Dombeya cacuminum (B)
Dombeya calantha (B)
Euphorbia Cotinifolia (leaf)
Justicia Adhatoda (B)
Liquidamber formosana (B)
Senecio petasitis (B)
(B) loved by Bees
Brillantasia (Giant Sage)
Euphorbia ‘Diamond frost’
Heterocentron (spanish shawl)
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN AUGUST:
The nights are still cool but the days are warm if there is no wind. Wind is more drying than the sun so it is important to mulch to try to keep as much moisture in the soil as our spring is usually dry.
PRUNING ROSES in sub-tropical areas should be done WHEN NECESSARY. They have flowered beautifully over winter and if left will flower again depending on moisture. Deadheading can also be left until after a second flush of flowering if rain is forthcoming. Also ideally we should be growing heritage roses, which don’t need heavy pruning or pruning at a specific time. What is important to note is that when the rose bush grows each new stem is thinner than the previous stem and as you can imagine if this continues and the stems get thinner they will no longer be able to support the flowers. So the most important thing is that we need to cut back to a thick stem.
When roses are young or small they need very little pruning. What we are aiming for with larger and older roses (over 1 meter) is for a solid and thick trunk with similar branches. So when we prune we don’t cut back to the brown hard stems but to green stems with pencil or larger thickness. Cutting just above an outward facing bud is what we want so that new stems are encouraged outwards and not inwards towards the bush.
Step 1: Always prune the three D’s in mind, that is; Dead, Diseased and Damaged branches.
Step 2: Prune any branches crossing through the centre as it is important for roses to have lots of air movement which alleviates diseases.
Step 3: Prune a branch that has finished flowering or has a pointy thin end that won’t flower, back to a thick stem.
I always like to prune and fertilise when the soil is moist and rain is imminent as this will produce new growth immediately with no die-back. Please see my website for a list of recommended roses.
TRIM AND TIDY UP TROPICALS
Once the coldest weather has passed, we can start tidying up the tropicals, such as Gingers, Costas, Heliconias, Thalias, Calatheas, Marantas, Allamandas, Brazilian cloak, Mussaendas and Poinsettias. The Poinsettias can be cut back as soon as they have finished flowering and all can be nourished with some mulch. With the gingers and heliconias, only cut the stems which have ‘yellowed’ and the old stems that have ‘spent’ ends. Leave all the juvenile canes intact as these will give the clump a good start for summer flowers. This is also a good time to divide them if the clump has got too big for their area or are too ‘congested’.
With the gingers (and most perennials) I cut and drop, that is I leave the cuttings on the ground around the plant to break down naturally. By doing this, you may receive an added bonus as some of the old canes will strike and give you new baby plants.
DAISIES add a lovely freshness to the garden, as well as colour at this time of year. Osteospernnum and Argyranthemum or heritage daisies are in the nurseries. They come in wonderful colours from white, pink, mauve through yellow and tan. If you have them in the garden you can easily take cuttings and either pot them up or put them straight in the garden and keep them moist until established.
Coreopsis is another lovely daisy for the front of the border as it is a fairly low plant. Check that they haven’t been buried by other plants, and they may need transplanting as they form plantlets over autumn/winter. Coreopsis also like full sun and a bit more moisture than other daisies but reward you with their golden faces.
VEGETABLES sown in winter are coming on nicely and being encouraged by the compost tea which I dilute 1:4 with water. Seeds of lettuce and pak choy have been sown and talk about instant germination, they were visible after a matter of days. I am keeping the water up to the vegetables as this ensures tenderness with constant growth.
Plant beans and snow peas as this will add nitrogen to the soil and will give you pickings over spring. Sweet Corn kernels can also be planted. Plant them in a block of 4 rows at least as they are wind pollinated. I have also planted seedlings of Kale and Ruby Chard as this looks great and is also great for picking leaves as you want them.
There are many native orchids that we can grow here in our gardens. The most popular is Dendrobium speciosum or the Rock Orchid. Most of our native orchids will have spikes now and you need to watch carefully as some don’t flower for very long and you can miss the display. I grow Dendrobium speciosum on rocks in part shade in the rainforest area where they have survived for many years. Once the flowers have gone new leaves will be produced from which next years flower spikes will come. Keep a sharp eye out for the Dendrobium beetle as they love these new leaves.
IN THE GARDEN
Dendrobium speciosum orchid