Posts Tagged ‘ Bedding plants ’

Is black the new green

Posted on: October 21st, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Henry Ford famously said, “You can have any colour, as long as it’s black”. Little did he know just how in vogue black would become in all aspects of design, including gardening. It never seems to go out of style. Black may not be the first colour you think of when gardening, but it is perfect to add depth and little drama. Black is bold and makes a strong statement. It looks super sophisticated and makes other colours around it pop.

Here is a list of black and purple-black plants to have fun with in the garden:
  • Ficus Robusta Burgundy is a popular indoor air-filtering plant with large glossy, dark leaves and is easy to grow.
  • Colocasia ‘Black Magic’, or black elephant’s ear, has very large, dramatic leaves and is well suited to a shady spot in the garden.
  • Petunia ‘Black Velvet’ is an eye-catcher and looks great in the garden for both pots and hanging baskets in the sun. It is the new darling in a trend towards black-flowered plants.
  • Ophiopogon ‘Black Dragon’ is a stunning black strappy grass-like perennial that looks better and better the denser the foliage becomes with age. It produces dainty flowers of pale violet with shiny blackberries. Popular for mass planting contrast or in a mixed contemporary container.

Tip: Black dragon looks amazing when planted next to the light grey leaf of Stachys byzantine or lamb’s ear.

Life is a Garden – Is black the new green
  • Ipomoea batatas, or coral bells, is of the ornamental sweet potato family. They have beautifully shaped leaves and can be stunningly paired with the lime green or pinkish version of the same plant. They look stunning when trailing or tumbling over objects and grow well in a dry shady spot.
  • Heuchera, or coral bells, have deep red and purple options. Their attractive large leaves and oomph to the surroundings. Their flowers are delicate and colourful and they do well in a dry shady spot.
  • The Black Madonna rose grows to shoulder height and the blooms make ideal cut-flowers.
  • Back Magic roses also grow to shoulder height. They are good cut-flowers and are free flowering.
  • The Black Berry rose grows to shoulder height and can produce fifty or more medium-sized roses at a time. It is good as a cut flower and is free flowering.
  • Alternanthera ‘Little Ruby’ has deep burgundy foliage making it a real stand out plant in the garden.
  • Lagerstroemia indica, known also as Black Diamond, Purely Purple, Pride of India, or even crape myrtle, has black leaves that contrast beautifully with its vibrant purple blooms. They will grow three to six metres high and love well-drained soil.

 

  • Brinjal, aubergine or eggplant, are easy to grow and a very rewarding “Old World” plant. They come in a range of black varieties including Black Beauty, Napoli, Long Purple, Oriental Fingerlings, Florence Violet and several others.
  • Phyllostachys nigra, or black bamboo, has graceful weeping foliage and striking black stems. They are a firm favourite when you want to create an oriental feel.
  • Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’, or Black Rose Aeonium, is one of the most striking plants to include. This very unusual water-wise succulent has a rose shape on top of long stems.
  • Rock rose (Echevaria) have a few dark coloured varieties with the most common deliciously named Chocolate. These water-wise succulents are amazing in rock gardens or tumbling over walls or the edges of pots and hanging baskets.
  • Last, but not least is what expert gardeners call well-composted soil - black gold. Compost is so valuable for increasing the fertility of the soil as it adds rich microbial life and turns sterile soil into rich, black soil that plants really respond to. Note: good soil = good roots = good plant.

Tip: Black Violas, although out of season, are amazingly scrummy edible flowers that add a dramatic contrast to salads and dishes.

Neat to know: Lime green, orange, pale pink and blue have the greatest contrast against black.

October in the Garden October Check List

Posted on: September 23rd, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
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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.

Sow edibles

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.

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Sow edibles

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.

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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.

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Bedding plants

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.

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Rose Care

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.
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Inland Gardening

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.

 

Coastal Gardening

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.

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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!