Caryopteris x clandonensis
Crepe Myrtle BN
Datura Purple Queen Euphorbia millii
Fiddlewood Tree B
Ivory Curl Tree
Otacanthus Pachypodium Peltophorum africanum
Tesselated Gums B
B = European Bees
N = Native Bees
Euphorbia ‘diamond frost’
Scutelleria Solidago Tanacetum Torrenia
Streptocarpus Tacca integrifolia
Mandevilla (Dipladenia) Maurandya
Alstroemeria Agapanthus Calla lilies Canna lilies
Curcuma (Cape lily)
Habranthus (Rain lilies)
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN JANUARY:
Happy New Year to everyone, may 2018 be a great year for you and your gardening.
What a great start to summer, after a wet spring, December has bought us rain with a storm once or twice a week which has topped up the tanks and kept the mulch and soil moist. It has been a good time to plant out the roses and other potted plants that have been sitting in the bush house waiting for the right conditions.
Nothing conjures up images of the tropics as much as the Frangipanis do and it seems here in the Great South East, we can’t get enough of them. The flowers are beautiful clusters with a simple 4 petal arrangement held on stiff stems arranged above the leaves. The common Plumeria rubra comes in many colours from deep magenta red through pinks and apricots to white. The flowers are also stiff as these are what Hawaiian leis are made from and they also look exotic floating in a bowl of water.
Frangipanis survive in well drained situations and appreciate mulch to keep the soil moist during the warm growing season. Most lose their leaves in winter except for the hammer head Frangipani, Plumeria pudica. Its flowers are in clusters like Plumeria rubra and are pure white. It grows into more of a shrub rather than a tree. The common name hammerhead comes from the shape of the leaves.
Plumeria stenophylla is the smallest frangipani with narrow small leaves and smaller white flowers, but is a delightful small shrub for the garden.
They are all easy to strike cuttings from as a branch can be broken from the tree and after being left to dry out for a week or so can be planted, preferably in a pot until the roots form. They do have a milky white sap which is poisonous, so be careful not to rub your eyes if you get it on your hands. Double winged seed pods can also form and before the seed pod opens, tie a paper bag around the seed stem to contain the seed. Sow the seed on top of some soil, in a pot, keep it well watered over summer and dryer in winter.
The autumn and winter flowering Salvias have put on a huge growth spurt, so rather than cut them back (as you may miss the flowers) I stake mine back. I put two stakes about 1 metre apart with a piece of baling twine tied from one stake to the other as high as the Salvias need to be retained.
Calatheas and Marantas are wonderful tropical plants grown for their beautiful leaves and our summer humid weather is just what they love. These plants are often called peacock, snake or zebra plants as their leaves have wonderful markings mimicking these creatures. Summer rain will encourage them to send up new shoots. Cut back any stems that flowered last year and mulch so that the lovely new leaves can be seen. They do like shade and are happy as under-story plants.
The Heliconias and Gingers are in their element at this time of year with the hot humid conditions. Although they are a big plant they need to be in the front so that their beautiful bracts can be seen and they do like stronger light.
Beehive gingers come in yellow and reds and keep their knee-high beehives for several months.
Heliconia rostrata or parrots beak which has inflorescences of both yellow and red, which are very showy and the stems hang down.
Heliconia bihai grows to about 2 metres in height and can be used as a screen, it has wonderful showy red bracts which stand upright.
Costus is a very close relative of the gingers and usually have their flowers at the top of the stalks, which grow to about a metre. They differ to the gingers in that their stalks spiral at the top and are often called spiral ginger.
Costus barbatus or Red tower ginger is Red with yellow flowers and keeps its cones for most of the spring and summer. Mulch them all well to keep the soil moist as they do expect a wet summer.
Costus Malortieanus is a lovely smaller Costus but does not like our cold winter so it needs to be kept in a sheltered spot where it does not get below 10 deg Celsius in winter. Like all Costus they do prefer a little more shade and are happy with morning sun.
Take cuttings of Perennial Cleome, Euryops, Azaleas, Salvias and Gardenias, put them in a good potting mix in the bush house and keep them well watered. Look out for seeds from the Agapanthus, Habranthus and Day Lilies and sow them into pots or boxes also in the bush house. Divide and spread plants such as Coreopsis, Geranium, Pelagonium, Limonium (Statice), Zephranthes, Autumn Crocus, Gingers, Cannas and Dahlias, and keep them well watered until established.
The Dendrobium beetle can decimate flowers and new leaves. These can be simply squashed between your fingers and inspect for the grubs that will hatch in the flowers as they do as much if not more damage.
Stanhopeas are unusual orchids that flower below their pseudo bulbs, therefore you need to hang them in a basket so that their flowers can push through the bottom of the basket.
IN THE GARDEN