Brugsmansia Buckinghamia celsissima
Datura Purple Queen Delonix regia
Fiddlewood Tree B
Lagerstroemia indica BN
Otacanthus Pachypodium Peltophorum africanum Plumeria rubra
Plumeria stenophylla Raphiolepis indica Roses
Sambucus nigra Stenocarpus angustifolius Stachytarpheta Tesselated Gums B
B = European Bees N = Native Bees
Euphorbia ‘diamond frost’
Snake Plant Streptocarpus
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 2020 be a great year for you and your gardening adventures with hopefully a lot more rain.
The drought has been a battle to try and keep our gardens alive…. but we are not as bad off as the farmers who have had livestock to feed and our hearts go out to them. For us as gardeners, it has been a learning curve. We have seen what plants have survived and how they have survived. There is no doubt that plants that were mulched survived better than those with little or no mulch. Trees that had some shade (at ground level) and therefore less exposure to the heat survived better. Some trees like the Poinciana (Delonix) and Brachychitons put on a wonderful flowering show.
Many trees shed their leaves to help conserve moisture. The trees that shed all their leaves normally each season, did so, but because of the dry these trees did not renew their leaves as quickly as they normally do. This was a problem for the plants growing underneath them.
A lot of shrubs and perennials did not flower at all or did not flower very well but they stayed alive even though they put on very little growth. Palms shed their fronds more so than normal but most survived. Orchids flowered very well and were fine as long as they got the right amount of light they required.
Gardens that had a watering system giving them consistent water once or twice a week did better than gardens that didn’t get watered at all or not consistently. So when the rains do eventually come and the soil does become lovely and moist again we need to think about what plants to grow. Trees are on the top of my list as shade is so important to us as well as our gardens. We just need to take a look around and see what plants have survived to know what plants to grow.
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.
A water loving relative also from the Marantaceae family is Thalia geniculata which does like its feet in water and will die back in winter and can be cut back severely in autumn. The stems are a lovely red and the flowers which are on stalks taller than the leaves hang down like fairy fishing rods. Thalia enjoys full sun.
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.
Zingiber spectabile or 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.
Another tropical is the snake plant or Amorphophallus bulbifer which has stems that resemble snake skins. It is from the Araceae family. It disappears over winter and re-emerges at this time. I keep mine in the tropical house as it doesn’t like to get below 10 degrees Celsius in winter. The leaves are only on the top of the plant where eventually it will form bulbils. These bulbils will form new plants if they are put on top of a pot with soil in it. It flowers rarely and when it does it is at the base of the plant and doesn’t have the bad smell that a lot of its relatives do.
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