There are plenty of small projects and things to do in the autumn garden. From planting something new to getting a compost heap going there is always something that can be done. Autumn is nature planting time and plants going in now and any maintenance jobs done makes your spring garden look spot on.
Do you have an Electric Pink Cordyline?
We simply love the new Electric Pink Cordyline. It is one of the most popular of the new releases and definitely a must have in every garden. Growing into a clump of strappy leaves they are perfect to add a focal point in a garden bed or as a fountain of leaves out of a container in full sun to half day sun. The pink colour is there right through the year but intensifies through autumn and winter. This dwarf Cordyline grows around 90cm high and is water wise and extremely hardy. Perfect for busy gardeners who don’t want to fuss and it is ideal for a modern or contemporary landscape or a cottage garden.
Don’t forget the birds
The autumn harvest of berries and grass seeds and such are starting to get depleted. City birds find it harder to find food through winter and rely on gardeners to keep them going. Through the next few months keep a regular supply of fresh seed available to them. To help the birds fatten up before the cold really sets in, place some Bird Suet out on a regular basis. It might take them a few days for them to work it out but once they discover it you will be amazed as to how many different birds you will attract to your garden. As always make sure there is a supply of fresh water nearby. Keep your birdbath clean and flush it out with fresh water as often as possible, preferably daily.
Grow indigenous seeds
Namaqualand is renowned for its annual mass display of wild flowers and each spring thousands of people travel to Namaqualand to see them. These impressive fields of colour are made up of numerous small plants but are mainly dominated by daisies, grown for years in our Gauteng gardens as Namaqualand Daisies also known as African Daisies. These beautiful African Daisy flowers are perfect for growing in sunny dry spots needing little water after germination. With a height of around 30cm and in flower in just 9 weeks they are a wonderful addition to the winter garden. Needing very little in the line of fertiliser or soil preparation it could not be easier to plant African Daisies. Simply break the surface of the soil with a rake and rake level. Scatter seeds and run the rake over the area again, covering the seed with a thin layer of soil as you rake them in. You will still see some seeds when finished but don’t worry that’s ok they will cover once you add water. Water daily till germinated and then once germinated you can water once a week to every ten days. Did you know that the term Daisy comes from the ancient Saxon term “Day’s eye” referring to a flower opening during the day to show its “eye” and then closing at night?
Plant some bulbs
Bulbs can be planted right through to the end of May so now is the time to plant some spring promise with a selection of bulbs. The open star- shaped flowers of Sparaxis with many intricate patterns in their centres are just one of the indigenous favourites. The overall effect of looking into a group of Sparaxis flowers is like looking into a kaleidoscope. Colours range from white to pure yellow, orange, pink, red, mauve and salmon to even green. Individual blooms do not last long, but flowers on the slender stems open successively from the bottom up, giving a fine, long- lasting display. Sparaxis will grow and bloom well in relatively poor soil. A rockery suits them, as does a border site. They are at their most effective if planted in groups of 25 or 50. They can also be grown in pots. They need a few hours of direct sunlight each day in order for the blooms to open fully.
Protect with Frost Cover
We are a few weeks away from first frost but if you have a special plant you need to protect from frost we recommend that you cover from the first week of May. Even though traditionally our first heavy frost is expected in week three of May let's not forget about the odd year it arrives early. Cover tender plants with frost guard which allows the plants to breath and also allows light in which means the plants can still grow inside the cover during winter. The best way is to make a tepee over the plant and then tie it down so that it does not blow off on a windy night.