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Sow your cosmos now
If you sow cosmos seed now, directly into the garden soil, you will have a lot of flowers to pick later.
Plant amarylis in pots
• Prepare the soil by adding lots of compost and rake finely afterwards to achieve a crumbly medium.
Use good quality potting soil that drains well, and pots that are just a tad bigger than the bulb’s own width.
• Sow on a still and windless day in moist soil. Gently tamp the seeds down into the soil and immediately water with a soft rose spray.
Beware the planting depth
• Keep the soil consistently moist but not drenched. (If the weather is very hot water
The bulb’s ‘shoulder’ must protrude above the soil surface and the ‘nose’ should reach to just above the pot’s rim. Keep the pots in a warm, well-lit position and the soil always moist.
lightly twice a day until germination.) • As soon as the first real leaves appear, reduce watering and prick out and replant the seedlings if they are growing too closely together. Add a light mulch around them. • Feed the seedlings every two weeks with a growth stimulant containing seaweed or a water-soluble fertiliser. • Pinch out the growing points to encourage bushy plants with lots of flowers.
‘Aggie’ Tips • Keep agapanthus plants happy by planting them in full sun or light shade, watering regularly (but don’t overdo it), and feeding them with a slow-release fertiliser in spring. • Watch out for lily borer in warmer weather. They make tunnels in the leaves and tunnel into the centre of the plants. Find and catch them by hand or use a contact insecticide that contains cypermethrin, or use Protek Complete. • Rust is a fungal disease that causes brown spots on the leaves. The leaves can become yellow and drop off. Treat with a copper-based fungicide.
Photos: Life is a Garden
Pretty blooms for a dry garden
Limonium perezii Statice (Limonium perezii) is an evergreen perennial that forms a rosette of large, leathery leaves. It grows in the sun in most soils as long as it is well drained. It is drought tolerant once established, but needs regular watering when newly planted. This is a reliable, lowmaintenance plant. You only need to remove the old foliage to keep the plant tidy and looking good. The statice plant flowers year-round but has more flowers in spring and summer. It has large clusters of bicolour white and purple-blue blooms on stems ranging from 15 – 60cm tall. The flowers last forever and are excellent cut flowers both fresh and dried as they retain their colour.
New Zealand rock lily (Arthropodium cirratum) is well known not only as a perfect shade plant, but also as an excellent coastal plant. This is a clumpforming, herbaceous perennial with soft, lush, lime-green foliage that brings form and colour to any garden bed. The strap-like leaves surround ma=sses of delicate, starry, white flowers that occur abundance in late spring to summer on a flower spike approximately 60cm in height. This is a tough and maintenancefree plant.
Mulch trees Apply mulches around all shrubs and trees after the first spring rain to conserve moisture in the soil around them.
Rand stretchers for large areas
Plant cheap, fast-growing indigenous perennials like Dietes bicolour (yellow wild iris) and Dietes grandiflora (fairy iris) if you have large beds to fill on a tight budget. The yellow wild iris prefers full sun to flower well and needs regular watering, whereas the fairy iris accepts both sun and light shade and will tolerate periods of drought with ease. Both are wind and frost hardy. They soon form thick clumps that can be divided from time to time to get more plants. Both of these species are perfect next to a water features and both can be teamed up with agapanthus and Tulbaghia violacea (wild garlic).
Let’s trim our daisy bushes Marguerite daisies (Argyranthemum) bloom profusely in the cooler months like spring, but tend to loose steam when it becomes hot in summer. To encourage another great flower flush in autumn you need to give them a light prune by removing dead flowers and some stems. • Cut about 1⁄3 off of the bush, clipping it into a neat, rounded form. • Give them a dose of slow-release fertiliser. • Water well afterwards.
Supplied by The Gardener magazine www.thegardener.co.za
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