This month , we’re planting… Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Purple Sun’, a new variety with vivid flowers that announce the beginning of spring.
The blooms feature several shades of orange that fade into a deep purple ring at the centre of the flower. Plants form a compact, well-branched plant, 25cm high and 40cm wide, with an abundance of flowers. Grow ‘Purple Sun’ in full sun and in ordinary garden soil that’s been well composted. They also look good in containers and hanging baskets. In coastal gardens, plants should be sheltered from the wind. Fertilise in spring and again in autumn. Water regularly but don’t over water as plant can tolerate moderately dry soil.
Indoor/ patio plant of the month … is the beautiful indoor mini-arum lily (Zantedeschia) that is now available in sizzling shades of pink, deepening into burgundy. The trumpet-like flowers are available in eight different colours and many varieties have shaded or speckled leaves. They enjoy a warm, sunny room as plants can take some morning sun. Water the plants as soon as the soil’s surface is slightly dry. During spring and summer, add liquid fertiliser to the water about every two weeks. The leaves are toxic to cats and dogs so keep the plants out of reach.
Garden tasks for August
- August is a windy month; secure climbers and stake newly planted trees. Check the ties of standard roses and all other standard plants that are supported by stakes.
- In very cold areas delay winter rose pruning until the middle or end of August.
- Increase watering to once a week for most plants.
- Fertilise all plants. Flowering plants should get 5:1:5 or 3:1:5 and shrubs and trees 2:3:2 (or their organic alternatives). Fuchsias like a nitrogen-rich fertiliser at the beginning of the season.
- Remove the spent flowers of primulas, petunias, pansies and violas to encourage them to keep on flowering.
- Give the lawn its spring treatment. Rake out all the dead grass and then cut the lawn with the lawnmower on its lowest setting. Compacted ground can be spiked with a garden fork or a hollow tine fork. Apply lawn fertiliser and water in well.
- If the lawn has hollows, is uneven or there are dead patches, level it with lawn dressing. Fertilise and water well.
- Remove leaves from gutters and fix any broken ones. Why not call in a plumber to set up a system that diverts rainwater from the gutters into a tank.
- Clean the garden furniture and treat any wooden garden furniture. Check with your paint shop for suitable products.