Alloxylon flammeum Ardisia (berries)
Calliandra Calodendrum capense
Erythrina (coral tree)
Eupatorium (mist bush)
Euphorbia Cotinifolia (leaf)
Xanthostemon (golden penda)
Brillantasia (Giant Sage) Browallia
Daisies - Argyranthemum
Daisies - Osteospernum
Heterocentron (spanish shawl)
Salvias Schaueria (Miss Milly) Statice
Phaseolus Caracalla Tecomanthe ‘Roaring meg’
Tecomanthe 'roaring Meg'
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN SEPTEMBER:
The dry winter coupled with colder nights than normal has certainly slowed growth. It is important to keep up the hard work of mulching and pruning and know that our hopefully rainy, growing summer season is just around the corner.
I seem to have been cutting back all winter, mainly because the autumn and winter flowering plants were early this year.
Pentas lanceolata, commonly known as Egyptian star cluster, is a flowering shrub in the Rubiaceae family. It is native to much of Africa as well as Yemen and is therefore extremely drought tolerant and much loved by butterflies. Pentas comes in a wonderful range of colours from white to shades of pinks and mauves and red. They flower from early spring to late autumn when they are covered in clusters of star like flowers. After flowering, dead head with the hedge trimmers and they will flower several times during the warmer seasons. In late autumn cut them back by about one third. Pentas form a woody base as it gets older so it is best not to cut them back to the older wood but just trim the green new season’s branches by about half.
Pentas loves full sun and will form a lovely compact shrub a metre by about a metre. They are very easy to take cuttings of, by simply cutting a piece of new seasons green stem with a node. Cut about 25 mm below the node and pot that up with the node just below the level of the soil. Keep the pot watered and in a brightly lit situation. It is best to take cuttings in the warmer months. I have never used fertilizer on my plants and they flower constantly. Pentas will let you know when they need water as they tend to droop. The shrubs last for several years if they are mulched and are kept in a moist but well drained situation.
I like the red one as a hedge or a back drop to salvias. They also work well in a border with Cleome, solidago and many other perennials and are very useful for a cottage garden effect.
In the Garden; Gerberas, statice and all the daisies are giving great colour and are backed by the Banksian Rose.
Trees also add colour with the white and pink Bauhinia Trees, Orange Coral Tree, Red/Orange Tree Waratah and Schotia which is very aptly named the ‘Drunken Parrot Tree’. It is lovely to hear the parrots having a wonderful time in the Schotia and Coral tree and know that the garden is being enjoyed by the wildlife. The Red Cedar (Toona australis) and Liquid Amber (much loved by the bees) exude anticipation as they slowly sprout their new growth. The Red Cedar’s new shoots are red which sets a lovely scene and is followed by the Euphorbia cotinifolia’s deep burgundy shoots.The Cape Chestnut, (Calodendrum capense) shows off its beautiful flower clusters. Another lovely small tree is the Robinia pseudo acacia ‘Frisia’ which completely defoliates by winter, so is bare for quite a while. Its new shoots are a lovely lime green which stay this colour until the warmer weather arrives.
The Shrubs; Eranthemums, Eupatoriums (mist flower) add a blue haze to the border and are accompanied by the Salvias which are always happy to oblige with flowers in a myriad of colours.
Bulbs are also making sure they are not left behind. Chasmanthe and cliivias are slowly emerging waiting until it is a little warmer before they strut their stuff.
The roses had a dormant winter with the cold and dry but have started shooting and are getting ready for their spring blooms. As the weather warms up, the rose blossoms will increase and they will start their own show for October/November.
The May bush is starting to bud and will burst forth in white blossom to rival any apple tree grown in the cooler areas. The irises are making a move to open as the Fiddlewood trees are yellowing and losing their leaves, which gives an autumn feel to this sub-tropical spring.
WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN
I think September is the nicest time of the year in your garden and a good time to enjoy the benefits of all the hard work you have put in throughout the cooler months.
Deadhead to keep the flowers coming, and feed, weed and mow the lawn if we get rain. The warmer temperatures will start to wake up the gingers, calatheas, costus and heliconias which could be divided if the clumps are too big. I cut back my calatheas at this time if they are looking untidy and trim up the gingers by removing any stems which are yellow or brown. I leave the cut up stems and leaves that I have cut down around the plants as mulch.
IN THE GARDEN