Rake up, winter is near


Snip off dead flowers, clear up the leaves and plant up some extra plants in pots. May is making way for the colder months to come.

We’re planting … Capella Sangria is a compact, rounded petunia that fits in anywhere and everywhere that’s sunny. It’s a good mixer in garden beds, as an edging, massed, or in a hanging basket or container. The cherry red trumpet-shaped flowers have a glowing yellow throat and cover the plant from top to bottom. Plants grow 30cm high and 36cm wide, need full sun to flower well and like evenly moist but not soggy soil. Feed once a month with a liquid fertiliser to keep it in peak flowering form. Cutting off the dead flowers encourages it to produce more. As a bonus, the flowers attract butterflies, nectar seeking birds and bees. Details: ballstraathof.co.za


Indoor plant of the month

This mini tradescantia is a brand-new variety, quite different from the common striped or purple creeping tradescantia groundcovers. Its tiny pink and lime-green leaves are carried on short, tight stems and it grows into a dense and round plant, that is topiary-like in appearance. With its distinctive colours, shape and foliage, it is likely to become a trending indoor plant. Display it in a position that receives bright indoor light but not direct sun. Trim if necessary to keep it in shape. Water when the soil feels moderately dry, as it prefers underwatering to overwatering. Details: lvgplant.co.za


Veggie of the month

Baby spinach produces small, crunchy green leaves that are yummy in salads, or stir fries and even in sarmies. This quick sprouting baby spinach can be sown year round and in winter its best sown in a large seed tray that’s kept near a sunny windowsill or in a warm, sunny patch in the garden. Plant in well composted soil or in a seedling mix moistened with a liquid fertiliser like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger. Seed germinates within seven to 14 days and leaves are ready for harvesting within 30 days. Harvest early by snipping the leaves with scissors. Although plants will grow again it is easier to sow in succession every two weeks to ensure a constant crop. Details: kirchhoffs.co.za


Garden tasks for May
• Rake up autumn leaves and use to mulch garden beds or compost them.

• Water newly planted annuals twice a week, otherwise reduce watering to once a week.

• Finish planting out winter annuals; pansies, violas, poppies, calendula, and primulas or sow quick-growing annuals like Namaqualand daisies and Virginian stocks.

• Set out seedlings of winter veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kale as well as lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard.

• Spring flowering daffodils, and other spring bulbs should be planted by the end of May.

• Cut down cannas and other summer perennials that have finished flowering.

• For a supply of herbs like thyme, origanum, marjoram, parsley and sage during winter, plant up some extra plants in pots and keep them in a sheltered sunny corner.