October in the Garden
October is the month of flowering profusion with the queen of flowers, the rose, putting on a glorious first flush of blooms in the Highveld. Roses have also become synonymous with Garden Day, happening on Sunday 11 October this year. Since Life is a Garden, let’s spend some quality time celebrating our green sanctuaries on Garden Day, regardless of their size – potted window sills and patio planters deserve a little celebration too.
The “grow to eat” concept of shortening the food chain time from soil to plate is growing in popularity. Edible gardening is easy and fun, regardless of the size of your space. Life is a Garden, so if gardening means a few potted plants, so be it!
It’s always exciting to try out new varieties. Here are a few amazing new squashes to tempt you:
- Lemon sun squash is a patty pan that produces sweet and tender fruits on vigorous plants. The male flowers are also perfect for frying.
- Easy pick gold and easy pick green squash are smooth textured no-fuss zucchinis.
- Butterbaby squash is a small, sweet butternut that can be grown up a trellis to save space.
- Honeynut squash is another mini butternut that has exceptionally sweet fruit, is easy to germinate and produces high yields of fruit.
- If you want to try something funky then sample the vegetable spaghetti squash. It has unique flesh that separates into long, clear strings, which resemble pasta. It has a slight crunch with a mild squash flavour and can be used just like spaghetti. It’s the ideal way to get small children into eating veggies and also the perfect vegan spaghetti.
Tip: Don’t forget to include a South African favourite, the gem squash or squash Rolet or Little Gem. Continue spraying for fruit flies and codling moth. If you have not started or are unsure of what to use, consult your local GCA Garden Centre.
The seed racks at your local GCA Garden Centre will be filled with a full summer range of flower, herb and veggie seeds to be sown now.
Tip: Remember to sow your watermelon seeds in early to mid-October if you want them ready to eat at Christmas. They are usually ready to harvest 70 to 85 days after sowing.
What to Plant
Plant amaryllis bulbs now if you want them to be in flower for December. They flower 8 to 10 weeks after planting.
What to Spray
Powdery mildew, thrips and mites are active at this time of year. Contact your local GCA Garden Centre for assistance on how to combat them if you see signs of them in your garden.
What to Feed
If you want to get the most out of your Hydrangea’s flower colour, feed them with either pink or blue hydrangea food accordingly. Blue Hydrangeas require an acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 or lower. Pink Hydrangeas require more neutral to alkaline soils with a pH of 6.5 and higher.
Look out for:
- Shade: Beacon Impatiens or busy lizzies this spring since they are Downy Mildew resistant.
- Semi-shade: Harmon New Guinea Impatiens. They produce vast numbers of beautiful flowers in exquisite shades, including some bi-colours. They are very floriferous with the plants being covered in bloom all season long. They will be very eye-catching in focal areas, containers and hanging baskets.
- Semi-shade to full sun: Sunpatiens are strong and less prone to disease and are able to tolerate high heat and humidity, rain and adverse weather conditions.
Tip: Sunpatiens like other impatiens require regular watering.
October is pink month or Breast Cancer Awareness month. In honour of pink, here are some stunning pink Celebrity roses that you may want to have in your garden:
- Princess Charlene de Monaco: A beautiful Hybrid Tea rose, which has very fragrant double flowers, light apricot to shell pink in colour. It has excellent disease resistance and a good choice for use as a cut flower.
- Thuli Madonsela rose: This novel rose is vigorous, with strong roots, and disease-resistant leaves, able to thrive despite climatic stresses – just like her name suggests. The striking two-tone pink and white blooms have a perfect hybrid tea shape but carried in abundant clusters. The colour is prominent, feminine pink and white for purity. Grows to about 1.4m high.
- Anneli van Rooyen rose: An extremely free-flowering hybrid tea that loves when the sun brings out its exquisite colour - a blend of deep cream to coral. Grows to shoulder height.
- Patricia Lewis rose: A family favourite that’s even thorn free rendering excellent cut flowers. The medium sized, pointed buds open slowly, spiralling to exhibit perfection. The glowing colour lingers between deep pink and red. A healthy & energetic grower.
- Elize Cawood rose: It's love at first sight and you won’t have to act impressed with these babies. The shimmering pearl white carries ever-so subtle undertones of soft pink. Every bloom is of a flawless Hybrid Tea shape – perfect for picking as cut flowers.
- Rina Hugo rose: A faithful rose donning classically shaped, pointed buds. It develops into full and elegantly shaped deep magenta-pink blooms. Grown to be vigorous, healthy and strong carrying its large blooms in rich abundance.
- People’s Princess rose: Named after Diana, the Princess of Wales, who was widely loved by people. The pointed, green-hued buds develop into large, firm petalled blooms; deep silk pink, the colour of pigeons’ breasts flows from the tips of the petal edges towards the centre of the high pointed, exhibition shaped flowers.
- Hannon rose: Named after Hannon - the Glam Guru. A new variety of Hybrid Tea rose with deep pink flowers! It blooms and flushes throughout the season and makes the perfect and most stunning cut flower. Grows to about 1m high.
It’s always a good time to assess where you can add to the atmosphere of your garden with the soothing sound of running water. There are loads of different water features that are both decorative and natural in style. Most attract birds and frogs to the garden with the bubbling pot features doubling up as a bird bath. To create movement and add life to your garden, visit your local GCA Garden Centre and see the inspiring range of aquatic peace-makers they have on offer.
Get your garden December ready. Whether you are staying at home or having visitors, now is the time to plant up some extra colour or to add that long-awaited extension to the herb and veggie garden.
Tip: Don’t let your fresh plants be eaten by snails and slugs. Place snail and slug bait in the planted areas. Visit your local GCA Garden Centre for more advice.
October is a busy gardening month with highveld gardens full of spring colour and the Cape coastal areas bidding farewell to the rainy season and getting stuck into summer planting. Life is a garden no matter where you live!