Daffodils bloom in Cape Town in the Autumn
Here in South Africa we are starting to move into autumn and the nights are becoming longer with the sun rising later each day. We still have the summer heat but every now and again a cold front moves through and gives us some relief. With the coming of autumn its time to start preparing our winter gardens.
Some of the tasks that need doing are to thin out some of the bulbous plants such as agapanthus, arum lilies, day lilies and cannas.
Lift the plant with a spade and divide the clump into two or three pieces and replant them again. A trick to ensure that you will have flowers again in summer is not to cut the clumps into too small pieces. If you do the plant has to re-establish itself and while doing so will not flower.
Any climbing plants in your garden?
It's time to prune out dead branches and seed pods and tidy up the plant. Bougainvilleas must be fertlised now and you should feed them horn and hoofmeal and a tablespoonspoon of Epsom salts per plant.
Dahlias which you would have planted in October should be in full flower now and with the south easter (wind) that blows in the Western Cape they will be struggling to stay erect. Its time to help out the dahlias by staking them and stopping them from being knocked over by the wind.
Hollyhocks could also need some assistance to resist the wind.
Azaleas and camellia's leaves often turn yellow in dry weather spells. To overcome this problem ensure that they are watered frequently. Feed the plants with iron chelate and epsom salts to stop leaves turning yellow.
Roses also need constant attention. They need to be fed with 3:1:5 to ensure that you get a late summer display of flowers. To make your rose bushes more resistant to diseases you should add some Condiís Crystals to your fertiliser when feeding.
For those wanting some colour in the garden during the winter months it is now time to plant or sow seeds of the African daisy, sweet peas and Virginian stocks .
Start by digging over your vegetable plots and adding in some well decomposed garden compost.
When the beds are ready you can sow onion, carrot, beets, broccoli, peas, radishes, spinach and broad bean seeds. Sow them about a foot apart with the taller plants towards the south so as not to block the shorter plants from getting any sun.
Perennial vegetables such as horse - radish, asparagus and artichokes can also be planted now.
Potatoes should be planted about a foot apart while cauliflower plants should be spaced about two feet apart.
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Page Updated 14.3.2017