February is great for outdoor living and entertaining on our patios, around the pool or braaing and picnicking in our gardens. The end of the month will be a great time to sow Sweet William seed to provide splashes of colour in your happy place. Part of the carnation family, Sweet William, (Dianthus barbatus), bear masses of single flowers that are mostly striped and have pretty, serrated edges, available in pinks, whites, purples, violet and more. Scatter the seeds onto the soil in a sunny spot and water lightly every few days. These biennials have a sweet, peppery perfume and are prized as a cut flower. Their nectar attracts bees, butterflies and birds and they tend to self-seed.
Tip: Start preparing your soil in strips or ridges for the sowing of Sweet Peas in March and April. Don’t forget the trellis or other support framework for them to climb up.
What to Plant
It is a good time to start planning your plantings of winter flowering annuals. Across most of our country cold winter days warm up sufficiently by midday to enjoy a winter braai to compliment the rugby or simply enjoy with friends. Winter and spring flowering annuals provide the colourful WOW factor in your happy place. The nights will start to cool down soon and by March and April you will be able to buy your favourites.
Hold onto your heart, while you get introduced to royalty, the new Petunia “Queen of Hearts” and “King of Hearts”. These two regal gems are set to smitten you with their large flowers bordered by perfectly formed red hearts set in a yellow background, for the Queen, and white background for the King of Hearts. In favourable conditions the flowers often smother the plant…. with their hearts ….. or should we say kisses?
Your garden is your happy place. It provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy life, gives you space to express your creativity and shows appreciation for the time, effort and love you put into it by rewarding you with a luscious landscape. There are so many reasons for you to love your garden this love month, and because gardening is a pure form of love it will bring you happiness in so many ways.
Let your love grow
Gardening teaches us how to nurture little seedlings that are filled with hope and potential, into boastful plants, shrubs and trees. It teaches us to love life in various forms and what you put in is what you get out. Gardening teaches us to be patient and enjoy every moment as we tend to the needs of our newest seedlings through to our established plants that need tending to regularly. Spending time caring for plants helps us to find happiness in the smallest blessings when the first leaf sprouts to the largest blessing of a beautiful, tranquil paradise.
Love is all around
Your garden is living proof of all the love, care and effort you put in. But it doesn’t have to stop there, you can also bring some of the love and happiness of the outdoors indoors with houseplants. There are so many varieties of indoor plants that will transform your home into a living space and bring with it the added benefit of cleaner air, more oxygen and some decorative charm. Whether you have an empty corner or a bare shelf that needs a little something extra, a plant will add life and colour to any area.
Love you long time
Your garden is your happy place and planting a few beautiful flowers and plants on Valentine’s Day is a gift that just keeps on giving.
Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soil - Mario Quintana.
Bees or Butterflies - in your happy place
Without bees there would be very few flowers and even fewer fruits and vegetables since they are our superhero pollinators. If you would like to add more yellow flowering plants to your happy place and attract bees at the same time, here are some ideas: Calendulas, Pansies and Iceland Poppies for winter, yellow flowering Hibiscus, yellow flowering Aloes, Marigolds, Golden Rod, (Solidago spp.), Gazanias, Yellow Clivias, Rudbeckia hirta, Portulaca, Nasturiums, Euryops, Arctotis, Bulbinella and Vygies.
Alternately, if you would like to add blue flowering plants to your happy place and attract butterflies at the same time, here are some ideas: Cornflower, Borage, Lobelia, Blue Michaelmas daisies, Delphiniums, Pansies, Buddleia davidii, Agapanthus, Penstemon, Larkspur, Scabiosa, Plumbago, Wild Peach (Kiggelaria Africana), Geraniums, Ribbon bush (Hypoetes aristata) and Duranta “Sapphire Showers”.
Pentas (Pentas lanceolata), has large clusters of gorgeous, dainty star-like flowers that bloom almost all summer long and attract bees, butterflies and sun birds. Pentas are medium sized semi-hardy shrubs that grow to about 2m in frost free regions and around 1m in areas or moderate frost. They are equally well suited to being planted in a garden bed or in pots. The flowers range in colour from lavender to red, pink or white. Plant this lovely shrub in full sun and in moist, well-drained soil.
Tip: Remove spent blooms to encourage further flowering.
Barberton daisies (Gerbera jamesonii), have showy flowers in the most beautiful, eye-catching colours. They make for fabulous indoor plants and are exquisite gifts for Valentine’s day or any other occasion. Tip: water around the edge of the pot and not close to the stem.