Keep the soil evenly moist at all times — drought stress can cause a bitter taste. 
  • Spring Onion can be grown in sun or partial shade and prefer rich soil with compost dug in. Space seeds 10cm apart. 

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What to Plant

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A perfect plant to fill your shaded gardens with bright, long-lasting colour in summer is Impatients.  The new Beacon Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) offers high resistance to downy mildew and won’t collapse due to this destructive disease. For lasting colour plant your Impatients in fertile, well-drained soil in shade or partial sun. Beacon Impatiens are also great for baskets, window boxes, and containers, but will need a steady supply of water. 

What to Spray
You know that spring has arrived when you smell the Jasmine and see the orange blaze as the indigenous Clivia’s start to emerge from their buds. Watch out for the lily borer in your Clivia’s. The caterpillar and their larvae damage the stems and leaves and if left untreated will cause a lot of damage. If you see any traces of larvae or damage to the plant, apply contact insecticide every two weeks to control.

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What to Feed

Rejuvenate your lawn in September by applying a lawn dressing - a mixture of well-balanced organic matter and weed-free soil. A thin layer should be spread on established lawns to level an uneven surface or help a lawn recover after an icy winter. It would help if you also replenished nutrients by adding a nitrogen-rich fertiliser. 

What to Prune

Maintenance is the heart of gardening, and September is an excellent time to get in there with some pinching, deadheading, and pruning.  Your flower garden will be healthier and lusher and will stay in bloom throughout the season. Most flowers benefit from having their spent flowers removed. This is called deadheading. Flowers that repeat-bloom will often do so only if the old, dying flowers are removed. If the dead flowers remain on the plant, they will go to seed, and the plant will stop producing flowers. 

Some plants have very crisp, thin stems and can be deadheaded using your fingers. This type of deadheading is called pinching. Some plants that can be pinched include daylilies, salvia, and coleus. Coleus are grown for their foliage, not their flowers. Pinching off the flowers encourages the plants to become bushier and fuller.

Rose Care
From the middle of September, you should pinch prune your Hybrid Tea roses. This encourages new basal growth, green leaves and root development. It spreads out the flowering cycle so that there is an almost continual supply of roses instead of one or two main flushes. Pinch –prune about a third of the shoots. Increase watering to at least twice a week and fertilise fortnightly.  

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Watch out for aphids, thrips, bollworm and powdery mildew. To be effective, the spraying of roses for the control of pests and diseases needs to be carried out properly and with the correct understanding of both the pest and the applicable pesticides. One does get a canola oil, based pesticide combined with a systemic action fungicide which is a certified organic option.

Checklist for the month

  • With the rainy season upon us, ensure that your rainwater harvesting systems are set up and connected correctly.  Clean out your gutters to ensure proper water run-off and to make sure your collected rainwater is as clean as possible. 
  • Get your summer herb garden planted with these easy to grow summer herbs: Thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, basil, rocket, parsley and mint.
  • Get Weeding -Weed regularly before it gets out of hand. Treat weeds on paving, pathways and in gravelled areas with a non-selective herbicide.
  • Plant your summer-flowering bulbs- Arum Lilies and Calla Lilies (Coloured Zantedeschia hybrids)- plant your Zantedeschia bulbs at the beginning of spring, around 4 - 5cm’s deep. Space bulbs 30 to 40 cm apart, because Zantedeschia has wide-reaching leaves and needs space. Choose a location that is in full sun but stays cool. Don’t plant in very dry soil. Dahlias (Dahlia pinnata). 2019 is the Year of the Dahlia! These colourful, spiky, daisy-like flowers bloom from midsummer right through the first frost.  Select a planting site with full sun as they will blooms more with 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. They love the morning sunlight best. Choose a location with a bit of protection from the wind. Dahlias thrive in rich, well-drained slightly acidic soil.

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  • Get Pruning- Now is an excellent time to prune your Hibiscus, Poinsettia and other winter-flowering shrubs. Pruning your Hibiscus will help stimulate budding on new shoots. It also rejuvenates the plant after their long winter nap while encouraging them to maintain an attractive appearance and healthy, vigorous growth. The flowers of the Poinsettia have actually modified leaf structures called bracts. Once these have wilted and begun to die off, the Poinsettia requires a thorough pruning. Poinsettias may also require some trimming throughout the growing season to remain full and healthy.
  • Plant these Beauties to add some colour- Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are commonly grown for their bright and cheerful daisy-like flowers. They are indigenous to South Africa and come in various sizes and colours including pink, yellow, salmon, orange and white. Gerberas are best planted as seedlings, rather than seeds. This is because the flower resulting from seed may not reflect the colour expected and take far longer to flower. They prefer full sun with relatively sandy soils that are well-drained. None of the stems should be planted under the soil as it will rot, and the plant will die. Do not water them too often, as the soil should not become saturated. They can be grown in pots or containers too. They do well in the heat but do not handle the cold well.

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Happy Spring gardening everyone!

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July in the Garden

Baby, it's cold outside, but that doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. There are several plants that thrive in the cooler months and can transform your garden into a winter wonderland. Others are a little more delicate but shouldn’t be left to the last minute to plant if you’re wanting to enjoy a beautiful spring garden filled with flowers showing their colourful faces to the sun. So get into your (flower) beds and garden this winter and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labour.

Flowering this month

While many plants shy away from harsh winter conditions, the African Daisy (Arctotis) is a hardy plant that boasts beautiful large and colourful daisy-like flowers that range from pink to red, yellow and burnt orange. These evergreen flowers, which have been said to look like an African sunset, are real sun worshippers, opening only when they are in bright sunlight.

If you're looking for low maintenance flowers that add beautiful bursts of colour, then you will love the Treasure Flower (Gazanias). These water-wise plants require minimal watering and grow best in full sun. With their bright flowers, which range from bronze, orange, yellow, red, deep pink and mahogany, they can be added to flower beds or rockery to add colour to the garden for most of the year. Because they require minimal water, they grow well in drought-stricken areas too.

The Aloe Twice as Nice’s delightful two-toned pink to creamy white flowers make it a beautiful addition to the garden. This small aloe is well suited for smaller gardens and containers for added colour on patios.

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What to spray

For those living in warmer climates Persian Buttercups (Ranunculus) may start to flower as early as July. Those living in cooler climates may need to wait until September to enjoy these beautiful, rose-like blossoms that are available in an array of bright colours. Whether you are lucky enough to be enjoying these beautiful flowers in July or waiting patiently for Spring, be sure to spray with a suitable fungicide to prevent mildew from growing on the leaves. 

What to plant

For beautiful show-stopping gardens in the spring, the time to start gardening is now. For bursts of colour in the early spring, you can't go wrong with the Daisy Bush (Argyranthemum). These easy-to-grow plants grow best in full sun and moderately fertile garden soil with good drainage. They will flower from spring until the first signs of frost and will bloom all year in areas with no frost.

Another low maintenance plant to plant now is the Cape Thatching Reed (Elegia tectorum). These hardy plants can withstand frost and drought well and adapt to most climates. Their bold architectural shape makes them an attractive addition to any garden. Plant in full sun and remove brown decaying culms and enjoy the golden-brown flower spikes in autumn, they will be well worth the wait. 

Agapanthus ‘Zambezi' is like the gift that just keeps giving. These fast-growing plants with prolific dark blue flowers are fantastic re-bloomers that flower from early summer to late summer. Plant in a sunny spot with well-drained soil and enjoy these flowers every year. 

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What to Prune

This is a good time to transplant roses if necessary. It's also the best time to prune your rose bushes. After pruning be sure to feed your roses, dig compost into the rose beds, spray bare stems to kill insect and fungal spores and water your roses once a week.

July is the perfect time for you to pick and enjoy the citrus fruits that you have been growing. While you may not need to use all the fruits at once, you can keep young citrus trees lightly covered with frost protection fleece to protect the tree and its fruits to enjoy when ready. Once you have picked all the citrus fruit, prune the tree and remove any dead branches to prepare for more fruit next winter. This is also the time to prepare for spring fruits so prune your trees bearing soft fruits, such as plums and peaches, now to get the best quality fruit from your trees. 

Plant some Strawberry plants now and enjoy eating strawberries in the spring. This fruit is easy to grow in full sun, fertile, well-drained soil. Mulch can also be helpful to protect the plant from mould and keep weeds at bay. Cover your plant with a light netting at the first sight of strawberries. Make sure that light can get in thought so that the strawberries continue to grow. 

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What to sow

With Spring around the corner, this is a good time to start planting to enjoy fresh salads. Sow early crops of herbs and vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, beetroot and radishes as well as parsley and garlic chives.

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Be water-wise

As most of the country experiences a dry winter, it is especially important to be water-wise while enjoying your garden. Some plants are better at withstanding the drier months and gardens across the country stand to benefit from planting some of these beautiful plants that mostly require full sun and minimal water.

  • Aloe Orange Delight(Aloe arborescens) this easy to grow Aloe boasts beautiful orange flowers on long inflorescences. Plant it in a sunny or semi-shaded spot, water moderately and enjoy the delightful orange flowers between June and August.
  • Aloe Firechief CharlesWith its fiery red flowers, these aloes add beautiful colour to a winter garden. They are easy to grow in rich, well-drained soil and full sun.  
  • Bird-of-Paradise(Strelitzia reginae) boasting beautiful orange and blue crane like flowers, these plants are a great focal point for any garden. While they can be drought resistant, they thrive in subtropical regions with summer rainfalls.

Water-wise plants are a dream to have in the garden throughout the year. They require very little and at the same time add splashes of colour to the garden. If you're looking for low maintenance gardening, you can't go wrong with water-wise plants.  Visit us for select flowering plants and all your garden essentials to turn your garden into an instant winter wonderland.

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Feed the birds this month

The cold winter months bring several challenges for birds. In particular, food and water can be scarce. During this time you can help attract these feathery friends to your garden with brightly coloured flowers, bird baths and bird feeds. Birds are attracted to bright flowers, fruits, insects and water. Add a bird bath and feeding station to your garden and you will be sure to have a variety of birds visiting your garden this winter. Put out some suet and meat-based foods to feed insect-eating birds along with some seeds, over-ripe fruit and peanut butter to attract a wider range of birds. 

As an alternative to a bird bath, you could add a running water feature to attract the birds and add a focal point to your garden. Many of the most beautiful gardens include running water features that convert the garden to a tranquil haven. Winter is the ideal time to start working on your water feature to have it ready for the spring when most flowers will start to bloom.


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Happy gardening !

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March in the garden

Early autumn is like an alternative spring and March is actually the best month to plant new trees and shrubs. It’s logical – whatever you plant in this temperate month, will have the whole autumn and winter to establish before bursting into new growth in spring, which removes the possibility of the plants having to deal with replanting shock. So, get to it – get in the garden!

Trendy planting… 
Be part of changing the face of gardening by planting trialed and tested, hardy plants which need less water.

  • Social garlic The hardy and easy-to-grow social or wild garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) has always been a popular indigenous perennial. Grown for its bountiful mauve flower clusters on tall stems, its greyish-green strap-like leaves emit a garlicky odour. Flowers, leaves and stems are edible and can be used for their flavour, as well as garnish. Wild garlic has traditionally been used as a medicinal plant, and is also planted to deter snakes and aphids. It is a water wise plant to include in the herb garden, or to be used in mass as border plants
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  • Dreamy hibiscus– a superior selection of upright, mounding and free-flowering hibiscus marketed under the brand name HibisQs, is just waiting to be planted. The foliage is dark green and glossy, and the flowers vary from yellow (Boreas yellow), two-tone pink and white (Adonicus), two-tone orange and yellow (Apollo), bright orange (Arionicus) and apricot (Adonicus Apricot). Most of the flowers have dark coloured throats. This is a series of late summer-flowering shrubs to plant in sunny and light shade in containers on a patio or balcony, or in the garden. Medium to low water usage in the garden, but will need a little more in pots.

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National Plant a Flower Day 2019
Folks in the Northern hemisphere plant a flower on this day (12 March) in the hope that their spring will arrive soon. South Africans enjoying a balmy, early autumn and sun for months to come, will go all out with the Salvia Heatwave series – compact salvias guaranteed to add heart-warming colour in hot, and dry climates. You will enjoy lots of flowers for minimal water, minimal feeding, and minimal pruning!     

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Rose care for March

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Build healthy leaves by fertilising with a rose fertiliser this month. With lots of leaves present, the process of photosynthesis remains in full swing, strengthening the plants’ stems for fast spring sprouting, but also to enable it to flower magnificently on new stems, well into winter.

Remember: Early autumn is a perfect time to plant new roses, so jump to it!

 

Bedding besties  
March is a bit early for the traditional winter annuals, but a perfect time to plant the hardy and adaptable Verbenas, Lobelias, Alyssums, Dianthus and Petunias. They will enjoy the last heat of summer, as well as cooler weather when autumn really arrives.  

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Bug watch
It’s time to start treating conifers against the Italian cypress aphid. Use a systemic insecticide as a spray or soil drench. Continue Treating every two weeks until the end of August

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Put your pooch onto a healthy herb diet
There is a reason why dogs sometimes eat grass. It alleviates some digestive discomfort. Animals like dogs have an instinctive herbal knowledge, but probably don’t know the difference between kikuyu or other grass types, and safe dog grass (Agrospyron canina). At the herbs stand, you will find dog (and cat) grass. Plant up a patch of it for your dog to munch on.

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The following well-known herbs can be used regularly and in small doses over your pet’s food:

  • For digestive supportuse rosemary, thyme, fennel, mint and coriander.
  • For worms and parasitesuse yarrow, thyme and oregano – add to food weekly.
  • For arthritis and inflammationuse feverfew, comfrey leaves, Asiatic pennywort (gotu kola), celery, parsley and yarrow.
  • For a tonicuse parsley, comfrey leaves, pennywort, borage and yarrow.
  • For skin care(internal or topical) use calendula, thyme, chamomile and lavender.
  • For flea protectionstuff a pillow with pennyroyal, rosemary, tansy and pyrethrum and place it in the doggy bed or kennel. You can also make an infused spray with these herbs.
  • Internal use

Use small amounts of chopped herbs as a sprinkle over food or brew a tea by adding between 1t and 1T to a cup of boiled water. Cool down and pour over food.

  • External use

Brew a tea of the suggested herbs for skin ailments, cool down, and fill a spray bottle with it. Spray the affected area regularly until symptoms improve.

 

Checklist for March

  • Sow sweet peas, Iceland poppies, Primula, Foxgloves, hollyhock and larkspur. Follow the instructions on the seed packets closely.
  • Dig and prepare planting holes for new deciduous fruit trees
  • If you notice that water is simply running off the surface of the soil, leaving the soil beneath bone dry, you need to add more compost. Do not dig it in, simply layer it on top.  
  • Feed all shrubs and the lawn with a potassium-rich fertiliser, to strengthen the cells and stems before winter comes.

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Happy gardening

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January in your garden

Another new year, and there are 365 gardening days ahead so let’s get to it, and get up and garden!  

Smart planting    

  • ‘Kaleidoscope’is a dwarf Abelia grandiflorahybrid (70 x 90cm) with ever-changing foliage. The new growth in spring is bright yellow around the edges with light green in the centre of the leaves. In summer, the brightyellow changes to golden yellow, and the centre of the leaf turns deep green. In autumn, the yellow turns bright orange, and by winter it burns a fiery red. With its compact growth, ‘Kaleidoscope’ is the perfect feature plant for small gardens and is guaranteed to give you years of joy. Abelias are frost and cold hardy, fairly wind resistant, and they grow well in coastal gardens.
  • Little leaf boxwood (Buxus microphylla‘Faulkner’) is a tough, evergreen shrub. This compact, upright growing plant with its dense coat of oval-shaped, bright green leaves (which sometimes have a coppery sheen) is a much-loved container, hedge or topiary plant. It likes full sun to light shade, regular water and will flourish in cold, frosty gardens, as well as the hottest and windiest gardens at the coast.
  • ‘Little Ruby’ (Alternanthera dentata LRU30) is a perfect, mounding ground cover with a compact habit and trendy deep burgundy foliage with ruby red reverse. This plant loves humidity, but can also tolerate frost better than other Alternantheras. Plant it in sheltered areas if there is a danger. Good for full sun and light shade. Mature plant size ± 35 x 60cm.

Most unwelcome…Flies!

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One of summer’s least welcome critters is flies which can spread dreadful diseases far and wide. Consider the following ideas to curb the problem:

  • Home hygiene– the rotting fruit bowl, uncovered cooked food and dirty dishes in the kitchen will attract them. So will overflowing garbage bins with lids which do not close tightly. Keep a neat kitchen and wash all fresh produce properly before eating. Empty garbage bins regularly, and wash them every time with a strong disinfectant to kill off lurking fly maggots.
  • Garden hygiene– regularly remove rotting fruit and vegetables lying on the ground and pick up dog poop on the lawn every day. Consider a commercial composter to turn garden waste into compost, a worm farm to recycle things like vegetable peels into worm tea, and a tight-sealing bokashi bin to ferment all material like cooked food, safely and without emanating odours. Clear out anything that can hold standing water like the wheelbarrow. Leaving standing water around can also invite mosquitoes to breed.
  • Use repellent herbs– fill up pots on your patio, at the backdoor, and even on a sunny kitchen windowsill with herbs like rosemary, lavender, mint, lemongrass and basil. Flies do not like them. You can also buy essential oils extracted from these herbs. Mix with a little water in a spray bottle and spritz your rooms frequently.
  • Use pyrethrinbased insecticides as fly repellents. Pyrethrin originates from chrysanthemum flowers and is biodegradable – it breaks down on exposure to light or oxygen.     

Trending: From table to garden

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If you are planning to hold a summer fiesta and need something bright to decorate your table, pick up some floriferous specimens out of the bright ‘Conga’ range of mini petunias (Calibrachoa), with a naturally compact habit which is perfect for pots. The flowers surround the plants to such an extent that one can hardly see the foliage. Keep them in bright light and when the festivities are over, pop them in a hanging basket or another container, for a long-lasting and rewarding display.

Other plants which are perfect for festive occasions and quite willing to grow indoors, are ornamental chillies which are grown for their looks rather than their flavour.   

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Bedding bestie
The Vinca ‘Pacifica’ series is a mounded but compact and uniformly growing range of annuals with shiny, green foliage. It has bright flowers which are larger than other varieties, and can be found in a wide array of colours: apricot, blush, cherry, orange, deep orchid, pink, red, white, white with a red eye and mixed colours. The plant grows up to 20-35cm high and spreads to 15-20cm wide. Easy to grow and an excellent, low water, heat tolerant choice.

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New Year resolutions to keep  
Harvest and recycle every drop of water. This means rainwater harvesting tanks, the use of bath and washing water and even garden ponds, to use as an auxiliary water source.

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Some quick water-saving tips include:

  1. Repair leaking taps and hose-pipes
  2. Fix your borehole and install a water wise irrigation system
  3. Replace damaged hose fittings (they really don’t cost much!)
  4. Water deeply and less frequently
  5. Schedule watering to take place in the early morning or in the evening
  6. Override computerised sprinkler systems after and during rains
  7. For specific areas planted up with perennials, shrubs and roses, use a soaker hose rather than a sprinkler. Less water is required because the water is concentrated on the soil nearer the roots and there is less evaporation.

Rose care for January

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  • Keep them foliated as densely as you can, to keep the inside of the plants shaded. Do this by spraying regularly and preventatively against black spot, rust, mildew and red spider mites.
  • If your roses have become oversized – too tall and wide – attend to a summer pruning or grooming.
  • Study your roses. If the leaves are a bleak light green colour, they need rose fertiliser. Bad performance can mean that the roots are too dry, or robbed of food and water by other plants’ roots.

January Checklist

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  • Don’t allow evergreen hedges and topiaries to grow out of shape. Keep them neat by trimming them lightly, but often.
  • Feed fruit trees like mangoes, avocados and lemons.
  • Be aware that stagnant water in bromeliads is a breeding place for mosquitoes.
  • Nip out the growing tips of Chrysanthemums and Poinsettias, to encourage bushy growth.
  • Best pals: Dahlias and roses complement each other, because they enjoy the same growing conditions. Add a bright border of bedding Dahlias to hide the bare stems of large rose bushes. You will find them in full flower in seedling trays now.

 

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