It has been so cold this past week that it is hard to believe we are into November when we should be having lovely sunny days with warm evenings and here I am sitting with a jersey on. Surely this is not normal??

Talking about normal. There have been a few queries about why some Jacarandas have come into leaf without flowering this year and why some are flowering beautifully in the Northern parts of Gauteng and yet in the Southern parts they are not. Apparently, in Pretoria they are also late.
I guess it is because our early summer weather has been quite different. Otherwise I really have no explanation.

The second alarming story going around the gardening world is the still not positively identified “Agapanthus Borer“. This borer was noticed late last year in the Western Cape where it attacks the bud of the plant and moves into the stem and down into the rhizome where eggs are laid and the whole cycle begins again. The leaves go a mushy brown and the plant virtually dies. So far it is believed that it is a relative of the Crinum borer. It is a yellowish colour with black spots. Mr. Mike Picker in the Cape is working on how we can control this borer. As yet, there is no treatment available to eradicate the borer but removing them manually seems to be the only way. Obviously, using potent poisons is not a good idea as the whole plant and soil will be poisoned and not necessarily effective. So if anyone is interested you can google “Agapanthus Borer” and find out more about this problem which seems to be more prevalent in the Cape but has been seen up here in Gauteng.

The Amaryllis caterpillar will become evident now in the Clivia and Amaryllis so be aware and again eradicate manually or with Oleum BUT remember to REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT.

The roses have been late but flowering much longer than usual so the weather has been ideal for them.

Get some veggie plants in now and also some seeds. Remember don’t use all the seeds at once. Divide the packet by 6 and plant every month so that you have a constant supply of whatever your choice is. Beetroot, carrots, bush beans are a good example. Try some cucumbers as they are not difficult to grow.

If your Clematis have finished flowering, cut back to the first, second or third bud and the plant will bush up and give you another flush of flowers before Christmas. This does not apply to Clematis Montana as this is the rampant one that covers a huge area. Only highbred Clematis gets pruned after flowering.

Feed Hydrangeas with 3:1:5 and keep them well mulched. If the leaves are yellow, apply some epsom salts to get their leaves a nice dark green. Acid Compost around their roots also makes for strong healthy plants.

Look up into your trees and see if there are any branches that could be cleaned up and give the tree a better looking canopy. Enhance their beauty with good maintenance.

Things to do in the garden now:

Give your garden a good ‘foliar feed’ like ‘Multifeed’ or ‘Seagrow’. If you do this at least once a month you will be amazed at how happy the plants are.

Prune the shrubs and plants that are getting a bit wild.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your plants as they respond when you compliment them and even if you are cross because they have not performed, tell them. You’ll be amazed!!! Personally my opinion is, if Prince Charles has such success with his plants by talking to them, then I am going to do the same.

Just some comments that had me amused in the past few weeks:

“We have never had mushrooms in our garden before. Why did you plant them and what should I do?”

“What does a rosebush look like?”

“Please find me an Avo that is 2 metres tall and bearing immediately”

“What has happened to my Azalea, it has stopped flowering?”

So you see … I am always there to assist you when you have a garden related problem. Email me your problems, or other, and I will gladly help.

shirley@wallington.co.za

Happy summer gardening.