Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’
Iboza riparia (nutmeg bush)
Mexican Daisy (Montanoa)
Kniphofia (Red hot pokers)
Schauria Miss Milly
Knifofia 'winter Cheer'
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN JUNE:
Red Hot Pokers Knifofia are looking great now and are just glowing. They are much loved by the birds for their nectar as are Aloes which have similar torch like flowers. Both do very well in a dry situation and will form a nice clump if left. The Red Hot Pokers will seed and form a nice clump spreading to a metre or more, whereas the Aloes will branch out and form ‘pups’ at the base.
The cool nights and hot days have coloured up the leaves of the crepe myrtles Lagerstroemia indica and Liquid amber beautifully and it is lovely to see brilliant red in the garden. It is the high difference between night and day temperatures that produce the colour in the leaves. The Lagerstroemia speciosa goes yellow before losing its leaves and the hybrid Japanese varieties are best for the red leaf colours.
The MEXICAN TREE DAISY (Montanoa bipinnatifida) adds drama with its huge white daisy blossoms. Although it is call a tree it only gets to about 2 -3 metres tall and a metre or so wide. It should be pruned back after flowering but don’t be in a hurry to cut them back as the lime green seeds which are produced straight after flowering are just as lovely as the flowers and stay on the plants for ages before turning black. This is the cue to cut them back by about two thirds. I have never had any of the seeds germinate in the garden. To propagate more of these beautiful shrubs, cut the thicker canes into 30cm lengths and place them into pots and keep moist. The rest of the cuttings can be put through the mulcher for compost.
COLOURFUL WINTER PLANTS
The pink DOMBEYA (Dombeya calantha) are the stars of my garden in June regardless of weather conditions and the drier the conditions the more they seem to flower. Like most Dombeyas, the flowers are in bunches and are bell shaped. They flower for several months and when their flower bracts turn brown, even that doesn’t detract. It is hard to say whether they are a tree or a shrub, as they are as wide as they are high and their branches are close to the ground so it is hard to grow anything underneath them. They are not deciduous but they do lose their leaves during a dry period which are best raked up and put under the trees as mulch; so you could say they are self-mulching. They are not easy to propagate which could be the reason you don’t see them in many nurseries. Dombeyas are best propagated by layering and because the branches are close to the ground, you can initiate the layering yourself by pegging down a branch onto the soil and covering it with mulch.
Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, Phalaenopsis, Hardcane Dendrobiums and Zygopetalums are all bursting with colour, perfume and emerging spikes to be enjoyed and anticipated. The Cymbidum spikes will need to be staked and it is best to put these in when you see the flower spike. In a pot a bamboo stake will be sufficient, but in the garden I use the heavier tomato stakes. There are few pests at this time and watering is at is minimum so orchids really can be displayed and enjoyed.
A WALL OF YELLOW ROSES
Jim asked me again…did I see the wall of yellow wall of roses at a garden that we were visiting in the beautiful region of Stellenbosch in South Africa in 2018. I didn’t think any more about it until we returned home and I noticed that 3 of the biggest of my Crepescule Roses were in full flower. I had placed them in the garden in front of the verandah on the north side of the house. These three roses had tripods to hold them up but were not really successful because the tripods were of light aluminium.
‘We could put a wall of mesh 30 centimetres out from the verandah’, Jim suggested, ‘and tie the Crepescule roses to that instead of the tripods’. ‘What a great idea’ I said, thrilled at the suggestion. I had planted another 3 Crepescule roses more recently that would also need tying down in the not too distant future. So I had 6 Crepescule roses in a row about 40 centimetres from the North West side of the house. Jim dislikes any plant that encroaches onto the house so a wall of mesh 30 centimetres out from the verandah was a perfect solution. We raised the mesh so that it was about 1 meter above the ground as Crepescule is a small climbing rose.
4 pickets, 3 meters apart, onto which we slid 4 metal square posts and then 3 panels each 3 metres long and 90 centimeters high were attached to the posts. The job was finished within two days and the three larger Crepescule Roses tied to the mesh. Being able to tie the long canes horizontally onto the mesh is ideal as these canes flower much better this way.
The Vegetables are growing well and will need to be well watered and kept mulched. Constant picking will also promote more produce, particularly with the beans, peas, spinach and herbs. Plant crowns of rhubarb now.
IN THE GARDEN
Snowflake Poinsettia Euphorbia leucocephala
Mexican Tree Daisy