GARDENING TIPS

November flowering plants often make me think of peace and promise – the various shades of the blue, purple, bicolour and white agapanthus, the jacaranda in full bloom warning those who haven’t started studying that they are in trouble, the felicia, the rothecea myracoides (the Cambridge plant), the lavender (one of our 30% off Bee Saver specials of the month) and the fragrant gardenia - these cool colours evoke a sense of peace! On the other hand, the cheerfulness of the daylilies, bougainvillea (all 30% less this month), marigolds, portulaca and alstromeria warms our hearts and put a smile on our faces as well as attracting the bees in search of pollen and nectar…use these plants to fill the gaps

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Tips for success with some of these plants:

ALSTROEMERIAS (Inca lilies) – these easy to grow, popular plants last well in the vase, are reliable, rewarding and a must have in your garden or the more popular dwarf varieties do especially well in pots. They are available in a wide range of striking colours all with attractive darker stripes on certain petals. They flower in late spring and summer and usually die down in very cold winters.

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AGAPANTHUS - I doubt that there is a South African gardener alive that has not come across an agapanthus somewhere especially when our South African breeders and growers Andy De Wet and Quinton Bean produced the Chelsea winner – Agapanthus Blackjack which sold out like hotcakes… we are hopefully going to be able to get more! Generally, agapanthus are easy to grow and do well even in the poorest of soils but must receive some water in summer. They prefer full sun although some cultivars will flower in semi-shade. They should be lifted and divided every four years or so to ensure flowering.

The following are ideal for mass displays e.g., Lapis, praecox and Africana. The larger species e.g., Queen Mum, Blue Velvet and Garden Mum are wonderful as a backdrop to an herbaceous border, whereas the smaller ones e.g., the “Bingo” or nana or dwarf varieties are excellent in the front of the border, or as an edging plant or in rockeries.

They are also excellent plants to stabilize a bank and to prevent erosion. They make excellent cut flowers, either whole heads, or individual flowers in small arrangements.
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LAVENDERS – these are a must in every garden! They make wonderful hedges (don’t remove the flowers unnecessarily) but also thrive as individual specimens, bringing a lovely fragrance to your garden.

Even here we have a few new varieties such as the Lavendula variegata, and Lavendula Holland. Be careful not to overwater.

As I have mentioned in a few of my talks, most plants have to multitask, just as us humans do, so lavender can’t only look beautiful, attract bees and be fragrant, their flowers especially stoechas are great in shortbread and I often pick a sprig or two to put under my pillow at night to help me sleep.
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A few November necessities to remember to do this month:

Mow your lawn regularly and feed,
Keep feeding your garden – never buy new plants without buying enough compost for them,
When feeding I recommend switching fertilisers each time you have to purchase new - this month we have granular BioOcean on promotion and also as a pick-me-tonic (not gin and tonic), liquid plant food GroBest, which is producing wonderful results,
Keep your topiaries in shape with regular pruning,
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Feed your camellias with a high nitrogen fertilizer and mulch with acid compost and water well,

Put a little acid compost (on promotion this month) around your other acid loving plants like azaleas which might have finished flowering, although we have few late bloomers looking lovely in the nursery or the ‘encore’ varieties which flower all year round, and your hydrangeas and brunsfelsias,

Weed, weed, weed to reduce competition with your chosen plants or mulch to reduce weed growth. Spread a 5cm layer around the plants, making sure that the mulch is not piled up against the stem of the plant. This allows water and fertilizer to penetrate more easily.
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This is the time of year when climbing plants come into their own, with their decorative branches beautifying the environment. There are so many of these creepers but make your choice from Bougainvilleas, Wisteria, Petrea, Thunbergia (Black-eyed Susan), Pandorea, Trachelospermum jasminoides and the more unusual Clematis, Snail vine and Jade vine which we have in stock.
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Our water plants are in stock again. For best results, water lilies need at least 50cm depth of water. They should be planted into a container or planting bag with a mix of two parts good soil (topsoil) and one part each of kraal manure and compost with a little bonemeal. Place a layer of sand or pebbles on the surface then lower gently into the water.
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Get holiday ready by planting up containers with bright coloured annuals like petunias, impatiens, begonias, nasturtiums, chrysanthemums, dianthus, marigolds, and salvia, or perennials such as roses. Add water retaining materials like coco peat or ‘Stockabsorb’ to the potting soil as these absorb the precious water and then release it slowly. Place these colourful containers close to your living areas or at the front door and you will be surprised at how much joy they provide.

Use rainwater tanks to collect & store the rain-water runoff you are getting from roofs.
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A new category of promotions that we have started is ‘WATERWISE WINNERS’. Each month we will choose a few plants that can tolerate harsh, dry conditions and if planted will make you a ‘WATER WARRIOR’. This month we choose tulbughia, lamb’s ear and portulacaria (spekboom) which are all 30% less. There are also many colourful annual varieties, like petunias, vincas and portulacas that have proven their worth as water-wise garden plants.

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A new category of promotions that we have started is ‘WATERWISE WINNERS’. Each month we will choose a few plants that can tolerate harsh, dry conditions and if planted will make you a ‘WATER WARRIOR’. This month we choose tulbughia, lamb’s ear and portulacaria (spekboom) which are all 30% less. There are also many colourful annual varieties, like petunias, vincas and portulacas that have proven their worth as water-wise garden plants.

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