Justicia Adhatoda, Nodosa
Mexican Daisy (Montanoa
Poinsettia White (snowflake)
Princettia (Pink Poinsettia)
Strobilanthes (pink bells) Strobilanthes Goldfussia
Kniphofia (Red hot pokers)
Salvia Pink Icicles
Salvia Pink Icing
Salvia Purpurea Salvia semi-atrata
Schaueria (Miss Milly)
(Red Hot Poker)
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN MAY:
Happy mother’s day to all the gardening Mums and if you do get a potted Chrysanthemum don’t forget to plant it in the garden after it has finished flowering. It will reward you for many more years, not only with lovely flowers but also treasured memories.
The Pachypodiums are an interesting group of prickly plants which look very architectural and statuesque in the garden. There are small shrubs and some are small trees, growing to over a metre or so (slowly) with swollen trunks. The swollen trunks hold water which makes them extremely drought tolerant. They have spines which are all over the trunks and branches, so they do need to be placed away from the edge of the garden and paths. They only branch out after they have flowered.
Varieties available include Pachypodium lamerei commonly known as Madagascar palm (white flowers), Pachypodium baronii (red flowers), Pachypodium rosulatum (yellow flowers) and Pachypodium geayi (white flowers) which has narrow grey leaves. Coming from warm climates they flower mainly in summer with flowers that are simple with four petals and very similar and same size as the frangipani flower. The flowers appear at the top of the plant above the leaves which are at the end of the trunk or branches. Like Frangipani’s, Pachypodiums belong to the Apocynaceae family and also have a white milky sap which is poisonous. They do not like frost and will lose their leaves in winter if the temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius.
They are propagated by seed which is very similar to the frangipani seed being a double winged brown pod, each about 10 -14 cms long. Just before the seed pods reach maturity, tie a paper bag around the seed stem to enclose the seed pod. When the pod opens, the seeds will be in the bag. Sow the delicate light seeds on top of a pot of soil and keep them in the bush house. They will need to be kept warm in winter (above 10 deg Celsius) and are very slow growing.
The days are now much cooler and the nights in May can get down to 1 degree Celsius in our area. Growth is slowing down dramatically and therefore the plants and garden are in need of much less water. After the lovely summer rain we need to mulch to keep the moisture in. We start lighting the fire in May and this provides lovely potash for the gardens.
Coleus, Perilla, Plectranthus, Solidago and Angelonias will need a haircut with the hedging shears and they will keep going. I take cuttings of Coleus and Perilla at this time as many do not survive the winter and keep them in the bush house where they are warmer and just moist.
When pruning, use any pieces with a joint for cuttings and put them in a pot in a sheltered spot. I put soft prunings back on the garden as mulch and with the beds cut back it is a good opportunity to mulch and provide nutrients as well as to condition the soil for next spring and it will also help keep in as much moisture as possible during our normally dry winter.
Cut back large shrubs like the red Bauhinia and any tree branches that are dangerous or causing too much shade. Monkey tails (Stachytarpheta) can be cut right back as can the perennial Cleome ‘senorita’. Take cuttings of Cleome ‘senorita’ as they can ‘disappear’ after cutting back and are good ‘fillers’ for the summer borders.
Mulch around small young trees, shrubs and citrus spreading the mulch to the perimeter of the water shed area (the outermost leaves) and about 10 cm thick.
If your herbs are flowering, cut the flowers off as this will make them bushier and allow you to keep picking for delicious flavours in casseroles instead of them bolting to seed. Put in mustard seeds now.
Phalaenopsis and Hardcane dendrobiums will have flowers and or flower spikes. Keep them in a warm spot for winter. They don’t like night temperatures to drop below 10 degrees Celsius. Reduce watering and water as early in the day as possible. Zygopetalums and Cymbidiums will be sending out spikes and Cattleyas will be flowering so keep an eye out for the dendrobium beetle which loves to eat the flowers. Either spray with Pyrethrum or just pick them off and squash them between your fingers.
The roses are also putting on a lovely show thanks to the late summer rain. Deadhead only at this time and mulch them, if you didn’t do it in April. When I dead head at this time of year I am looking to take off thin stems, stems which cross over in the middle of the bush and any dead or diseased wood.
IN THE GARDEN