Anisodontea False Mallow

anisodontea

I saw these pot plants in our local garden centre and inspired by the prolific flowers wondered what they were. They are called the African Mallow Anisodontea capensis and I can see the resemblance.
According to the BBC site ‘The name might be unfamiliar, but this prolific South African plant has been grown for over a century in this country as a tender perennial pot plant. It flowers continuously through the summer into autumn, the hibiscus-like blooms varying in colour from light pink to deep magenta. The evergreen leaves are small and bright green. It needs to be overwintered under glass, but may survive winter outside in very mild, sheltered areas. May be propagated by seed in spring or by semi-ripe cuttings in late summer.’

I came across Anisodontea scabrosa, Anisodontea hypomadarum and Anisodontea capensis as varieties and I think it is a plant we will hear a lot more about as fashion and climate change impact. At the moment they are imported and I would prefer to see them grown in the UK before buying one for my own use.

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Gardeners Tips on Feeding Plants

Plants need Air, Water, Sunlight and Nutrients to grow.
The top 3 nutrients are Nitrogen N Phosphorous P and Potassium K

npk

Various plants also need other smaller amounts of minerals or trace elements such as Sulphur, Calcium, Iron. Magnesium, Copper and Zinc.

Liquid fertiliser is available as a concentrate or powder that is diluted and applied to the roots and surrounding soil. At larger dilution levels it can act as a foliar feeder adding nutrients through the leaves.

Solid Fertiliser is usually granular, pellet or powder form. They release feed over a longer perion as in Bone Meal, blood Fish and bone or Growmore. They can be incorporated in a planting hole or scattered on the surface to be washed in to feed existing plants.

Green Manure is a crop that is dug back into the soil to improve fertility and soil condition. Clover and pea plants fix nitrogen into the soil whilst grass clippings need nitrogen to rot down.

Apply fertilizer in spring at the start of the growing season and give a boost to vegetables in summer with a granular or liquid fertilizer

General Purpose fertilsers have a combination of all 3 key nutrient NPK and this is shown on the packaging in proportions 2:2:6 would have the same proportions of nitrogen and phosphorus but twice as much pottasium so would be good for flowers and tomatoes.

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Quick Gardeners Tips

Salad

Lettuce seed only germinates below 20 ° C ( 68° F) so avoid a position that is in full sun. Drying out can cause lettuce to bolt.

Sow some Oriental vegetables to use as cut and come again. They will be ready to harvest in a few weeks and good in salads or stir frys.

If growing salad crops in a container box or grow bag make sure it is deep enough to keep the compost moist at all times. If needs be, shade or insulate the container so it doesn’t dry out too quickly

Beetroot leaves look good and can be eaten as well as the roots.  Try a few in a deep pot if you are short of space.

Onions shredded onto a salad are one of my favourites. You can pull young sets as spring onions so plant them close and eat as you start thinning out.

General Tips

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Red and Green Compliment your Garden

peonie

The two best complimentary colours are Red and Green.  There are many ways this is demonstrated in the spring garden and they will be sure to draw compliments. The Peonies are just opening under a bit of shelter and shade.

rg-no-b

The early Rhododendrons escaped frost damage and the re flower is set off by the texture and green of this healthy leaf.

quince

This flowering Quince gave strong colour before many leaves had opened light green but the surrounding grass had been trimed with neat lines in the lawn and the effect was stunning.

colour-contrast

These lime green leaves are complementary to the Azaleas bright vermilion.

Some of the best art work by Georgia O’Keeffe is her paintings of Red Poppies. I recommend you try growing Oriental Red Poppies the for your Red – Green garden.

See also Colourful Tips for other complementary colour combinations.

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Seasonal Fuchsia Tips Pink Fantasia

pink-fantasia

At the Early Spring Show

Your Fuchsias should be coming along quite nicely now.They won’t be in the condition this exhibition variety ‘Pink Fantasia’ was last month for the Spring show but soon you can be winning prizes.

Seasonal Tips for Growing Fuchsias

  • The upright bush Fuchsias still need pinching out to encourage the development of extra branches.
  • Bigger pots may be necessary for those that have roots showing out of the bottom of the pot.
  • In the North of England I find it is still too early to be hardening off the Fuchsias but during the day they get plenty of fresh air and some liquid feed at the end of the day in the drying breeze. I will increase this by moving them outside during the day so they can get used to buffeting by our climate.
  • Hardy Fuchsias have been a little slow this year but they are now beginning to show some leaf.
  • Fuchsias should be kept moist not sodden to avoid flower drop – a good mulch will help.
  • It is not too late to buy Fuchsias from your garden center. The larger the plant the more they will charge and there is still time for you to grow the plants and get a great flowering display in September without paying for big plants right now.
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Chrysanthemums to be Enjoyed

chrysanth-yellow-orinoco

The National Chrysanthemum Society displayed this Yellow Orinoco Early Spray Chrysanthemum at the Harrogate flower show last month. It only begins to hints at the great variety of Chrysanthemums that can be grown with it’s vibrant colour combination of Yellow on Red.

Personal Top Tips

  • As a beginner grow only a limited number of types and varieties. The Cushion varieties or pot mums grow well in pots and borders and can be bought in rooted plants of 6 in May for growing on.
  • Spray chrysanthemum give a good return for the effort.
  • Look after the plants by watering and feeding regularly. Chrysanthemums, like me, do not thrive on neglect.
  • Give taller growing plants lots of support. The stalks can be easily broken and you can loose a lot of flowers from damage.
  • Follow a diary of action so you know when you plan to ‘stop’ (pinch out) or ‘pot up’ your cuttings and plants.
  • Grow for picking and floral arrangements Chrysanthemums last well in a vase and demonstrate your gardening skills.

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Bummble Bee Seed Mix

  • antirrhinum

What seeds would you buy and plant to encourage Bumble Bees into your garden?

Here is a quick seed list as a reminder

  • Borage,  Red Clover, Phacelia,
  • Verbena Bonariensis,  Nigella, Agastache anisata,
  • Larkspur , Cornflower,  Rudbeckia Cherokee Sunset,
  • Antirrhinum Royal Bride,Thyme,
  • Corn Poppy,  Marigold and  Chamomile.

Thompson Morgan have a 3 for 2 offer on some seeds at the moment.

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Upside Down Tulip Tree

I was sitting in the University Botanic Gardens when some people passed by this tree and said it was called an upside down tulip tree. Well, I don’t think they really knew because I can’t find any reference to an upside down tulip tree. I wish I had looked at label now. It can be so frustrating when you can’t remember the name of plants!

Anyway it looks nice whatever its name

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Bedding Plants Online

flower

Now, is the peak time for bedding plants. Even supermarkets and petrol stations will have a selection of bedding plants for your garden. If you want to buy a lot then you can get some discounts from buying direct such as Jersey Direct Bedding plants

Tips for Bedding Plants

Keep an Eye on Weather. In the south of England the risk of frost is all but gone by this time of the year. In the north keep an eye on the weather forecast and be ready with some fleece should a cold night be forecast. Remember a sudden drop in temperatures can affect plants even if it doesn’t goto zero

Protect from Slugs. Other than the ubiquitous slug pellets, you could try egg shells around plants, beer traps, even nemotodes watered into the garden.

Get Right Planting Space. There’s often a temptation to squash bedding plants up forgetting how much they can grow during the next few months. When planting out Fuchsias imagine you are planting full grown Fuchsias. It will mean a bit more weeding until they are fully grown, but, it will give better value in long run.

Be Bold. Don’t just plant the many different varieties in small numbers. A good swathe of one or two colours / plants looks good. Especially, when it is contrasted with one or two other plants. Take inspiration from local public gardens, but be willing to go beyond their formulaic designs. e.g. mix Tall flowing plants amidst a bed of low growing petunias. e.t.c

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