What’s not to love about Lobelia? It is a hassle free and exceptionally rewarding little plant. If it is power flowers you are after then Lobelia is the ticket. Although not considered to be a primary crop it is an essential companion to any bed, basket or container, the final touch to any display and helps to complete the overall look.
Torenia, also known as the wishbone flower, are cheerful, brightly coloured little characters that add much needed colour to those semi-shaded areas in the garden. Their blooms seem to be pulling a tongue, giving these delicate little plants a cheeky and impossible to ignore personality.
With Lobelia’s trailing habit, it makes a particularly good filler for hanging baskets and pots. In flower beds it creates a beautiful, soft edging. Planted en masse, Lobelia makes a striking statement. Although the colours are predominantly blue – purple, midnight blue, mid-blue, sky blue – you will also find rose, lilac, pink and white in the palette. Some are solid colours but most have a little white eye and in the darker colours it is wonderfully contrasting. The foliage colour ranges from a dark bronze to bright green, depending on the variety.
Lobelia should be planted in full morning sun as they appreciate a little afternoon shade. They prefer soil that is rich in organic matter so it is important that you add compost to the soil before planting. Keep the soil moist but not sodden.
Torenia are native to South East Asia and offer an abundance of blooms all through summer and into autumn, until the first frosts hit. They grow quickly so pinch off the new shoots early on to encourage it to bush out into a sturdier plant. They will need protection from any strong winds and for optimum results they enjoy being topped up with some plant food every two weeks.
Torenias are excellent for semi-shaded spots, offering compact (30cm) bushes with dainty blue, purple or pink flowers with yellow throats. These happy campers have a versatile nature and will keep smiling whether they’re used as an edging or planted in beds, hanging baskets or window boxes. Fertile, well-draining soil that keeps moisture in is ideal.
An incredibly fast growing crop, mustard leaves can be planted all through summer and even into autumn. If you enjoy a strong mustard flavour, try planting during warmer months as the flavour becomes progressively less intense as the colder months approach. You can harvest your leaves straight from the growing plant.
Mustard greens can tolerate light frosts, but if your area is frost heavy they probably won’t live for more than a few weeks. Before they are wiped out by frost, rather chop them up, roots and all, to mix back into the soil. Rotting mustard tissue has been known to help suppress nematodes and some common soil diseases!
Potty for Pelargoniums
Indigenous to Africa, Pelargonium peltatum, aka ivy-leafed or cascading geranium is an ideal choice for our container plant this month. Perfect for both hanging baskets and pots, their trailing habit will spill over the edges in no time, creating an eye catching display. Considered to be the hardiest of the pelargoniums available, they will reward gardens with an abundance of blooms without demanding an ideal home. Their flowers of mauve, pink or white are incredibly rewarding when grown in full sun or filtered shade.