Carpets of Colour

2017-09-27 06:01

IF it’s warm, rich colours you want in the garden then marigolds are the answer - colourful flowers in shades of orange, yellow, red and bi-coloured, with many flower shapes and sizes to choose from.

You may think that surely marigolds are a bit old-fashioned – this may have even been true a few years back, however, they have made a big comeback in contemporary gardens.

Bedding plants are an indispensable aspect of a summer garden and marigolds fit squarely into this category. If you have lots of sun and well-drained soil, you can grow these easy-to-care-for and ultra-rewarding bedding plants with very little fuss. They generally thrive with minimal care and once established, only require strategic watering during dry spells.

Plant marigolds in full sun in a well composted bed. To ensure continuous blooms (up to four months at a time), deadhead the plants regularly. Feed every six weeks with a balanced fertiliser. Marigolds are a water-wise choice, so once they have settled in after transplanting, water infrequently

Everyone has shady areas in the garden where nothing grows, or at least they think, nothing can grow. Well the good news is that of course there are things that can grow there - Coleus, more commonly known as “Flame Nettle” or “Painted Leaf”, is just the thing to brighten up those shady areas.

Excellent for use as a ground cover, these plants will inject colour into the darker, drabber corners of the garden and will also do well indoors. They require fertile, well-drained soil and new plants, in particular, will benefit from a little extra watering.

When planting, space your coleus uniformly and pinch back to promote new growth (pinching back the main stem at around 15cm will result in a much bushier plant).

At maturity you can expect a 30cm spread so this should be accounted for when contemplating your planting.

At 20cm high with densely packed foliage, this mini-canopy will act as a natural mulch, keeping the soil cool through the summer months.

Pot up a butterfly magnet for your patio this spring. Pentas make the most exquisite clusters of star-shaped flowers, alive with fluttering wings, and are available in red, white or pink. Depending on how compact you’d like it to be, Pentas respond really well to cutting back and also make excellent cut flowers.

Information supplied by the Bedding Plant Growers Association. For more, go to www.lifeisagarden.co.za

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