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Nature paints with flowers

The Clivias have been spectacular!The quote that "nature paints for us" is certainly true this time of the year when one looks around the garden and neighbourhood. There is colour everywhere. If your garden does not have colour, this is the time to look at adding some perennial colour that can form the backbone of your spring garden for years to come.

Ice Cream Pink

Indian Hawthorn  - RhaphiolepisLooking for something special? Indian Hawthorn - Rhaphiolepis is an evergreen shrub that originates from China. The shrub covers in ice cream pink flowers through spring making a spectacular show. A versatile shrub, they can be clipped to shape but naturally have a compact growth habit. The new growth has a ruby tinge which is also very attractive. What makes them even more special is the berries that follow later into the season. They attract a wide range of birds particularly the Bulbuls who are always in the garden when the Hawthorns are in fruit.

Plant them in a half sun to full sun and if you are cutting them back cut late summer to allow for some growth before winter.

Cherry Red and Plum for contrast

The Tea Bushes flower all summerThe red flowers on the dwarf Tea Bush, Cherry Brandy make a spectacular show every spring, their beautiful flowers that are dainty and papery just like confetti. Leptospermum or Tea Bushes as we know them are from New Zealand and are well suited to our local climate.

They are well suited for planting in a mixed border where they add an interesting contrast with their dark foliage. They also look striking in a terracotta container where the colours of the clay contrasts well with the red flowers and the dark leaves.
Plants should preferably be in full sun and in a well-drained soil preferably not clay soil. If they get too much shade they will flower less and will become stretched and leggy.

Opulent Orange

The Indigenous orange Clivias have been spectacular this year. Feeding of your Clivias improves flowering and the number of flowers. We recommend feeding them with Sudden Impact as an organic flowering fertiliser which has the higher potassium content needed for flower production. Always add bone meal at planting for strong root development.

For Clivias in containers, a liquid feed such as Nitrosol or Multifeed Classic every ten to fourteen days will help you grow the best.

The biggest pest is the lily borer, a black caterpillar with yellow bands. They will tunnel into the leaves and burrow down into the core of the Clivias. They can appear any time from September and can destroy your plant. Use a systemic insecticide such as Koinor or Plant Protector as a precaution at least twice through summer.

Blue beauty

Blue StaticeThe Sea Lavender - Limonium is a tough perennial from the Canary Islands that can have flower spikes easily up to 80cm in height. This is a favourite here at Eckards because they are hardly ever out of flower. Every garden or patio should have some.

The Sea Lavender has large lush leaves with blue and white long-lasting flowers. This beautiful perennial is useful in massed beds for a colour splash or where it makes a dramatic focal point in a mixed planting or in containers.

Also known as Statice the Sea Lavender makes an excellent cut flower and will last for ages in a vase.

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