September always kicks off with
Arbor Week and this year it officially kicks off on Monday 31 August and runs
until Friday 4 September.
of the year is the Cape ash or essenhout Ekebergia capensis, which is a
stunning, lush evergreen tree that grows in many parts of the country, except
the regions with heavy frost. It has fragrant flowers and its fruit attracts
many birds and mammals.
tree of the year is the baobab or kremetart Adansonia digitata. Also
known as the upside-down tree, it dominates the Limpopo landscape with its
swollen trunk and limbs. It yields the coveted cream-of-tartar fruits and can
be grown in frost-free areas.
Tip: The initiative of Arbor Week is to promote the greening of
communities. Celebrate Arbor Week by planting either of the above two trees or
any other trees or shrubs. If they are indigenous and water-wise that would be
a bonus. It is said that Life is a Garden … so create yours and celebrate the
plants you love most.
There is a multitude of both
flowering and edible seeds that can be sown now. Visit your local GCA Garden
Centre to see the range and perhaps consider one or more of the many tomato varieties
available to sow now:
Roma – Firm,
fleshy with few seeds. Great for canning and cooking. Fairly long shelf life.
High yields, it requires a trellis or stakes.
Heinz – Large
fruit with rich tomato flavour. One of the first tomatoes to be used to make
Heinz ketchup. Requires a trellis or stakes
tomatoes – Several on the market. Bite-size and has a delicious flavour, is
small and round and can be eaten whole in salads.
pear – An heirloom variety with small yellow pear-shaped fruit.
Another Heirloom tomato with enormous heart-shaped fruit. Mild, sweet flavour.
Tip: There are rainbow coloured cherry tomatoes such as Green Zebra, Clear Pink, B black striped and even Green Sausage seeds available for those of you that want to be a little different and create a talking point at the dinner table.
Our indigenous Clivias are
favourites worldwide and it’s not difficult to see why when they bloom in
well in pots.
multiply and spread to fill shady beds.
Tip: There are many different hybrid Clivias. If you are a Clivia fan or would like to see some of the more unusual Clivias, take some time off and visit a local Clivia show this spring.
fruit trees preventatively every 2 weeks for Codling Moths and Fruit Flies.
spraying after about 80% of the flower petals have dropped so that you give the
bees enough time to pollinate the flowers.
Make sure you
alternate the insecticides you use so that the fruit fly cannot build up a
resistance to any one insecticide. Ask your local GCA Garden Centre for
Tip: It would be wise to use spraying in conjunction with a fruit fly
Spring is the correct time to feed the plant roots to activate good root growth at the beginning of the season. Good roots make good, strong plants. This is most applicable to lawns and leafy plants. Use Bio Ganic for Lawns on your lawn, and All Purpose for your leafy plants.
Flowering plants, shrubs and fruit trees will benefit from early season fertilising too. We recommend that you fertilise with Bio Ocean , the key ingredient seaweed, contains a range of naturally occurring minerals and growth stimulants which help maximise plant growth.
Tip: When you ask your local GCA Garden Centre for advice be sure to
mention your preference for either chemical or organic fertiliser.
Focus on annual Phlox
The flowers are mostly flat and star-shaped in a variety of colours including violet, pink, blue, red, white and cream. Flowers are fragrant and should be deadheaded regularly to encourage more flowers.
Phlox prefer full sun to light shade, require good drainage and well-composted soils.
Tip: Phlox are easy to care for as long as you understand that they
prefer moist soil and that drying out
too much hinders growth and flowering.
Balcony or pot plants
Cape daisies or Osteospermums:
eye-catching flowers in a range of colours.
Easy to grow.
freely and love to cascade over the sides of pots or troughs.
Its heritage month so why not brag
about our own indigenous plants a little?
honeysuckles Tecoma capensis:
Flower mostly in autumn but sometimes flower sporadically
throughout the year.
Can be used as a formal or informal hedge.
Flower colour ranges from red, yellow,orange and salmon.
Attract birds and butterflies.
kingfisher daisy (Felicia bergeriana) and the blue marguerite (Felicia
Striking small blue daisy-like blue flowers with button-like
Both have variegated forms and are all gems in the front of garden
borders or in mixed containers.
Spring fever is in the air, here
are a few things you may forget to look at in the garden:
New beds on a
slope and newly terraced areas should be planted up with groundcovers so that
they can bind the soil before the summer rains.
beautiful arches, arbour benches, obelisks and other decorative items that will
add a new dimension or feature to your garden.
Tip: Spring is the time that garden centres feature new and exciting
products as well as loads of explosively colourful plants – do yourself a
favour and go into your favourite GCA Garden Centre…. you will not be
The bulk of spring planting is
almost behind us and that gives you a little breathing space to look at:
rust on metal features in the garden before the summer rains start, (excludes
the Cape winter rainfall region).
Tip: Baking soda and steel wool are a home remedy you may want to try.