Autumn has officially arrived and the mornings and evenings have become a bit chilly, but the days are still hot and there’s a lot to do in the March garden in preparation for a stunning winter showstopper.
Sowing of Annuals
- Lift your spent summer annuals and prepare beds for winter annuals and vegetables by digging in a thick layer of compost and 2:3:2 fertilizer.
- This is the month when we concentrate on the 4 “P”s – pansy, poppy, primula and petunia. These can all be planted now. While the soil is still warm, seeds of other flowering annuals such as alyssum, antirrhinum, bellis perennis, calendula, California poppy, chrysanthemum multicaule, cineraria, delphinium, dianthus, linaria, mesembryanthemum, Namaqualand daisy, nemesia, schizanthus, stocks, sweet-peas, violas and Virginian stocks can also be planted.
- As for vegetables the list is just as long and inviting - broad beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Chinese cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, marog, onions, parsnips, peas, radish, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.
- Not forgetting your herbs, you can plant parsley, borage, celery, chives and garlic chives.
- If you don’t want to plant seeds, all our nurseries are already stocked with seedlings, so pay them a visit.
- Now is also the ideal time to sow seeds for cool season grass, such as ‘Shade Over’ and ‘All Seasons Evergreen’.
- Lift and divide your summer-flowering perennials such as agapanthus, arums asters, cannas, campanula, dietes, hemerocallis and irises. Cut them back and fill planting holes with compost. Keep the divided clumps to a fair size, so that the plant can recover in time for next season. Water well.
- Divide and plant strawberries towards the end of the month in well composted beds or pots.
Planting and Pampering your Perennials and Shrubs
- The following perennials are in flower in the nursery now. Plant to add colour and fill in gaps in your autumn garden – diascia, brachyscome, Echinacea, gauras, pelargoniums, salvias, shasta daisies
- Also plant shrubs while the soil is warm so that their roots can become established before spring. Feed all flower beds, shrubs, aloes and succulents with 3:1:5 fertilizer. Feed lawns, trees, fynbos, proteas, palms and ferns with 8:1:5 fertilizer.
- Did you know that green is the most easily seen colour? Its calming effect is soothing on the eyes. Yet when it comes to the garden, this attractive colour is often one that is overlooked. An all green foliage garden can have just as much impact and appeal as any other garden, if not more. Foliage actually plays an important role within the garden, providing year-round interest, depth and personality. To help you experiment with the phenomenon we have the following on special:
Check clivias, agapanthus, nerines, amaryllis and similar ‘lily-like’ plants for lily borer, a stripy yellow and black caterpillar that bores into leaves and stems. Treat immediately –pop into the nursery for information on the best pest control treatments available. Remember to use a “sticker” when you apply pesticides to your plants. This will keep the solution on the leaves for longer and it will not be washed off after each watering or rainfall.
Winter and spring-flowering bulbs should hit our shelves during the third week in March. Don’t miss out on the indigenous beauties such as freesias, sparaxis, ornithogalum, ixias, chasmanthe and varieties of the lovely lachenalia. Exotics available are anemone, daffodils, hemerocallis, ipheon, Dutch iris, muscari and ranunculus. Plant bulbs twice their diameter deep and 10-15cm apart for large bulbs and 3-5cm for small.Keep the soil moist at root level at all times. To achieve this water with a sprinkler for 40 minutes every 4 days! Feed with bulb food once every two weeks.