Winter warmth in the garden

2017-07-19 06:02
Calendulas are one of the most versatile flowers to work with.

Calendulas are one of the most versatile flowers to work with.

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NO garden should be without calendulas at this time of year; it’s the only way to guarantee a little burst of sunshine on those cold bleak days, and what’s more they are easy to grow — as a sweep of golden blooms or a bright display in a pot.

Most of us have childhood memories of squeezing the flowers of Antirrhinums together to make dragon mouths. Snapdragons are not only an endless source of amusement to children, they are ideal for bringing striking colour into the garden.

Calendulas are one of the most versatile flowers to work with, especially as they are so easy to grow. Whether it’s in a bed, a pot or a vegetable garden, calendulas add a reliable touch of warmth to any garden.

Calendulas tend to grow well in rich soil, but can also tolerate average to slightly poor soils. Water your calendula plants once or twice a week, but remember that they do not like standing in wet, soggy soil so plant them with compatible plants.

Position in partial shade or in an area that will receive a full dose of sunshine every day. These plants will flourish in nearly every light condition with the only exception being deep shade. They do best, however, if planted in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. Don’t forget to deadhead your plants by removing the dying flower heads to encourage them to keep on flowering more and for longer. Snap dragons — Antirrhinums — tolerate light frost so you can still plant these if you live in one of the colder parts of the country. They are easy to grow in any well-drained, reasonably fertile, garden soil, but prefer a light or medium loam — so add in plenty of compost when preparing the bed.

The soil needs to be kept relatively moist, so water deeply every five days or so. They like a warm, sunny location, but in a hot climate they perform better in partial shade. Put the plants where they will receive good air movement to prevent fungal disease or rust taking hold.

— The Bedding Plant Growers Association.

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