Plant pretty

Keep your garden beautiful with love(ly) shades of violet, pink and purple

Veggie of the month
It is worth making space to sow globe artichokes. These beautiful plants are a feature in any garden, and not just the veggie garden. Plants need at least 1m by 1m to thrive and should be planted in full sun, in rich, fertile soil that drains well. Artichoke Violet de Provence from RAW seed is an heirloom variety with large, serrated silvery leaves and purple buds. Water deeply, especially when the buds are forming. At the end of the first year the plant will produce small buds which can be picked and eaten or left to flower. From the second year, many more buds will be produced and will be larger. The best harvests are from the second and third year. Details:

Indoor plant of the month
For a Valentine’s treat, drop hints or spoil yourself to Curcuma Sweet, a soft pink lily, or Curcuma purple Splash. This lush, tropical lily, aka Siamese tulip, will flower indoors for the next month or more. Display it as a coffee table beauty, or anywhere with bright, indirect light. Keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy. Curcuma is a perennial that can be transplanted into a frost free garden in partial shade or in a pot on the patio. However, it does go dormant after flowering. When the leaves start to go yellow, stop watering, cut off the leaves and let the potting mix dry out. Store the pot in a cool place during winter and sprinkle with water occasionally. In spring, plant out the tubers in the garden or leave them in the pot to sprout. Details:

WE’RE PLANTING …Bidens Pretty in Pink – because it’s one of the failsafe plants that copes with dry or wet conditions, grows in ordinary garden soil and is tolerant of urban pollution. It produces masses of beautiful hot pink daisy flowers with gold eyes and creamy white tips at the ends of the stems from late spring to mid-autumn. The plants are bushy, low growing and compact and the tiny, fernlike green leaves add a fine and delicate texture to the garden. Pretty in Pink grows in sun or partial shade and is a versatile garden flower for mass planting, rockeries or borders, as well as filling pots and hanging baskets. Details:

Garden tasks for February
• Water in the morning or late afternoon. • Mulch all beds to keep the soil cool and moist for longer. • Remove dead blooms to extend the flowering period of your summer annuals and perennials. • Lightly trim lavender, pelargoniums, and other bushy plants that need tidying up, as well as topiaries and hedges. • Divide agapanthus and irises. • Water containers daily and feed with a liquid fertiliser at half strength every second week. • Water lawns and mow weekly. If it is very hot don’t cut the lawn too low. • Pick fast maturing vegetables like beans, cucumbers, chillies, and tomatoes at least twice a week. • Watch out for red spider on your herbs, vegetables and flowers and spray with an organic insecticide like Ludwig’s Insect Spray.

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