Time to prep the summer garden.
Pentas lanceolata beautiful pink flowers macro, blume , fleur, phool, huā also known as Egyptian starcluster, is a species of flowering plant in the madder family, Rubiaceae
Getting together outdoors is the safest way to socialise, and as we move into the festive season, our gardens may be the best place for that. That means paying more attention so it always looks welcoming.
Replacing the coffee shop get-together with an invitation to tea in the garden, is part of the worldwide shift in the way we socialise.
According to the latest Garden Trends Report by the Garden Media Group, more than half of US adults are spending two additional hours a day outside since lockdowns started.
Even better, 16 million new gardeners have emerged in America, many in the 33 to 45-year age bracket. That seems to be true for South Africa, too. Following the rain, the time is just right and the conditions perfect to prepare the garden for its summer prime.
Give the lawn a boost of nitrogen-rich fertiliser (5:1:5) and water well afterwards. Because the days are so hot, mow the lawn high so the blades shade the roots. Trim and shape shrubs and to allow in the light and space for other plants to thrive.
If plants were not fertilised in spring, this is a good time to do it. Just water well afterwards. A general 8:1:5 granular fertiliser or Vigorosa (5:1:5) provides a balance of nutrients.
Spring annuals will be coming to an end. If they are looking tired, whip them out and add them to the compost heap. Gaps in the garden offer an opportunity for new plants. Planted now, easy-growing summer annuals and perennials will keep the garden looking good until winter.
Perennial alstroemeria are always showy summer flowers and the alstroemeria Summer Paradise garden range is more compact, forming an upright clump (60cm high and wide) that keeps its shape and produces a wealth of flowers.
Alstroemeria Summer Red is for gardeners who love bright pops of colour, especially over the festive season.
Summer Sky wears its flowers like a light, summer dress with an abundance of white petals flushed with delicate yellow. These plants flower best in full sun, fertile soil that drains well and are watered regularly. Being compact, they don’t need staking.
As the flowers fade, cut or twist off the stems at the base, leaving the tubers in the ground. The foliage dies down in winter but shoots out quickly in spring. Prevent slug and snail damage of young plants with organic Ferramol snail bait.
Pentas is another summer perennial that needs little care, but always looks tidy. Its vibrant blooms attract bees, butterflies, and sunbirds. A compact variety is Pentas Lucky Star Lipstick that has been bred to rebloom faster, so it appears to flower non-stop from spring through summer.
The neat plant (40cm high and wide) grows best in full sun and thrives in heat and humidity. When first planted, water once a week or more to avoid wilting. Once established watering can be reduced as it is not a thirsty plant. Fertilise once a month with Vigorosa or similar 5:1:5 fertiliser.
The zinnia Zahara range has durable summer annuals that provide great colour and don’t mind sunny, hot and dry conditions. Zahara Double has large, pickable pom-pom-like flowers that don’t fade and make lovely mini bouquets.
The bushy plants (40 to 50cm high and wide) are a useful mid level plant for sunny beds and borders or in containers. Plant in well-drained soil and water regularly. Space plants 20 to 25cm apart, for good air circulation
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