Nurture your darling garden this month of love by sowing delicious edibles and magnificent flowers. Remember to give your roses some TLC and maintain your existing crops for an abundant harvest.
Blooms to sow
Plant tough annuals such as Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) and African Daisy (Dimorphotheca) to fill gaps in beds and provide gorgeous colour.
Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) is your best bet for pots with full sun. They boast striking pink, red, cream, or orange blooms that’ll bring any patio to life. Begin sowing these Winter and Spring-flowering gems that need a bit of time to mature in seedling trays: cinerarias, gazanias, Iceland poppies, primulas, violas, pansies, larkspurs, Canterbury bells, columbines, and aquilegias.
Many Summer-flowering annuals start coming to the end of their flowering season and need to be removed. As such, collect ripe seeds from flowers you wish to grow for next season and begin preparing seed and flower beds for Autumn planting.
Best for indoors
Adorn the indoors with your very own Love Palm (Chamaedorea elegans). They are small, slow-growing palm trees, reaching a full height of approximately 1 meter. Celebrated for their attractive foliage, they’re ideal indoor beauties that thrive in low to moderate light.
Caring for flowers
Keep azaleas and camellias well-watered to ensure a good show of flowers during Winter and Spring. Keep deadheading your spent blooms to promote faster regrowth with more flowers.
Deadhead and dis-bud your babies. Water well 3 times a week. Fertilise BUT remember that a heap on the surface is not optimal. Fertiliser is only of use when it is dissolved by water and carried to the roots. Spray fortnightly against black spot, beetles and bollworm with organic and biological pest control solutions.
ALL ABOUT EDIBLES
Greens to sow and plant
Sow spinach, globe artichokes, parsley, carrots, radish and rocket. Plant Chinese water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) if you enjoy Asian-style cooking. This aquatic vegetable forms tufts of bright green with straw-like leaves that spread rapidly.
Tending to the harvest
Pinch out tomatoes and surplus squashes to get fewer but bigger vegetables. Remember to keep mulching your beds to suppress weed growth, keep roots cool, and conserve water.
Garden centre treasures
Buy ready-to-plant strawberries, which you can hang in baskets or transplant into containers. Feed and water regularly to enjoy their beauty, even after fruiting. Buy fully grown, dwarf veggies that are ready to harvest, even while still in the car’s boot. These varieties include: chillies, cherry tomatoes, and fresh loose-leaf lettuce varieties. Take advantage of these time-saving greens that’ll give you some goodness to eat while waiting for other crops to mature.
Look out for red spider mites which are problematic in periods of drought and very hot weather. Use the correct insecticides to control these pests on plants such as fruit trees, roses, and shrubs.
There’s always something to do in the garden and always a plant child in need of a little TLC. Caring for your crop offers delicious rewards while tending to blooms provides an ongoing stream of colourful delights.
Visit the Life is a Garden website
www.lifeisagarden.co.za for more gardening inspiration or join the conversation on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa.