Pure garden charm…

We’re planting… Scabiosa ‘Flutter’ pure white because a sprinkle of white flowers throughout the garden makes it sparkle, especially at night. Butterflies too love the flowers, which inspired the name of this spring to autumn flowering perennial. It is a neat, mounded plant for garden beds, borders and containers. Plants grow in sun or semi-shade, need regular but not excessive watering and fertilising once a month. It is very disease resistant. Details: ballstraathof.co.za

Indoor plant of the month…
Get into the festive spirit with Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera). This is a green-leaved succulent that produces brilliantly coloured pink, red or purple flowers at the end of their hanging stems. Even though they are succulents, they need evenly moist soil when in flower and a humid environment. Place plants in a position that receives good indirect light, but not sunlight. Plants will flower for several weeks. They look fabulous in a hanging basket, which encourages the plant to produce more stems, or place in a position where the stems can cascade. Apply a liquid fertiliser every two weeks once the buds form. Details: lvgplant.co.za

GARDEN TASKS FOR NOVEMBER

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• For non-stop flowers in shade and semi-shade plant Impatiens ‘Beacon’, Sunpatiens, New Guinea impatiens and begging begonias. • For sunny spots there’s alyssum, antirrhinum, bedding dahlias, bedding salvia, celosia, chrysanthemums, dianthus, gazanias, nemesia, portulaca, vinca and zinnias. • Watering is the most important task, and all plants will benefit from deep watering twice a week. Mulching keeps the soil moist for longer and encourages earthworms. • Spread a 5.1.5 granular fertiliser around to feed the flowers, lawn, and shrubs to replace nutrients taken up in spring. Water well afterwards. • Summer veggies can still be sown this month.

Cucumber “Crystal Apple’ (RAW) has the shape of a Granny Smith apple with a pale, greenish-white skin, but the taste is pure cucumber with a tang. The smooth, creamy fruit is best eaten young, and is a bright, crunchy addition to salads. It is a compact growing plant. Details: kirchhoffs.co.za or rawliving.co.za

Veggie of the month:
Cucumbers are a super salad veggie; crunchy, cool on the tongue and calorie free. They grow easily from seed, and for good germination sow two to three seeds in one hole. Don’t ask why, it just seems to work! If you don’t have space, grow cucumbers vertically, by tying and training them onto a wooden trellis, along a fence, tee-pee or home-made frame. Cucumbers grown this way are less likely to suffer from powdery mildew because the leaves stay dry.
Cucumbers need plenty of water during hot and dry periods. The best form of watering is flood watering so that the leaves don’t get wet. Feed with a balanced fertiliser (2:3:2) two or three times during the growing season.

Text: Alice Coetzee

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