Croton (leaf colour)
Euphorbia ĎDiamond Frostí
Montanoa tree daisy (seed heads)
Schauria (Miss Milly)
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN JULY:
This winter has seen some beautiful colours before leaf drop with the crepe myrtles and liquid ambers in particular. The little bit of rain we have had this winter has given a boost to the garden but put precious little in the tanks.
COLOUR IN THE GARDEN
I have a very relaxed view of colour in the garden. I like all colours however, I do have some favourite combinations. Gertrude Jekyll said Ďdo not spoil a white garden by growing only white flowered plants in ití. There are some wonderful mono tone gardens, i.e. Sissinghurst in the UK and Stellenberg in Cape Town. Both have beautiful white gardens but, they also have other gardens with multi colours.
Pink, white and silver is a lovely, soft combination. Silver is a restful colour and will tone down harsher colours. For impact reds and oranges go beautifully with blues and purples. Generally speaking, lighter colours and two toned plants are better at the back of the garden as they stand out more with darker colours in the foreground.
I like to plant groups of the same colour of a plant together in drifts because it gives impact. For example I donít mix up the colours of my hippeastrums. I have a large area of the same colour red in one area and a soft pink in a separate area. I do the same for the blue and white agapanthus.
Our climate allows us to have colour in the garden all through the year, so we have to consider what is going to flower and when. Because we live in a sub-tropical climate we can grow foliage plants like crotons, cordylines, acalyphas, alternantheras and many more. These plants allow us to have colour from leaves instead of flowers and therefore colour all year round.
Because our light is so strong we can use much brighter colours than in the northern hemisphere. You will notice that in bright sunlight all the bright colours are washed out and on cloudy days they look brighter.
THE MEDITERRANEAN PLANTS ARE IN THEIR ELEMENT AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. They love the cool nights, but do expect a bit more moisture at this time of year. These include Perennial Cleome, Pelargoniums, Santolina, Marguerite Daisies, Heliotrope, and Lavender and this is a good time to take cuttings of these perennials. Lambís ears and Tulbaghia can be divided. Helichrysum petiolare and Artimesias which add lovely silver highlights to the garden are best propagated by layering. Find a long woody stem to push into the ground and place some mulch on the stem between the main plant and the end of the stem. Leave about 15 centimeters of the end of the stem above the mulch and keep watered.
MAINTENANCE IN THE GARDEN:
Cut back the Tetradenia riparia (Nutmeg bush) and Strobilanthes when flowers are finished, by about half and the autumn Salvias that have finished flowering. I cut and drop the smaller cuttings as compost direct onto the gardens and put the larger stems through the mulcher and put it straight back onto the gardens.
Cut back the Montanoa Daisies and Tree Dahlias to the ground once they have finished looking good. I leave the seeds heads on the Montanoa Daisies as they look great and donít seed at all. Cut the fatter canes into 30cm lengths with a Ďnodeí or two in each piece and place them on top of potting mix in a shaded spot or in the bush house.
VEGETABLES will need constant water and it is a good idea to plant seedlings monthly to keep a succession of vegetables to harvest. Seedlings of Root vegetables, Brassicas, Beans, Silverbeet, Onions and Tomatoes. It is important that the bed is well manured, mulched and watered consistently to keep the vegetables growing well.
Cattleyas are putting on a beautiful show as are Cymbidiums, Phalaenopsis, Hardcane Dendrobiums and Zygopetalums. Donít be tempted to over water orchids in winter. A misting daily is better than a heavy watering and this should be directed onto their leaves. Mist them in the mornings so that they are dry by nightfall as they hate being cold and wet.
Make sure that the temperature doesnít drop below 10 deg Celsius for the Hardcane Dendrobiums and Phalaenopsis Orchids. We keep ours in an orchid house which is not heated but manage to keep it at that temperature by closing it up at night and growing ferns and other plants, therefore creating a micro-climate with extra humidity that these beauties enjoy all year round.
I don't do a hard prune on the roses as they can flower throughout winter. Prune the stems that have flowered back to strong stems and cut out any thin stems and dead wood as well as opening up the centre of the bush. It is always good to prune when the soil is moist so that you get immediate buds and new growth. You can then fertilize with Blood and Bone with 10% potash added or Sudden Impact for Roses, giving each rose a good trowel full, when it rains.
Good Gardening and keep safe
IN THE GARDEN