Dainty Autumn Blooms
Alyssum is a stalwart in any and every garden. If you need a very good reason to plant it, how about this one: Bees, butterflies, birds and other “good” insects are very partial to Alyssum. This is as a result of the strong honey fragrance of the flowers as well as the nectar it produces.
The dainty foliage and petite flowers give Gypsophila its gorgeously apt common name, Baby’s Breath. These dainty flowers are great for cut flowers in flower arrangements, even though their stems are quite short.
Alyssum enjoys sun or semi-shade and prefers a rich, very well drained soil. It tolerates light frost and grows ±15cm tall and ±20cm wide. Available colours include white, pink, purple, citrus, violet, lavender and deep rose.
The uses for Alyssum are varied. Generally used as a filler in containers, it has a slightly aggressive trailing habit and spills beautifully over the edges of pots and hanging baskets. Due to this trailing and mounding habit it creates a wonderful, thick carpet of colour in your flower beds if planted en masse. Alyssum is shallow rooted, low and spreading and because of this habit, you can use it as a “living mulch”. It helps to reduce the rate of evaporation of moisture in the soil and assists in controlling the ever present, lurking weeds.
Gypsophila, a finely textured but elegant annual bears copious amounts of small semi-double flowers, starting in late spring all through the summer. The compact, mound forming habit which reaches around 15-20cm in height will dazzle you with heaps of flowers if you enrich the soil with compost or fertiliser during its growing season.
Thriving in full sun or partial shade, gypsophila need soil that is well-draining. Having average water needs, it needs regular watering but never overwatering as it will cause rot. For an extra flush of flowers in summer, give it a light trim when you see it start blooming less.
Celery, an incredibly popular veggie, is used in all sorts of ways, from eating it raw dipped in mayonnaise and in salads all the way through to soups and stews! You can even just pick their aromatic leaves fresh throughout the year if you remember to crop your plant so it doesn’t produce flowers and then set seed.
Celery enjoy full sun with well-drained and preferably composted soil. Mature plants are frost hardy so no need to go without during winter! You can harvest just the leaves or single stems off the outside if you don’t want to pull out the whole plant.
Diascia, another gorgeous annual for your garden is our pot choice for the month. Bear in mind though that you get both upright and trailing varieties, so make sure you’ve got the right one for what you want to achieve. The trailing variety is a natural choice for containers and hanging baskets as it will spill its dainty flowers over the edges. Diascia flowers may be small, at only 1cm in diameter, but they bloom so profusely, offering masses of colour, especially in autumn when most other flowers are finished.
Tolerating moderate frost, diascia are not only easy to grow but disease resistant too. Using a fertiliser every three weeks will help if they are planted in containers which restrict their roots, but don’t over fertilise or you’ll end up with more leaves than flowers!