Magical May in your garden

Magical May is here and Autumn is starting to show her glorious colours.  And with the cold weather approaching, it’s time to think about protecting plants from frost.

There’s a variety of horticultural materials available at garden centres, to protect one’s plants from climatic conditions or to reduce garden maintenance, this month:

* Shade netting – greenhouse shade cloth is manufactured from knitted polyethylene fabric that does not rot, mildew or become brittle. It is available in multiple shade densities and helps to protect plants like vegetables from direct sunlight, and to reflect heat to keep them cooler.

* Frost cover – frost cloth is an extremely light, breathable fabric used to protect tender plants against frost.

* Weed matting – is a strong and durable woven fabric to use effectively around plants to prevent weeds. The fabric allows air and water to flow through, while slowing down evaporation and thus keeping the soil moist and cool for longer.


Iconic plants for your garden


When adding new plants to your garden this month, think about plants which have become icons for a reason, so that you are in the ‘royal circle’ of gardening too!

* Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) is the heavenliest, ‘fake bamboo’ available! In large pots, they mean ‘good luck’ at your front door. They are the ‘zen’ in Zen gardens. You can plant them in a row in a narrow space, with its changing sun and shade patterns between the house and a boundary wall. They will soon supply a lacy look with their rust-tinted leaves, and supply height with their tall-growing branches, giving you much-needed privacy. The bright red berries they produce, will delight you during winter. Also plant a few of its dwarf cousin (Nandina pygmaea), to create fiery foliage balls with bright autumn colours all over – good for sun or light shade. Both are cold-hardy and waterwise.

* Ravishing roses: GCA nurseries across the country list the following rose hybrids as their top sellers: ‘Iceberg’, ‘Double Delight’, ‘Candy Stripe’, ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Satchmo’ and ‘Bride’s Dream’. As their current stock of these varieties will have had a full summer season of growth behind them, it makes sense to plant them now. This will give them time to settle in over winter and by October, you should be showered in blooms!

* Colourful from morning until dusk in all seasons: Two compact mirror bushes called Coprosma Pacific ‘Sunset’ and Coprosma Pacific ‘Sunrise’ can set your garden alight with colour. ‘Sunset’ has glossy wave-shaped leaves with a vivid red centre, set against a burgundy/chocolate brown margin. ‘Sunrise’ has chocolate brown foliage with hot-pink highlights. The colours of both intensify immensely in cooler months. Use them as striking container plants, as low hedging or for colouring in those shrub beds in low to moderate watering zones.

3 popular trees to plant

* Frost hardy and water wise: Dogwood (Rhamnus prinoides) can be trained into a small tree with shiny dark green leaves. The flowers are small and greenish yellow and are followed by round berries that ripen to red, purple and then black. It’s a great evergreen choice for small gardens, without an aggressive root system. Dogwoods can also be planted and clipped into a hedge and don’t mind a little shade.

* Best seller for temperate and subtropical climes: Leopard tree (Caesalpinia ferrea) is a slender semi-deciduous tree, with smooth bark which exfoliates easily but incompletely, often leaving dark brown patches against a light background. It provides light shade, which makes it ideal to plant on the lawn. Create a mini forest with a few planted together as a focal point.

* Perfect for bird gardens: Fever tree (Vachellia xanthophloea) is an attractive, semi-deciduous indigenous tree and has an open, to spreading crown which is sparsely foliated. The characteristic lime green to greenish-yellow bark is smooth and slightly flakey. Bright yellow to golden, ball-like flowers which are sweetly scented are borne in clusters. It has a fast growth rate, but should not be planted near houses, swimming pools or underground pipes. It will flourish in subtropical to temperate climates and will tolerate light frost once well established.

And remember:  Snails will be looking for places to overwinter. Clean up under containers and clumps of perennials where they will huddle together, and put out fresh bait amongst young veggie seedlings.

Source:  Life is a Garden

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