We’re planting … Bidens ‘Golden Empire’ for its masses of golden daisy-like flowers that attract butterflies from mid-Spring through to mid-Autumn. The compact bushy plants (25cm high and wide) are useful as filler plants for garden beds, containers and hanging baskets. Bidens ‘Golden Empire’ grows in all types of garden soil, in full sun. It is water wise and tolerant of urban pollution. It shows off best when massed together. It combines well with other plants when used in mixed containers and hanging baskets but needs more regular watering than garden grown plants. The fine, bright green foliage is also attractive. It tends to be a biennial that is at its best for only two years. Details: ballstraathof.co.za
Veggie of the month: Bush green beans are an easy, highly productive crop for the home gardener and especially for beginners. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and minerals as well as giving back to the soil, being efficient nitrogen fixers. Bush beans are also suitable for containers. They grow and produce very quickly. Plant them close together (they will support each other). Sow successive crops, every two to three weeks from August to May for a non-stop supply. Details: kirchhoffs.co.za
Indoor plant of the month
Philodendron ‘Shangri-La Is a very compact version of the traditional philodendron, with smaller lobed leaves and a dense, bushy shape. The lush, glossy green leaves make it an attractive home-office, house, and patio plant. Unlike its big daddy, it doesn’t vine and keeps its compact form, growing 60 to 90cm high and wide. It does best in a warm room, in a position that receives bright, indirect light or some morning sun. As a low maintenance plant, it only needs watering once a week, or less as the soil should dry out moderately before watering. Fertilise lightly once a month in Spring and Summer. Details: ballstraathof.co.za
Known for their spectacular flowers, the genus Gladiolus is a highly adapted and specialised plant, which is found throughout Africa, Madagascar, Europe and the Middle East. South Africa is home to more than half of the world’s gladioli species and the Western Cape is the heart of species diversity. Saunders’ Field Guide to Gladioli of South Africa is the first of its kind to offer a complete photographic record of the 166 species that occur in the region. Posthumously completed (tragically Rod and Rachel Saunders’ work on the book was cut short when they were abducted and murdered during a field trip in 2018), this is the culmination of their long search to find and photograph every known species of Gladiolus in South Africa. It includes detailed descriptions of each species, along with info about ecology, pollinators, similar species and conservation status; more than1,000 exquisite photos; up-to-date distribution maps indicating where species have been recorded; and a glossary of terms with illustrations unpacking difficult terminology. R420
Ward off mosquitoes, gnats, sand fleas and other pesky insects with Earthsap Bugs Away Roll-On, all-natural bug repellent from Earthsap. R54.99 from faithful-to-nature.co.za
Garden tasks for September
- Fertilise pansies and other Spring flowering annuals and water well afterwards.
- •Wait until the last frost has passed before sowing seed of Summer annuals and perennials.
- Fertilise Summer flowering perennials and shrubs and start watering them more regularly.
- Trim groundcovers to encourage vigorous new growth.
- Continue planting out Summer flowering bulbs and keep the soil damp until new growth pushes through.
- Start watering outdoor pot plants more regularly and feed weekly for healthy foliage and more flowers.
- Prune fuchsias, removing two-thirds growth, to encourage strong sprouting.
- Water lawns once a week or every second week, fertilise with 5:1:5 if you didn’t do so in August and start to mow regularly.
- Clean out ponds and water features. Keep fish in a bath of water in a shady place.
- This is the prime sowing time for vegetables once the danger of frost has passed.
Compiled by: KYM ARGO and ALICE COETZEE.