Croton (leaf colour)
Euphorbia ĎDiamond Frostí
Montanoa tree daisy (seed heads)
Schauria (Miss Milly)
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN JULY:
It has been a colder and therefore drier winter this year, so far. This has seen a lot earlier leaf drop and some beautiful colours before the leaf drop with the crepe myrtles and liquid amber in particular. The subtropical and the tropical plants are used to a dry winter and are better off being dry, particularly if it is cold.
THE MEDITERRANEAN PLANTS ARE IN THEIR ELEMENT AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. They love the cool nights, but do expect a bit more moisture at this time of year. These include Perennial Cleome, Pelargoniums, Santolina, Marguerite Daisies, Heliotrope, and Lavender and this is a good time to take cuttings of these perennials. Lambís ears, Tulbaghia can be divided. Helichrysum petiolare and Artimesias which add lovely silver highlights to the garden are best propagated by layering. Find a long woody stem to push into the ground and place some mulch on the stem between the main plant and the end of the stem. Leave about 15 centimeters of the end of the stem above the mulch and keep watered.
MAINTENANCE IN THE GARDEN:
Cut back the Iboza Riparia (Nutmeg bush) and Strobilanthes when flowers are finished, by about half and the autumn Salvias that have finished flowering. I cut and drop the smaller cuttings as compost direct onto the gardens and put the larger stems through the mulcher and put it straight back onto the gardens to give them an organic boost.
Cut back the Montanoa Daisies by half and Tree Dahlias to the ground once they have finished looking good. I leave the seeds heads on the Montanoa Daisies as they look great and donít seed at all. Cut the fatter canes into 30cm lengths with a Ďnodeí or two in each piece and place them on top of potting mix in a shaded spot or in the bush house.
VEGETABLES certainly need constant water and the seeds planted in May/June are off to a great start. Seedlings of Chinese vegetables, Brassicas, Beans, Onions, Tomatoes. It is important that the bed is well manured and watered consistently to keep the vegetables growing well.
WATERING is most important during our dry winter. Ideally we collect rainwater during the summer rainy season and then we can use this on our garden during the dry winter/spring months. We at Coucals, use tanks to collect rain water as our soil is not water retaining enough for a dam. Watering can be done; manually; by hand, semi- automatic; using a timer on a tap, which is manually turned on and turns off automatically or fully automatic using a controller, solenoids and a pressure pump. Using 13mm or 19mm pipe with sprinklers attached is a very convenient way of watering a garden area. The pipe can be attached to a tap (mains water) or to a rain water tank. I am currently replacing a lot of my watering systems after 15 or so years as the pipes are now buried beneath soil and roots that have constricted the pipe, therefore rendering it useless. My strategy now is to replace the pipe so that it sits above the mulch and my sprinklers can be reused except that I now use a piece of metal rod about pencil thickness which I hammer into the ground where I want the sprinkler and I tie the sprinkler stake to the metal rod. This means that the sprinkler is now 30 centimeters plus above the ground. This is a much better system for an established garden as the sprinklers hit the plants and the water then drips to the ground around the plant. When I first put the watering systems in, the stake was put directly into the ground, but that was when the plants were very small and the sprinkler was higher than the plant. Using this system I water a garden area twice a week for 30 minutes.
Cattleyas are putting on a beautiful show as are Cymbidiums, Phalaenopsis, Hardcane Dendrobiums and Zygopetalums. Donít be tempted to over water orchids in winter. Once or twice a week should be sufficient and definitely donít water the Softcane Dendrobiums or else you wonít get flowers for spring. Water your orchids in the mornings so that they are dry by nightfall as they hate being cold and wet.
Make sure that the temperature doesnít drop below 10 deg Celsius for the Hardcane Dendrobiums and Phalaenopsis Orchids. We keep ours in an orchid house which is not heated but manage to keep it at that temperature by closing it up at night and growing ferns and other plants, therefore creating a micro-climate with extra humidity that these beauties enjoy all year round.
New roses should start arriving now if you ordered bare rooted ones. Unpack them immediately they arrive and keep their roots covered in damp peat moss or sawdust until you are ready to plant them. I always plant my new bare rooted roses in pots that are big enough to accommodate the roseís roots for the next six months. Put them in a sunny spot and make sure that they are well watered. They will put on new growth immediately and their roots will establish in the pots.
IN THE GARDEN