The Autumn Garden

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Pam Jacob – Driefontein Garden Centre

The days are glorious and oh so good for gardening.  Just the right amount of rain and just the right amount of cool and all the glorious treasures of the Autumn garden.  Pansies and violas are again in stock to delight you with their beautiful, happy faces.  Whether in the open ground, hanging baskets or pots and containers, with the right care, they should give joy for a good six to eight months or more.  Calendulas –   whether yellow or orange – put on a wonderful show in the herbaceous border, especially when planted in bold groups.  Impatiens seedlings are back in full force with a marvellous array of colours to suit every taste and excite the senses – sun to shade.

 The Indigenous Leonotis leonuris or Wild Dagga plant, as it is commonly known, is about to burst into bloom and give loads of nectar to insects and birds alike with their tall stalks bursting with buds in pure white or orange.  Best planted in a quieter area of the garden to allow the birds some privacy as they feed to their hearts delight, whilst the butterflies flutter around – this is a plant that should be added to the collection of every nature lover.  May grow to 2m in height and can be heavily pruned back after the flowering period, to encourage new growth for the following season – but don’t prune to early as there will be continual flushes of flowers for a while.

Pam pic

One of the great delights of the Autumn garden must be the indigenous Plectranthus plants – over 400 species in this family, ranging from ground covers to large shrubs and suitable for shade or full sun areas.  Often with a deeper plum coloured under side to the leaf or a range of cream/green variegations, from smooth to rough textured.  Flowers are from white to pink to purple, arrange on spikes, giving a feathery effect.  Plectranthus `Zulu Wonder’ is the perfect filler plant for every garden – approximately 75cm in height with a spread of about 1.5m.  Plant Plectranthus shrubs as background plants or individual specimens to add texture to the garden and use the ground covers as bold sweeps for the border.  Good when planted under trees, but remember to give some added nutrients and moisture as the roots of trees will draw all the nutrients, leaving little for the plants at their base to take up.

You should still be feeding your garden on a regular basis – the last lawn fertilizer application possibly at the end of May and the programme resumed at the end of July when growth will restart.  Flowers flowering in Autumn and Winter also need their nutrient supply, so please don’t slacken in that area.

Pay a visit to the Nursery and with selective buying, you will have plants bursting into colour in your garden for every season of the year.

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