Taking stock

2015-07-08 06:00
Stocks come in a variety of colours.

Stocks come in a variety of colours.

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THEIR spicy scent and long-lasting flowers make stocks a favourite for gardens and cut flowers in the home with perfume that lasts for days. Matthiola incana was named after Pietro Andrea Matthioli, a 16th century Italian physician and naturalist who first identified the plant in the Mediterranean.

According to the language of flowers, stocks symbolise bonds of affection and promptness with a meaning that reads “you’ll always be beautiful to me”. The common name for the most popular variety for bedding is the 10-week-old stock which, as per its name, flowers about 10 weeks after planting and could have some link to the “promptness” reference.

It is advisable to buy seedlings that are already established. An important tip is not to plant them in the same place every year. The soil needs to be left to rest and recover.

Stocks love sunning themselves in full sun, but can handle semi-shade as well. Tolerating harsh frost is one of their plusses with the other major draw-card being their scented blooms which are a winner as cut flowers and used indoors during winter and spring. Stocks are not big on maintenance, but regular watering and feeding will make your display come alive with colourful and vibrant flowers.

Seedlings should be planted during autumn and winter, but plant seeds at the end of summer or early autumn. Seedlings should be spaced around a 30cm apart in soil that has a healthy dose of compost and fertiliser to give them the best start. Available in colours from purple and rose to cream and white, they are a lovely addition to any garden. For more information go to www.lifeisagarden. co.za - Bedding Plant Growers Association

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