Fields of flowers in your garden

2008-01-19 00:00

Seen back in the market place recently were seedlings of the interesting and rather old fashioned border plant of Monarda/Bergamot. Both these names, and bee balm, are always associated with this quite tall subject with mint-scented leaves and whorls of pretty pink, white, lavender and rich scarlet coloured flowers. When grown in damp shady situations, it shows perennial qualities. However, it also grows well in full sun, perhaps as an annual; the seed germinates well. Pretty grown with cornflowers, cosmos, forget-me-not, linaria and grasses to give a “field of flowers” appearance.

The last few days have shown plenty of hot sun and some heavy cloudbursts in the PMB area, so everything is growing. Mowing, clipping, cutting back and weeding are high on the list of perpetual garden chores. Clear steps and paths of undisciplined growth, look to climbers, creepers and shrubs to keep things in control.

An attractive small (about one-metre) indigenous shrub is the Coleonema from the SW Cape. Most commonly called the confetti bush because of the pastel shaded, confetti-like flowers in winter and spring, leaves are neat, small and heath-like, with an aromatic scent. It’s a recommended plant to put on your shopping list. Freylinia is another delightful, fast growing shrub from the Cape, this grows up to five metres tall, but can be pruned back at anytime and may also be trained to a topiary shape. It also makes an easy to clip and shape hedge plant. Leaves are willow-like and small flowers of white or pale mauve come in spring and again at intervals through the seasons.

Perennial salvias give good value through the garden and through the seasons. A big hit at the moment, and indeed most attractive, is the salvia mystic spires with grey-green leaves and flowers of blue. It grows quite tall and it needs to be cut back after full flowering. Use the firmer cuttings to propagate this plant.

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