Namaqualand magic in your own garden

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Those who have visited Namaqualand in spring will tell you that it’s not only about the orange, yellow and white daisies.

Mixed in with them are other indigenous spring flowers such as nemesia, diascia, Arctotis, Cape daisies (osteospermum) mesembryanthemums and Felicia (kingfisher daisies).

For gardeners wanting to capture a little bit of the magic, Kirchhoffs Namaqualand Flower Scatterings contains a mix of these indigenous flowers that bloom at different times so there is always an abundance of colour through winter into spring.

Purple vygies with African daisies, gazanias and aloes.

It is still possible to sow these and other winter and spring flowers in warmer areas. Besides Namaqualand daisies, other quick growing annuals include alyssum, Virginian stocks, nemesia, linaria, mesembryanthemums and the winter colour patch mixes.

Kirchhoffs Colour Patch mixes are an easy option if you want lots of variety and colour without the bother of mixing it yourself. There are dwarf and tall mixes that provide long lasting winter colour.

In warm, frost-free subtropical areas it is possible to sow dianthus, marigolds, nasturtiums, portulaca, sweet peas. and verbena.

If it’s just Namaqualand daises that appeal, African Daisy High Noon mixed features the yellow and orange daisies or there’s the Silverhill’s White.

By sowing batches of Namaqualand daisies two or three weeks apart you will have flowers right through to September. Be bold with your sowing and aim for blocks of colour, recreating the drifts of colour that you see in Namaqualand.

The method of sowing Namaqualand daisies and mixes is called ‘scattering’.

  • Mix seed with vermiculite so that the seed sticks to it and it is easier to sow the seed evenly.
  • Use your hand or a plank to press the seed into the soil, sprinkle soil lightly over it and firm down again. This prevents the seed from blowing away.
  • Don’t let the soil dry out while the seeds are geminating. When the little growing tips emerge from the seeds, they dry out very quickly unless the soil is moist. On hot days water lightly twice a day or cover the beds with shade cloth, slightly raised above the ground.
  • Start watering away from the seedlings, swish it over gently and finish watering away from the seedlings. The heavy drops at the beginning or end of watering can displace the seeds. Use a fine nozzle for the hose or watering can.
  • Don’t weed the bed until the daisies or other flowers are clearly identifiable.
A mix of Bokbaai Vygies.

The annual vygie that grows easily from seed and is a spectacular winter flower is known as the Bokbaai Vygie (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis).

These water-wise groundcover succulents with daisy like blooms produce a carpet of sizzling colour in spring when flowers completely cover the plants.

They are frost hardy, thrive in very hot beds in full sun, and should also be considered for hanging baskets, window boxes and containers.

They grow in well-drained soil and tolerate rather poor sandy or stony soil but the addition of bonemeal and compost will improve their performance.Space plants about 25cm apart.

 

Article and images supplied by Alice Coetzee. 

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