Caryopteris x clandonensis
Euphorbia Ďdiamond frostí
Magnolia Little Gem
Strobilanthes "pink bells"
Solidago (Golden Rod)
b = Butterflies
B = European Bees
N = Native Bees
Hard Cane Dendrobium
Habranthus (rain lily)
Lycoris (Spider Lily)
Mansoa alliacea (garlic vine)
DA Rose 'Crocus Rose'
Salvia Anthony Parker
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN MARCH:
We gardeners are very thankful when February has passed as it means cooler weather and particularly cooler nights. March heralds autumn here in Brisbane and we are encouraged to do more in the garden.
It has been a great summer with lots of rain to put water in the tanks and moisten the soil. The plants have put on good growth and this is a good time to propagate using slips (a green stem with a heel). This can be done for pelargoniums, salvias, senecio, statice, artemisia, marguerite daisies, dianthus and lamb's ears to give us more plants in case some do not survive.
Pests, predators & pollinators
Because there is a pecking order or a food chain in the garden, there is really no need to use harmful sprays to eradicate insects. The other day I was moving compost and discovered rhinoceros beetles in the compost. I gently put them aside and before long I had the company of a dragon lizard who relished every morsel.
Spiders have wonderful traps and I am always careful in the mornings when I walk through the garden that I donít disturb spider webs as they catch all manner of insects. Of course we know that ladybirds love aphids and we can encourage them also by not spraying.
The Roses have survived a humid summer, although they donít flower well. They will appreciate mulch to hold in any extra moisture we will get in autumn. A tidy up to trim off all the dead wood and thin stems would be in order. They are not showing any signs of fungus diseases which normally occur at this time of year. However there is still a little scale around and this must be eradicated by hosing or pyrethrum spray.
A handful of blood and bone with 10% potash added or Sudden Impact for Roses will be beneficial to bring on the flowers for autumn. Sprinkle this around the base of each bush after some good rain and with more rain in sight.
Reduce watering of orchids to twice or three times a week as the nights are getting cooler, watering mornings or afternoon before 4pm.
If any orchids or tropical pot plants need to be re-potted, March is the latest you should do it as that gives the plant a month or so to establish before the cold weather. Only re-pot if the medium has broken down or the plant has grown right out of its pot. I donít break up my orchids until they are so big that I canít get a big enough pot or hanging basket. This keeps them flowering continuously and does not set them back.
Salvias are the backbone of the garden as they will tolerate dry conditions and there is one in flower every day of the year. There are a few that put on a great autumn show and come in a great range of colours. During the summer months these autumn flowerers put on a lot of growth but they are waiting for the shorter days to flower. The autumn Salvias are: Anthony Parker which has beautiful glaucous foliage with blue flowers, a nice compact shrub under a meter. Slightly bigger and very similar is Blue Abyss. Iodanthe has cerise flowers and is similar in foliage to Purpurea which has mauve flowers, both are over a metre high so the flowers tend to hang down. Madrensis can cover an area over 2 meters with its square angular stems, heart shaped leaves and large heads of yellow flowers. Costa Rican blue and Mexicana are vigorous and form woody stems. They both have blue flowers and grow to over two metres.
Then there are the Involucratas which have unique flowers that appear in a ball and then slowly open individually down the stem. Involucratas are mostly in shades of pink. The autumn ones are wagneriana, Pink Icing, Pink Icicles, Mulberry Jam and Karwinskii which is red. Gesneriiflora is striking with its black calyces and red flowers and can grow to over a metre. Donít be tempted to cut them back or else you will lose their spectacular flowers in the coming months. Once they have finished flowering you can cut them back by a third. All Salvias strike readily from cuttings and this is best done when the weather warms up in spring. Some do tend to sucker and these suckers can be easily transplanted.
Get the vegetable beds ready for the autumn crops by adding well rotted compost and mulch. Tomatoes, chard, Pak Choi, snow peas, beans, lettuce, beetroot, and kale can be planted now. It is a good idea to stagger plantings so that you can continuously crop. Vegetables do need a constant supply of water and should never dry out so keep the vegetable beds well mulched. If you donít want separate vegetable beds you can plant vegetables amongst your flower beds. Kale is particularly attractive in the garden beds.
Herbs are wonderful for picking to add to soups, casseroles and omelettes and they also help to deter insects in the vegetable beds or can be planted in the garden beds. Parsley, basil, mint, oregano, tarragon and thyme are easy to grow from seed or buy a plant or two. By picking often you will encourage new growth and always have a fresh supply.
IN THE GARDEN
Raised vegetable beds