Brazilian Cloak Brugsmansia
Carphalea Kirondren Calodendrum capense
Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’
Iboza riparia (nutmeg bush)
Montanoa (tree daisy)
Kniphofia (Red hot pokers)
Schauria Miss Milly
Dendrobium hardcane Vanda
Red Hot Poker
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN JUNE:
Red Hot Pokers Knifofia are looking great now and are just glowing. They are much loved by the birds for their nectar as are Aloes which have similar torch like flowers. Both do very well in a dry situation and will form a nice clump. The Red Hot Pokers will seed spreading to a metre or more, whereas the Aloes will branch out and form ‘pups’ at the base.
The cool nights and hot days have coloured up the leaves of the crepe myrtles Lagerstroemia indica and Liquid amber beautifully and it is lovely to see brilliant red in the garden. It is the high difference between night and day temperatures that produce the colour in the leaves. The Lagerstroemia speciosa goes yellow before losing its leaves and the hybrid Japanese varieties are best for the red leaf colours.
The MEXICAN TREE DAISY (Montanoa bipinnatifida) adds drama with its huge white daisy blossoms. Although it is called a tree it only gets to about 2 -3 metres tall and a metre or so wide. It should be pruned back after flowering but don’t be in a hurry to cut them back as the lime green seeds which are produced straight after flowering are just as lovely as the flowers and stay on the plants for ages before turning black. This is the cue to cut them back by about two thirds. I have never had any of the seeds germinate in the garden. To propagate more of these beautiful shrubs, cut the thicker canes into 30cm lengths and place them into pots and keep moist. The rest of the cuttings can be put through the mulcher for compost.
The pink DOMBEYA (Dombeya burgessiae) are the stars of my garden in June regardless of weather conditions and the drier the conditions the more they seem to flower. Like most Dombeyas, the flowers are in bunches and are bell shaped. They flower for several months and when their flower bracts turn brown, even that doesn’t detract. It is hard to say whether they are a tree or a shrub, as they are as wide as they are high and their branches are close to the ground so it is hard to grow anything underneath them.
Ferns are nonflowering, herbaceous plants that have true roots, stems, and beautiful complex leaves and that reproduce by spores. They have been around for more than 300 million years. There are epiphytic ferns like our crow’s nest (Asplenium nidus), elk, staghorn (Platycerium), basket fern, (Drynaria rigidula) and hare’s foot (Davallia) as well as terrestrial and tree ferns like the Blechnum, Cyathea, Dicksonia, and King fern from Fraser Island.
The spores are usually on the back of the leaves and are microscopic. Some ferns like the asplenium bulbiferum or hen and chicken reproduce plantlets on the leaf.
The majority of ferns prefer a cool, moist, shady position. In nature, these conditions are ideally provided in rainforests and near water, where the humidity is high.
In cultivation, most ferns will grow best where there is protection from hot sun and strong winds and where there is plenty of moisture. Dappled light created by trees or shrubs is ideal. These conditions can be reproduced artificially by shade houses and verandahs. Soil should be able to absorb moisture, but drain well.
The Polypodiums and Davallias have a rhizome that is hairy and is happy exposed, not buried. These rhizomes travel and are often called rabbit’s or hare’s foot. The rhizome will attach itself to a tree or rock and search for food and moisture. These ferns are best placed on rocks or in hanging baskets.
Ferns can be propagated by division or by spore seeding as well as bulbils. Collecting spore is not easy and requires a paper bag tied to the leaf. The spores are then sown on a shallow tray with damp soil, sand, and leaf mould in equal parts with a sprinkle of peat moss added. Once the spore is sown cover the tray with plastic or glass and keep in a shaded warm area.
When propagating bulbils, cut the leaf with the bulbils intact and sow them on the same medium as for spores after cutting into sections and placing the section horizontal on the medium. Keep moist.
I find that in the right conditions and situation ferns seed themselves and are easy to transplant. The grow very well with orchids that like shade and the polypodium is particularly keen to grow with orchids.
Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, Phalaenopsis, Hardcane Dendrobiums and Zygopetalums are all bursting with colour, perfume and emerging spikes to be enjoyed and anticipated. The Cymbidum spikes will need to be staked and it is best to put these in when you see the flower spike.
The Vegetables are growing well and will need to be well watered and kept mulched. Constant picking will also promote more produce, particularly with the beans, peas, broccoli, spinach and herbs.
IN THE GARDEN
Let nature be your guide