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Getting into the garden

Wax flowers make good cut flowersAfter all the spring chores of feeding, sorting out the lawn and pruning it's great to get into the garden and have some fun planting up summer colour and changing a few things around. Look for new and exciting ways to extend the colour for summer by using leaf textures as well as summer flowering perennials and shrubs.

Wax Flowers

Wax flowers originate in Australia but are well suited to our local garden conditions where they add something different as a small shrub and low screener. They have aromatic leaves and soft branches which sway in the wind adding an interesting texture and feel in the garden. The flowers are bourne on mass all along the stems ad cluster on the tips with a waxy finish that gives them their name. The best thing about them is that they make excellent cut flowers lasting for weeks in the vase. Wax flowers need a full sun position for best flower displays, although it will take a little shade, it must have well-drained soil. Trim outer branches lightly after flowering to encourage bushy growth, but do not cut into old wood.

Lavender

Lavender flowers infuse sugar and oilsLavender fragrance finds its way into the home in all sorts of things from fragrances to home spa treats. Lavender is incredibly easy to grow and will last about two to three years in the garden if planted in sunny areas where they don't get too much water. Did you know most of the fragrance in lavender is found in the flowers? Cut some stems and place them in a canister with sugar to add a new dimension to baking or add flowers to your bath oil bottle to infuse the oil with a subtle lavender fragrance.

The days of whether it is French, Spanish or English lavender are gone. There are so many hybrids and different varieties one can scarcely tell the origin these days. Plant the ones you like and we recommend always buying them in flower or showing colour to make sure it will do what you want it to do. Lavender is well suited to containers with many dwarf varieties available. If planting a hedge then flowering is less important and a strong grower is recommended. Lavender that has a greener leaf will handle a bit more shade and the flowers of Lavender Margaret Roberts are the most fragrant for the vase or infusing sugar or oils.

Vygies are back

Vygies, the original water wise plant for your gardenEveryone loves Vygies. With their origins in SA we see Vygies in all gardens old and new, they are the original Water Wise ground cover needing no water to grow and flower on mass year after year in full sun. There are so many colours to collect and share from white through shades of pinks to reds and yellow tones. What is amazing is that many of the different colours flower at different times, as if to make sure the bees don't mix the colours when they are pollinating as nature intended.

Indigenous to the dryer parts of the Cape Vygies grow flat and make a wonderful border plant or as a groundcover under an Aloe garden. They will grow even if they get a lot of water but are more compact if given extremes of heat and dryness.

Colourful Roses

Our own rose Pavilion PrideRoses are one of the easiest ways to add colour to the garden. Every year they grow bigger and produce more flowers adding to the landscape. Look out for our own rose called Pavilion Pride. It's a remarkable yellow with large fragrant blooms borne in clusters. When planting roses, group three similar or of the same colour quite close together to make a striking show.

Plant roses in a square hole adding bone meal and compost to the soil. Once planted mulch with a layer of compost or bagged mulch and feed with BioOcean before watering well to allow them to settle. Feed them regularly to keep them flowering more prolifically. By feeding them with an organic fertiliser they not only have better colour but are more fragrant and generally more disease resistant limiting the amount of spraying. When all else fails and you need to spray your roses use Rosecare which is a combination insecticide and fungicide and controls everything that can go wrong with your rose bushes.

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