Brights for summer

2016-11-09 06:01
 Marigold’s colourful flowers come in shades of orange, yellow, red and bi-coloured.

Marigold’s colourful flowers come in shades of orange, yellow, red and bi-coloured.

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MARIGOLDS are first, offering their warm sunny colours for most of the year and outlasting many other annuals. Their colourful flowers come in shades of orange, yellow, red and bi-coloured, with many flower shapes and sizes to choose from. Zinnia is the other hot companion and they make for great festive colour in a garden with their upright green foliage and kaleidoscope of warm and inviting colours.

Marigolds have made a big comeback in contemporary gardens. Firstly because modern hybridising techniques have yielded a wondrous array of new hybrids and secondly because of the trend towards sustainable gardening (they are pest repellents, while attracting butterflies).

The modern hybrids are very uniform in growth and stay compact, making them a superb choice. Whether you have a border or edging that needs creating, a container that needs filling, a vegetable patch that needs a natural pesticide or just a dry sunny flowerbed begging for some company, marigolds can fill that gap. They also look very attractive when inter-planted with other bedding plants like salvias, purple basil or verbenas.

With all this warmth in colour,be plant in full sun and this hardy little annual is a favourite for many reasons but being water wise is at the top of that list so don’t over water.

When planting Marigolds, it is advisable to pinch back the stems. This will allow for more side branching which in turn will produce a sturdier plant. Marigolds do not require particularly fertile soil and in fact if the soil is too nutritious this will encourage foliage growth to the detriment of the flowers.

Zinnias are great companions for Marigolds as they also enjoy basking in full sun and are very drought and heat tolerant. To promote a longer flowering period, deadhead spent blooms to encourage new ones to bud. Zinnias are butterfly and bee magnets, bringing much needed life to spring gardens. They are perfect for containers or as a bold border for your garden beds.
For more information, go to www.lifeisa garden.co.za
-Bedding Plant Growers Association.

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