My good friend and fellow no-holds-barred plant enthusiast Jason Sampson of Pretoria University recently said, “My favourite colour is October.” I couldn’t agree more. All but the most neglected gardens are a riot of flowers at this time of year and I for one have fallen in love with my garden again – as I do every Spring!
Although I don’t think Jason was only alluding to the jacarandas that are synonymous with October in Pretoria, all of those gorgeous flowering trees lining our streets have drawn my attention to the many shades of purple in my own patch of land. The colour of royalty, purple comes in the range of shades from the soft mauve of the Vitex to the intense colour of Cobaea scandens and Ruellia brittoniana. Purple gives way to rich blues in the Iris siberica and the spectacular salvias – Salvia Costa Rica blue, Salvia African Sky, and Salvia Peru Blue. Then there is the very special two-toned butterfly blooms of Rotheca caerulea. Of course, Wisteria is not to be forgotten. Mine has finished flowering but we do have plants (the flowering variety!) in the nursery. And to set off the riot of purples (and reds and oranges and yellows and …), there is the lovely serene white of the deutzias.
What a joy this time of year is in the garden.
Abutilon Ashford red
Euphorbia and begonia making a show
The spectacular flower of Passiflora fato confetto
Rotheca caerulea - difficult to photograph but looking beautiful in the garden
Caledendrum capense - a reminder to look up!
IN THE NURSERY
Click here to go to our new page on the website showing all the plants featured in this newsletter.
· Indigenous plants
Senecio speciosus is a tough 50cm high clump forming perennial with a basal rosette of toothed leaves and sprays if lilac pink flowers from winter to summer. It is evergreen and hardy and likes full sun.
A low growing (25cm) evergreen grassland perennial, Silene bellidioides has sticky stems and furry lance shaped leaves. It is very hardy and can take semi shade. Moths pollinate the delicate white scented star shaped flowers.
Agapanthus inapertus is the indigenous drooping agapanthus, a very hardy clump forming deciduous grassland bulb with upright narrow strap like leaves and striking flower umbels in summer. It grows about 75cm in height and wants full sun. We have the dark purple and sky blue variety in stock.
If you’re looking for something larger to fill a gap in a sunny or semi shady spot, try the gorgeous Sclerochiton harveyanus, a 2m high upright shrub with small glossy almost two tone leaves and scented dark blue flowers from summer to autumn. It is evergreen and hardy. Its white-flowered sister Sclerochiton odoratissima is just as attractive.
And last but not least, we have quite a selection of Polygalas in stock; shrubs with their pretty pea like flowers. The taller varieties are useful for cut flowers.
· Exotic plants
The flowers of Neomarica caerulea are so lovely – dark blue with a brown centre. This is a large rhizomatous perennial which flowers from spring to summer and grows to about 1.6m in height. It is hardy and evergreen and wants semi shade. Equally useful in a mixed border or as an accent plant.
Strobilanthes attenuata is a spreading 50cm high rounded perennial with heart shaped furry lime green leaves and hooded violet flowers in summer. Hardy and evergreen, it likes semi shade.
Lavatera clementii has greyish maple like leaves and saucer shaped lilac pink flowers from summer and autumn. A very hardy evergreen shrub, it reaches a height of about 1.5m and can take sun or semi shade. It needs to be pruned hard in spring.
We also have a large assortment of salvias (including some new ones) and Buddlejas for sale.
For the next three weeks we will only be selling our remaining Louisiana irises in bulk; an opportunity for you to purchase 25 or more rhizomes at R20 each. Click here for more information.
Seboko earthworm compost (click here for more information) is an organic alternative for gardeners who don’t like to go the inorganic route but even if you are not a purist, I highly recommend it as an extremely effective fertiliser. We have in stock for anyone looking to perk up their garden.
There is an article in the November issue of SA Garden & Home on some of the special climbers we have in the garden. Pick up a copy when you are out and about.
I seem to have been doing quite extensive driving around in the last couple of weeks. Yes, we have our beautiful arbours of jacaranda trees in the city but how wonderful to get out into the country and enjoy what the new season has to offer elsewhere.
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