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Spring is here!

Spring is here!Hello flowers! Spring is here and the garden fills with flowers and new growth. There is something about the change of season that makes us all smile. Spring is the season of new beginnings and of a promise of beauty, where better to experience this than in your garden or on your patio. Get into the garden with some of our favourites for the best spring garden.

Local is Lekker

Blue Felicia indigenous #WaterWiseThe indigenous flora explodes into flower for spring. Most of our most well loved SA colourful perennials come from the Cape and Karoo where they have extreme winter weather and then as the spring breaks they warmer weather brings them into flower. One only has to think of the West coast where the Namaqualand bursts into flower in a worldwide love spectacular display. Luckily we have better weather in Gauteng through winter and we still get to enjoy all the indigenous colour for spring.
Here's our top pick for 2013:

  • Cape Daisies - Full sun, hardy, Water Wise and perfect for instant colour.
  • Gazanias - Full sun, extremely Water Wise and hardy. New varieties and old favourites in bright yellows, orange and rust tones.
  • Felicia - Hardy perennial for sun to half day sun. Flowers from spring through summer with blue daisy flowers.
  • Nemesia - Dainty flower clusters in pinks and purples. Flower in semi-shade through spring.
  • Diascia - This perennial flowers from early spring through to mid autumn. Full sun to semi-sun, hardy, Water Wise and a spreading ground cover.

Clivias for shade

Clivias flower right through spring in the gardenNothing is quite as spectacular as a Clivia in full bloom. Indigenous Clivias will perform well planted in the garden or in containers and flower from the end of August through September. They do best in well drained soil and will handle most water conditions just not wet feet. Clivias will not do well in full sun, although they can tolerate some early morning sun. The plants will do well under trees or against an east facing wall.

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 a summer.

Why the name "Clivia"? History has it that it was named for the Duchess of Northumberland, a patron of gardening. She was the first person in Great Britain at the time to cultivate and bring seeds into flower. The Botanist Lindley named this plant "Clivianobilis" as a compliment to the Duchess; she was from the noble family of "Clive"

Daisy petals - Love me love me not...

Daisies in all colours are awesomeThe daisies are an all-time spring favourite and the modern varieties are simply perfect for small gardens or for colour on the patio. Most gardeners remember the good old fashioned yellow varieties that grew well over a square meter dominating a garden bed. The new varieties are more compact and repeat flower for a longer period. The colours are also greatly improved and today one can buy one to match almost any patio colour scheme.

In folklore daisies symbolize a new beginning and a new spring always brings a promise of renewal. Plant the daisies in as much sun as possible. If they get too much shade they will flowers less and can even be susceptible to disease. In full sun they are hardy water wise and flower for months on end. As they finish off their flush of flowers cut them back by about a third and they will come back into full bloom.

Proteas and Fynbos

New Leucadendron HarvestThe Fynbos collection includes Proteas, Pincushions as well as the hardy Cone Bush.  Remarkably easy to grow Arnelia who produces Fynbos has selected varieties that do exceptionally well in Gauteng. The Cone Bush - Leucadendron are starting to flower and this year the newest variety "Harvest" is bound to catch the eye.

Make sure they are planted in a full sun position and that they are in well drained soil. They will not survive in a heavy clay soil. At planting, don't add any fertiliser or compost to the planting hole rather just mulch as it helps to retain moisture around the roots as a young shrub. Mulching conditions the soil as it decomposes by adding small amounts of nutrients and organic matter. An important point to remember is that Fynbos do not like to have their root systems disturbed. Keep well watered throughout the year especially when they are in flower.

They will flower every year and the flower stems should be cut back after flowering. Each branch should produce two to three flowering stems for the next season. These flowering stems will increase in number as the plant becomes older and larger. Bounceback can be applied twice to three times a year, spread on the surface around the plant.

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