September is here – the sun is getting warmer, and our gardens are showing new signs of life. Spring is the perfect time to look at your garden with fresh eyes, make some changes and plan for the summer months ahead.
The month of September is the perfect time to plant an indigenous tree in your gardens – at home, office parks and schools – especially as we are currently losing many of our trees to the invasive Shothole Borer.
The 1st to the 7th of September is national Arbor week in South Africa – a time when South Africans of all ages are encouraged to celebrate the beauty and importance of trees. The trees of the year for 2019 are:
Common Tree of The Year: Sclerocarya birrea Marula Maroela. Rare (Uncommon) Tree of The Year: Philenoptera violacea Apple-leaf, Appelblaar.
What to Sow:
During summer months, having fresh salad supplies ready to pick from your garden is a win! September is the time to sow lettuce, spring onion and tomato seeds, ready for your summer salads.
What to Plant
A perfect plant to fill your shaded gardens with bright, long-lasting colour in summer is Impatients. The new Beacon Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) offers high resistance to downy mildew and won’t collapse due to this destructive disease. For lasting colour plant your Impatients in fertile, well-drained soil in shade or partial sun. For optimal results fertilise your Impatients with Bio Ocean. Beacon Impatiens are also great for baskets, window boxes, and containers, but will need a steady supply of water.
What to Spray:
You know that spring has arrived when you smell the Jasmine and see the orange blaze as the indigenous Clivia’s start to emerge from their buds. Watch out for the lily borer in your Clivia’s. The caterpillar and their larvae damage the stems and leaves and if left untreated will cause a lot of damage. If you see any traces of larvae or damage to the plant, apply contact insecticide every two weeks to control. Visit your nearest Garden Centre GCA to find a suitable treatment.
What to Feed:
Rejuvenate your lawn in September by applying a lawn dressing – a mixture of well-balanced organic matter and weed-free soil. A thin layer should be spread on established lawns to level an uneven surface or help a lawn recover after an icy winter. It would help if you also replenished nutrients by adding a nitrogen-rich fertiliser, such as Bio Ganic Lawns. Chat to the friendly experts at your nearest Garden Centre GCA for the best products to use.
What to Prune:
Maintenance is the heart of gardening, and September is an excellent time to get in there with some pinching, deadheading, and pruning. Your flower garden will be healthier and lusher and will stay in bloom throughout the season. Most flowers benefit from having their spent flowers removed. This is called deadheading. Flowers that repeat-bloom will often do so only if the old, dying flowers are removed. If the dead flowers remain on the plant, they will go to seed, and the plant will stop producing flowers.
Some plants have very crisp, thin stems and can be deadheaded using your fingers. This type of deadheading is called pinching. Some plants that can be pinched include daylilies, salvia, and coleus. Coleus are grown for their foliage, not their flowers. Pinching off the flowers encourages the plants to become bushier and fuller.
From the middle of September, you should pinch prune your Hybrid Tea roses. This encourages new basal growth, green leaves and root development. It spreads out the flowering cycle so that there is an almost continual supply of roses instead of one or two main flushes. Pinch –prune about a third of the shoots. Increase watering to at least twice a week and fertilise with Atlantics Flower & Fruit fortnightly. Be sure to read the application instructions before applying.
Watch out for aphids, thrips, bollworm and powdery mildew.
To be effective, the spraying of roses for the control of pests and diseases needs to be carried out properly and with the correct understanding of both the pest and the applicable pesticides. One does get a canola oil, based pesticide combined with a systemic action fungicide which is a certified organic option. Visit your local Garden Centre GCA for advice on the best products to use to meet your needs.
Edibles in your Garden
There is something very satisfying about being able to go into your garden and pick something homegrown to use as ingredients in your cooking. The tomato is an almost indispensable part of meal preparation in many South African homes, and it even has its own week…YUP, the 24th to the 30th of September is tomato week.
Low in calories and rich in vitamins A and C, potassium and iron, it deserves to be celebrated.
Don’t worry if you have limited space, as many types of tomato will grow happily in window boxes and containers. Soil preparation is the key – include generous amounts of compost and, because tomatoes flourish in conditions with low nitrogen, high phosphorous and moderate potassium, incorporate a complete fertiliser such as Bio Ocean. It takes about six to eight weeks for a fertilised flower to develop into mature fruit. Depending on the type, the ripe tomato could be yellow, orange or any one of many shades of red. The flavour and nutrient content of tomatoes are best if they are allowed to ripen on the plant.
Spring is in the air, and with it, many of our favourite plants are blooming. No South African garden should be without the beautiful blazing orange of a blooming Clivia. Clivia minniata is one of our more famous plants in South Africa and it has managed to find its way into gardens around the globe. Not only do Clivias produce amazing flowers during spring, but they also continuously multiply over time. What’s more, being indigenous, they are used to our extreme South African weather.
Clivias prefer to be planted under evergreen trees or shady areas. They also work great in containers, which enables one to move them around. They dislike the hot afternoon sun which can burn their leaves and should also be sheltered from heavy frosts. A soil with adequate drainage and loads of organic matter topped off with a layer of mulch is preferable. To get the best out of your Clivias feed them before and after flowering with Bio Ocean. Packed full of goodness, Bio Ocean will help maximise plant growth without burning your plant.
Colourful flowers in pots are an ideal way to brighten up any area in your garden, patio or balcony. September’s potted garden top picks are: Roses, Marigolds, Impatiens and Begonias. All you need is the right location and enough room for a large container, and you will be able to transform your area into a fragrant retreat glowing with colour.
For sunny spots plant:
For shady spots plant:
(Gauteng, Free State, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo)
With the rainy season upon us, ensure that your rainwater harvesting systems are set up and connected correctly. Clean out your gutters to ensure proper water run-off and to make sure your collected rainwater is as clean as possible.
Get your summer herb garden planted with these easy to grow summer herbs:
Thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, basil, rocket, parsley and mint. Buy your seedlings from a Garden Centre GCA renowned for quality plants and frequent deliveries of fresh stock.
Plant your summer-flowering bulbs
(Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal)
September is a great time to refresh, top-up or replace pebbles and gravel around the garden – especially between paving stones where dust and mud have accumulated.
Check for algae and moss on paving. Scrub down with a solution of copper sulphate or use a moss killer.
Create a pretty spring border with the following indigenous flowering plants: Gazanias, Arctotis, Blue Felicias, Scabiosas and Cape daisies.
Buy your seedlings from your local Garden Centre GCA.
Plant these Beauties to add some colour
Now is an excellent time to prune your Hibiscus, Poinsettia and other winter-flowering shrubs. Pruning your Hibiscus will help stimulate budding on new shoots. It also rejuvenates the plant after their long winter nap while encouraging them to maintain an attractive appearance and healthy, vigorous growth. The flowers of the Poinsettia have actually modified leaf structures called bracts. Once these have wilted and begun to die off, the Poinsettia requires a thorough pruning. Poinsettias may also require some trimming throughout the growing season to remain full and healthy. Give your winter-flowering shrubs an added nutrient boost with Bio Ocean to ensure sustained growth.