IN THE GARDEN
I don’t know about you, but we seemed to have an abnormal number and variety of caterpillars in the garden this summer. Preferring to let nature take its course as much as possible, I have avoided spraying and kept reminding myself that these creatures have an ecological role to play and aren’t ravenous worms for long. The result has of course been a rather “holey” garden!
With its cooling temperatures and the flowers that only come around at this time of the year, autumn is always a season to be savoured.
View from my bedroom window - Blue ginger
The huge gorgeous blooms of Rudbeckia hirta
Cobaea - never without flowers!
Japanese anemones brighten my day
Rumours are that we are in for a very cold winter, so it might also be a good time to start making plans for protecting our plants through the coming months, especially in those regions that are prone to severe frost.
IN THE NURSERY
Click here to view all the plants in this newsletter on the website.
· Indigenous plants
Aspilia mossambicensis is a lovely rounded medicinal perennial with narrow elliptical leaves and clusters of yellow flowers all season. Widespread in South Africa, it has done exceptionally well in my garden. Plant in full sun.
For those looking for some colour around a pond or some other form of water feature, Hesperantha coccinea is a good choice. This sun-loving deciduous clump forming bulb with long narrow leaves has bright red (and paler) star shaped flowers from summer to autumn. A hardy plant that grows on average 75cm high.
The bog plant Nymphoides thunbergiana is another one that might of interest to gardeners with a water feature. Also deciduous and sun-loving, this fast growing aquatic perennial has flat, rounded floating leaves and unusual dainty star-shaped yellow flowers with a feathery edge from summer to autumn. With a spread of 1.5m, it acts as a habitat for invertebrates and juvenile fish.
Salvias are such rewarding plants in any garden. Salvia African Sky is a 70cm high twiggy shrublet with small leathery grey-green leaves and spikes of light blue flowers from summer to autumn. An indigenous garden hybrid, it is evergreen and hardy and likes sun to semi-shade.
· Exotic plants
The tree tomato, Cyphomandra betacae, has become quite popular in recent years as an unusual addition to the vegetable garden. A single trunked approximately 2m high tree, it bears prolifically in the summer. The fruits are somewhat sweeter than regular tomatoes. It is evergreen and semi-hardy, and like its distant relations, wants full sun.
Fuchsia alpestris is considered by some to be the best climbing fuchsia. Hailing from Brazil, this lax evergreen climber is considered by some to be the best climbing fuchsia. It has long narrow dark green leaves and pendant red and purple flowers in summer. It grows on average 2m high, and likes semi-shade.
Phlomus fruticosa, also known as Jerusalem sage, is an upright Mediterranean shrub which likes full sun and dry sandy soil. Reaching an average height of 1.2m, it has lovely crinkled grey leaves and clusters of yellow flowers in summer. It is evergreen and hardy.
With the rather intimidating Latin name of Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides, the Mexican flame vine is a fast growing climber with soft lime green leaves and dazzling orange fragrant daisy-like flowers that attract bees and butterflies from summer to autumn. Growing to an average height of 3m, it lends itself well to a trellis or obelisk. It is evergreen and semi-hardy, and likes full sun.
Here's wishing everyone a blessed and peaceful Easter, and happy gardening!
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