We’re planting … Euphorbia Glitz, because it produces masses of tiny white flowers that sparkle like stars, and we could all do with a few sparkling stars right now. It is tough enough for hanging baskets, combined here with deep purple petunias. On its own, it fills a large container or stands out in the garden. Plants are easy to grow, disease-free and don’t need pinching. They are heat and drought tolerant, thriving in full sun or partial shade. Plant in garden soil or potting soil that drains well. Plants grow 35cm high with a spread of 45cm. It also ‘plays well’ with succulents and other drought-hardy, water-wise plants. Details: ballstraathof.co.za
GARDEN TASKS FOR MARCH
• Plant new shrubs and trees this month. They will settle in before Winter and get off to a quick start in Spring.
• Take cuttings of pelargoniums, dusty miller, argyranthemum, hydrangeas, and fuchsias.
• Fertilise your Autumn flowering shrubs and perennials.
• Divide agapanthus, arum lilies, bergamot, day lilies, Shasta daisies, gaillardia and penstemon.
• Continue to regularly water and mow the lawn.
• Trim hedges, and shape and trim the Summer shrubs that have finished flowering.
• Water and fertilise Summer vegetables, and harvest regularly to encourage them to keep on producing.
• This is the last month to sow broccoli and Brussel sprouts in Summer rainfall gardens.
OUR VEGGIE OF THE MONTH …
KOHLRABI WHITE VIENNA
Kohlrabi White Vienna is an heirloom veggie from RAW seed, a lesser-known member of the brassica family, which is easier and quicker to grow. It produces tasty ‘above ground’ bulbs, with the flavour of broccoli … but a little milder and with hints of apple. The leaves are also edible, like kale, but also milder. It is a quick crop, with the ‘bulb’ being ready for harvesting within 50 to 70 days when it should be 5 to 7cm in diameter. This grows best in full sun, in well-composted fertile soil, and you’ll need to water regularly, as drought-stressed plants will not produce tender bulbs. To eat, peel the bulbs and then roast, boil and mash, or cut into slivers for adding to stir-fries. It is delicious in a potjie and can be added to soup. Peel, shred and eat raw (it’s mildly spicy like a radish) with a vinaigrette dressing, mix with carrot to make a slaw, or add to salads.
Most gardens have shady spots, but some gardens have so much that gardening becomes a real challenge. Shade plants are not necessarily tropical, although many of them thrive in shade. Some delicate leafy plants will scorch and burn in hot sun, some plants like shady conditions but not damp soil, while others grow happily in damp, boggy ground that receives minimum sunlight.
In Gardening in the Shade in South Africa, Allan Haschick examines the different types of shade and the effect it has on plant growth. So there are solutions to common problems like feeding, watering and mulching shade plants, as well as how to deal with exacerbating factors such as wind, frost and soil type. Popular shade plants – think clivias, bromeliads, fuchsias and ferns – are given special features, and there’s a directory of species that lists plants under headings like ground covers, tropical-looking perennials, and succulents. R200.
Compiled by: KYM ARGO and ALICE Coetzee.