Buckinghamia celsissima b
Caryopteris x clandonensis
Dichorisandra thrysiflora B
Fiddlewood Tree B
Gingers Gmelina hystrix
Ivory Curl Tree b
Lagerstroemia indica BC
Otacanthus Peltophorum africanum B
Roses Sambucus nigra
Stachytarpheta b Stenocarpus sinnuatus
Yucca recurvifolia Zingiber spectabile
B = European Bees
N = Native Bees
b = Butterflies
C = Carpenter Bees
Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'
Habranthus (Rain lily)
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN FEBRUARY:
It has been lovely weather to date with cool nights, but February is our most humid month and the worst month for gardening. However it does usually bring rain which is always good. It is lovely to have full rainwater tanks.
MANGOES like growing in light and free draining soils that are not necessarily rich; infact you actually get the best crops on soils of somewhat lower fertility.
Growing mangoes from seed is easy. I put all my mango peels and seeds in my compost bin and that is where I get my new Mango plants from. It is important to only take seeds from good Mangoes such as the Kensington Pride (Bowen) or any seed from what is called a "polyembryonic" variety. This means that there will be more than one embryo resulting in more than one seed. Polyembyronic seeds are identical, fruiting like the parent, within 2-5 years and are resistant to anthracnose. Monoembyronic seeds produce a single seed, are hybrids from cross pollination, will fruit after 10 years and are subject to anthracnose.
Once you have a seed that has sprouted, pot it up until it is about 40 - 60 cms high, Like all plantings, it is best done in summer when the rains come. Make sure you select a place in full sun, and make triple sure you really want a big tree there!
Mulch your mango tree heavily and spread a bit of compost every now and then. If your soil is reasonable that should be all the tree needs. With poor soil, top dress with lots of organic matter by way of compost and mulch often. Wood ash supplies potassium which encourages fruiting and makes the fruit taste better.
Mangoes flower profusely and self-pollinate very well. The flowering is triggered by cool nights. Mangoes flower at the tip of a branch, so the more branches you have the better the crop. You can encourage lateral branching with tip pruning.
The best way to harvest mangoes is to cut them off with a long section of stem still attached, and handle them carefully so that the stem does not snap off. If your mangoes get eaten by birds, bats and possums you can pick them before they start to yellow and when the bit before the point is rounded. Use brown paper bags or fine mesh bags if fruit fly is a problem.
Mulching benefits greatly not only by supplying nutrients as it breaks down but also by keeping the soil cooler and it conditions the soil to make it more water retentive. Mulching also protects the soil from the heavy downpours of rain. Palm fronds, can be mulched by putting them through the shredder, and then put back onto the garden beds.
With so much growth, cut backs are very necessary during this warm season. I find a small battery powered hedge trimmer and chain saw invaluable when pruning, along with the secateurs. Small branches, hedges and shrubs all need to be trimmed if they are encroaching into another territory. Perennials need to be cut back after flowering.
The Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’ hedges and shrubs need to be cut back constantly so that they don’t seed. This plant really is a dreadful weed if allowed to seed.
During summer orchids should be misted or watered every day on the days that it doesn’t rain. Make sure that there is good air movement around your orchids. They are best hung in hanging baskets if large or terracotta pots if smaller so that they dry out between watering.
I will be doing a workshop on orchid growing and potting on the 18th March, the details are on the ‘what’s happening page’.
IN THE GARDEN