Kaleidoscopes of colour indoors and outdoors

2012-01-14 00:00

FLOWERS at cricket and tennis. The large bed of salvia leucantha planted at Newlands and often featured during the recent cricket Test looked lovely. The tall bushy grey-green leafed plants were colourful with long flower stems carrying racemes of lavender flowers. At times these may have appeared, to the unacquainted, as very healthy lavender bushes. This shrub, a great garden plant deserves to be noticed well as it gives a good reward. It is handsome and fits in pleasingly in many parts of the garden. It grows easily and to do its best needs a clipping back after flowering. The shrub encourages bees and butterflies. Tip cutting of growing shoots strike and root easily.

The salvia, pineapple sage is another pleasing shrub that needs to be remembered. To disturb the leaves and dainty red-flower sprays on this plant one is rewarded with a delightful pineapple fragrance. This salvia-sage needs a cut-back too after flowering. It also roots easily from growing shoots.

Interesting to see that the show plants at the Qatar Tennis were the hybrid kalanchoe with flowers of golden-yellow.

This kalanchoe, a succulent, was always a popular pot plant. It flowers over a long period. Other flower shades are pink, red and orange.

The major tennis tournaments usually decorate with colourful plant material, so it is always interesting to see what is featured.

The handsome large plants of celebrity­ impatiens give flowers generously for many months. These are so worthwhile, especially for containers in early morning sun. Each single petalled flower is large and displayed well among the foliage which is maroon-green. These celebrity impatiens are healthy and immune from wilt and die-back problems.

Over many gardening years the value of the small plants of begonia semperflorens have always been a joy. These are so easy to grow and so generous with their abundance of flower colour. They are the answer­ to shade and dappled shade throughout the summer garden. They are happy in the ground and rewarding in pots and containers. Plant a begonia semperflorens seedling in a small pot and you will always have a colourful display for a verandah or balcony table.

Plant a seedling in each of several pots and you will have a good supply for shady nooks and corners. They come in pastel and deeper colours and with a choice of leaves, a pretty green or a darker maroon, both show off the flower colours well.

Another exciting summer planting for semi-shaded areas is the mimulus or monkey face. The flower forms and the flower colours are amazing. These annuals appear to do best in containers. The array and mix of colours, shades, blotches, speckles and patches mimics a group of clowns. I doubt even the plants know what they will produce, they are a real bag of tricks. Seedlings in trays of six available.

A pleasing indigenous mix now flowering together are a bush of the Cape blue plumbago with a large stand of the peacock iris, the morea. The small yellow iris flowers have dark markings of brown and orange on their three flat petals. They are very slick and striking.

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