Every year the list of favourite plants to grow gets longer and longer. I have always been passionate about plants and growing things. When the new seasons selection arrive and the growers release something we haven’t seen for many years and I get all excited all over again. It’s hard to stop at one favourite for me...
Nothing beats a Bougainvillea in full blazing colour. Bougainvillea bursts forth with colourful flowers from spring to autumn making them a great addition to the garden and along boundary walls. Bougainvillea are easily trimmed and trained to make a striking container plant, be used for large topiaries or pruned into more formal hedges or focal plants.
Give bougainvillea plants well-drained soil. Water sparingly. Bougainvillea plants weaken with too much watering, ending up with all leaf growth in place of flowers. Clay soil hold on to too much water for them, particularly a problem for young plants. Adding stones rocks or gravel into the hole when planting will help with drainage. Bougainvillea actually favours poor quality soil so at planting don’t add compost only bone meal.
Choose the right spot, facing due north. Bougainvillea is a sun-lover and it will flower best in a full sun position. Heat is not an issue for bougainvillea in fact the harsher the sun exposure the better.
Growing tip: If your bougainvillea does not flower, let it dry out to almost wilting and then feed it with Magnesium Sulphate and water well. This should stimulate flowers within a few weeks!
Yellow leafed Weeping Anthericum
Related a long way round to the popular Hen&Chicken this indigenous grass is super cool and very trendy for the modern garden. Growing as a clumping grass around 35cm high it flowers right through summer with dainty white flowers which are borne on arching stems. The birds love them and so to do all the beneficial insects and pollinators.
Grow them in a grouping or in between other perennials to add texture and movement to the garden as they sway in the wind. Best in shade to half day sun they are quite adaptable and will even take afternoon sun if they get enough water. When they look a bit tired through winters end, cut them back and they bounce back with bright fresh foliage.
Delosperma Gem Carpet
Everyone 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.
One of the easiest Vygies to grow and high on my favourite list, Delosperma grows as a flat purple gem carpet. Indigenous to the dryer parts of the Cape the Delosperma Cooperii, makes a wonderful carpet between pavers 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
Also known as Pincushions the Scabiosa or Scabious are super easy to grow and add a touch of the wild swaying meadow flowers to the garden. If you’re a romantic gardener then this one is for you. Believe it or not they have an indigenous origin to RSA and the birds and bees just love this perennial.
They flower almost nonstop throughout the year and fill out particularly in spring and summer. Available in Pink and Blue the Butterfly Scabious grow best in a fun to part sun spot. They are water wise but grow better with general garden watering than in a dry bed.
TIP: By planting plants that look good at different times of the year one can layer the garden to look good all year with various points of interest.