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August in the Garden

Awesome August has arrived, which means it’s almost time for a spring awakening… You will see on crispy August mornings new mint-green leaves sprouting, and bees and butterflies zooming over swathes of daisies turning their heads to the sun. Wake up and make your life a garden!

Go crazy with daisies!

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No other country in the world can lay claim to the same sensational indigenous late winter and early spring colour that we can, with our fantastic Osteospermum hybrids, sold under the collective name of Cape Daisy. These ground-covering plants are loved by butterflies and thrive in full sun. They are spectacular in window boxes, in mixed containers or in single patio pots.

For a mass of cheerful flower faces, few plants beat the beloved daisy bush (Argyranthemum frutescens). Every year more hybrids and colour variations appear, with each one seeming to be more floriferous and more compact than its predecessors. They are perfect for sunny patios, balconies, pool sides, or anywhere that a typical sense of spring awakening could be celebrated. Daisy bushes are at their most colourful in cooler months but flower repeatedly in summer if they are looked after well with ample water, feeding and a light clipping after a flower flush.

Hot tip: Give your old pots a new lick of paint before planting them up with your daisies or invest in new pots roomy enough to allow them to grow into large cushions of flowers.  

Waterwise daisy – Golden daisy bush

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It’s almost impossible to be upset about anything if you are standing in front of the golden daisy bush (Euryops pectinatus) in bloom – this indigenous shrub is just too cheerful! On a bright sunny day, the hundreds of butter-yellow daisies stand out against dense foliage and catch your eye from afar (and those of pollinators like bees and butterflies too!). Their greyish green, fern-like foliage is also attractive. Plant them en masse along garden paths or in rows of pots to make a real statement. They grow fast, are easy on water and flourish virtually everywhere, except in the coldest of climates.

Stylish Clivia

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If you can only choose one fantastic early spring-flowering plant, make it a Clivia (also known as the Natal or bush lily). When the breathtaking orange flowers burst forth after winter they instantly banish any traces of the winter blues still lingering. More you need to know, is that they are easy to grow, evergreen, perennial and have lovely dark green leaves that are long and strap-like. The trumpet-shaped, brightly coloured flowers are arranged together in sturdy flower heads attached to fleshy stems. They last for several weeks and then give way to fleshy round berries that remain on the plant for months.

In a nutshell -

Legend has it that Clivias bring good fortune if planted near your house.

Good for dry shade gardens.

Pretty in pots too.

Sweet temptations

Plant a compact and hardy Strawberry hybrid for a delicious crop of sweet fruit in summer till autumn. Keep it indoors on a sunny window sill or outside on a balcony in a pot or hanging basket. This is an ideal gift for a loved one as well. 

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A is for Azalea

Sometimes you will find pots filled with three to four differently coloured flowers all in bloom at the same time. This is because quite a few cuttings of different hybrids are planted together to supply bright colour indoors or on a shady and protected patio. Keep your plants always moist, but not sopping wet. Never allow the soil to dry out completely. Prevent water on the blooms and closed buds, and keep the plants in good light or filtered sunlight and out of cold drafts, and they will keep on blooming for many weeks. After flowering, they can be planted out into the garden or in bigger pots, in the shade.

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Bedding bestie – Gazania

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One way to describe Gazanias (more commonly known as Treasure Flowers) is to say that they have large, stripy, or boldly coloured daisy-like flowers in shades of orange, white, yellow, pink, red and many bicolours, which open during the day and close at night. But, that does not say it all! Originating from South Africa, they can also withstand high heat and little water. They prefer sandy soil with excellent drainage and full sun. To initiate beautiful blooms throughout many months of the year, plant them into compost enriched soil and feed them monthly.

Rose care for August

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If not yet done, roses can still be pruned in August. In very cold regions  pruning end August is best in any case. After pruning, pull off all remaining leaves as they can harbour disease and pests. Spray bare stems to kill insect eggs and fungus spores, dig in compost, and a rose fertiliser. Add a fresh layer of mulch and water well afterwards.

Friendly bugs – butterflies and bees

Butterflies bring a lovely, colourful and whimsical look to the garden. While feeding on plant nectar, they also collect pollen on their legs and carry this pollen to other flowers and parts of the garden, creating the opportunity for entirely new flower beds to spring up, in time!Without bees we will lose many vegetables and fruit which are pollinated by them. Unfortunately, their numbers keep on dwindling due to a lack of flowering plants in smaller gardens. You can encourage bees to your garden  (even if it is just a garden in pots), in a few ways, one of which includes planting bee-attracting herbs. This list includes: Sweet basil, bergamot, catmint, French thyme, lemon balm, borage, mint, cotton lavender and lavender. 

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Black gold – home-made compost

Compost enriches the soil and helps retain water, and is easy and cheap to make.

  1. Combine brown and green material (like dead plants, dry leaves and cut-up sticks) in heaps of about 1m high and 1.5 m wide at the base.
  2. Keep moist and turn it over regularly as it heats up.
  3. Compost is ready when it is dark brown and has an earthy smell.  
  4. Add compost activator to accelerate the break-down.

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August is Lavender month

‘As Rosemary is to the spirit, so Lavender is to the soul’ – Anonymous

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10 Lavender Facts

  • Lavenders can be added into the edible garden for colour and fragrance.
  • Used with roses provide lovely contrasts and they give you that old style English country garden look
  • Lavenders don’t often get used in cooking but can be added to cookies combined with pecan nuts (YUM YUM)
  • The flowers can be used to decorate cakes and tables
  • Place dried leaves and flowers in your clothing cupboards to ward off fish moths and cockroaches
  • Add fresh lavender to your bath before bedtime, this will help induce sleep
  • Lavender oils soothe aching muscles and joints and make a fantastic massage oil
  • The flowers attract bees so planted in the orchard or nearby fruit trees will aid in pollination
  • In the language of flowers, lavender can mean devotion, luck, success, or happiness (so why not plant one in your garden)
  • Lavender has antiseptic, antibacterial, analgesic and anti-depressant properties. It is used in treatment of headaches, insect bites, burns, acne, and insomnia.

So find a sunny spot in the garden for some new lavender or perhaps your old ones need some replacing

To do list for August….

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  • No matter what the weather, your garden will always need feeding, feeding and even more feeding!
  • Feed all shrubs and trees when you see new shoots sprouting. Dig one bag of compost and a handful of superphosphate or bonemeal, or balanced fertiliser into every square meter of bed. Remember to water well after feeding.
  • Mulch and feed your fuchsias.
  • Prune and feed your hydrangeas. Apply acid compost as mulch.
  • Primula seed can be harvested and stored for next season.
  • Buy summer bulbs like amaryllis, different coloured Arum lilies, Gladiolus and Dahlias, as soon as they’re available. Store in a cool dry place until planting.
  • August is the time to plant your summer annuals such as Petunias, Lobelias, Dianthus, Begonias, Gazanias and marigolds. Remember to keep covered those plants which are frost-tender.
  • Don’t forget to stake newly planted trees and standards to prevent them from toppling over or snapping in the August wind.
  • Revive your indoor plants by cleaning the leaves with a wet cloth or leaf-wipe tissue and giving each plant a diluted dose of liquid fertiliser.
  • Start preparing your lawn for the summer. Rake out any dead and matted undergrowth (add these rakings to the compost heap or use as mulch for the flower beds) and aerate the lawn to improve its absorption of water and nutrients. Aeration can be as simple as stabbing holes into the lawn with a garden fork. Apply mulch and lawn fertiliser to newly raked and aerated lawns. Water well afterwards.

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July in the Garden

July in the garden will be cold and dry, but winter can never be boring if we dip into our treasure chest of saucy succulents and splendid shrubs which are dressed in their best right now. So, let’s plant lots more!

Melt the ice with these hot sellers   

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Winter-flowering aloes like the trusty Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens) grows from sea level to the highest mountain tops and sets winter gardens alight with its bright orange-red flowers. Birds and bees adore the nectar-rich blooms too.

If you want to choose a very dramatic plant for a large container, choose the sculptural and very striking Tree aloe (Aloe barberae). This aloe is a perfect focal plant for the garden as well but, needs space to grow in as it can reach a height of 15m. Expect pink to orange flowers in winter. There are plentiful and pretty new aloe hybrids of all sizes to choose from as well. Enhance your aloe collection with other types of succulents like crassulas, kalanchoes and sedums, which are equally pretty now, even if not in flower. Their foliage colours intensify and with their strong structural forms, it is hard to ignore them in a winter garden.

 

Fine planting is fynbos!

Heritage plants like proteas and pincushions, are common nowadays, so do plant some of your own. In a natural habitat the members of the Proteaceae family grow in poor, well-draining soil with a low pH (slightly acidic – between 5 and 6). The plants prefer hot, dry summers and cold, wet winters, but many will grow well in summer rainfall areas too.

Bad drainage is a recipe for disaster, although some species and cultivars are more tolerant of heavy soil than others. Prepare the soil well by mixing in well compost and remember not to use fertilizer. Slightly raised beds or mounding of heavy soil will improve drainage and so will adding a little lime to break up the clay when preparing a planting place. You can also grow all of these plants in large containers. Protect with frost cloth if you are in an area which is affected by this

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Great balls of fire…
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Heavenly bamboos are available in many shapes and sizes, but if you need a foliage plant that can really create fiery winter colour, pick Nandina ‘Pygmaea’ which is a dwarf plant growing to about 50cm tall and wide. These plants are very cold-hardy and look fantastic if planted in bold groups as ground covers, as border plants in full sun or light shade, or in pots. They are absolutely problem-free to cultivate.

 

Bedding bestie

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Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is possibly the most loved garden annual. Although one can plant them throughout the year, they grow and flower much lusher in the cool seasons. They create much joy in the winter garden when combined with other cool season annuals like pansies, petunias and lobelias. All the alyssum varieties grow fast and have a compact size of 10cm to 15cm high and 20cm wide. They are perfect for bordering, (especially around roses), as filler plants in containers, window boxes and hanging baskets, and even between paving blocks. Alyssums like full sun to flower really well.

 

Rose care for July
In most areas, rose pruning is done during the last week of July, and the first week of August. Gardeners who approach this task with trepidation can relax, as rose pruning is basically the removal of dead wood and weak and old twiggy stems, in order to attain a neat and pleasing shape, to open up space for new stems to grow, and to cut back to a desired height.

After you have completed the pruning process, dig in the old mulch layer and freshly added compost into the soil around the bushes, feed with a Vigorosa, renew the layer of mulch afterwards and water deeply.

 

Pruning to do 

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Deciduous fruit trees, like peaches, apples, plums and apricots, can also be pruned now.

 

Lawn Matters

  • Take all lawn-mowing equipment for a proper service and refitting of new blades.
  • Spend the time enhancing the shape of your lawn by correcting awkward shapes and fixing damaged edges. You might want to build a neat brick edge to frame a formal lawn, or to think about adding another form of edging between the lawn and flower beds.

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It’s lawn dressing time in 2-3 weeks so don’t let time catch up on you!

 

Cool ideas with pot plants

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Fill your house with all kinds of houseplants to keep you company in winter. Some plants will, for instance, clean the air. Besides, being surrounded by them, leaves one with a sense of well-being and calm. Using indoor plants is also the affordable and easy way to give any room a quick new look.    

  • Fill an empty corner in a large room with something big and bold like a bamboo palm or Ficus tree. They like bright light.
  • Add pizazz to the fireplace with succulents like echeverias, haworthias, house leeks (Sempervivum), Echinocactus, or foliage plants like the radiator plant (Peperomia). These plants like a warm atmosphere, bright, indirect light, and very little water.
  • Add greenery to a home office. Plants like peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) and the bird’s nest fern (Asplenium) clean the air and neutralise secondhand smoke. They prefer bright, indirect light, medium water, but a humid atmosphere.
  • Create a green corner on a table near a window with a collection of pretty houseplants to potter around with all winter. Display them in all kinds of containers. A good choice for low light is Aglaonema‘Silver Queen’, ‘mother-in-law’s tongue ‘(Sansevieria), peace lily and bird’s nest fern.

Hot tip: Display indoor plants close to where you work, sit or sleep to get the most advantage from their air cleansing capabilities

 

Create new paths

This is the best time to access the “bones” or structure of your garden in terms of pathways and access to different areas. Widen pathways that are being taken over by the encroaching garden, by adding more pavers. Add a “secret” pathway into very deep beds – this also assists tremendously with maintenance of the garden. Add pavers and a bench as a special feature.

Hot tip: When laying any pavers, make sure you use weedguard and river sand under the pavers.

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Pesky pests!  

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Cochineal is a sap-sucking insect that feeds on cacti, aloes and prickly pear plants. Feeding causes discoloration of plants and swelling around the area which has been fed on. The plant’s outer pieces eventually start to die, leaving it with only bare, woody stems. Spray with a mixture of Oleum and Malathion.

Cochineal should be controlled when they lay their eggs in October and again in February. It is easily confused with lookalike mealybug and that has become more and more of a problem on roses, other small shrubs and plants, especially during these past long periods of droughts. They are more easily visible in July and should be brushed off and then sprayed with a bio-oil based insecticide at double the recommended concentration.

 

Bird Business

Attracting birds to the garden has become a big hobby even in the heart of big cities. Visit our Feathered friends department where you can buy bird feeders, bird food, bird baths, nesting logs, and all other kinds of related products.

Top bird attracting trees which supply either nectar or fruit (or both) to plant now, include: Weeping Boer Bean (Schotia brachypetala), Acacia thorn trees, wild peach (Kiggelaria africana) and coral tree species (Erythrina).  

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Checklist for July

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  • You can break up heavy clay soil by digging in a dressing of agricultural lime. Ailing lavenders and clematis will also benefit from a small dose of lime in winter and adding a light dose to irises and stocks will promote good flowering in spring.  
  • In the cutflower garden, you will be able to pick the first bunches of sweet smelling stocks and sweetpeas. Keep on picking, to invite more flowers.
  • Feed citrus with VITA 3:1:5 and water well.
  • Protect cold-sensitive vegetables like lettuce, celery and parsley from winter frosts with frost guard.
  • Fill up your rock garden and the openings in cement retaining walls with pelargoniums in different colours. These plants are ideal to add colour to hot and sunny places like these.
  • Conifers grow actively in cooler months and can be lightly pruned to shape them neatly. Never cut into old wood, rather just shave off healthy foliage and growing tips with sharp secateurs or a hedge clipper – this will result in fresh growth

Happy Gardening !

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Giving yourself a good workout in the privacy of your own backyard is much nicer than going to a gym and you don’t have to force your ‘love handles’ into unbecoming lycra!

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Awards

We are so proud to announce that Greener Tidings was awarded the BEST GARDEN CENTRE IN SA!

We were also awarded with the following:
-       1st place – Best Inspirational Displays
-       2nd place – Best Food gardening department
-       3rd place – Best staff
-       Best Retailer in Limpopo

Our team is super excited and we would like to thank you, our loyal gardeners for all your support during the year!

Contact us

015-296 0303
082 908 7510 (Premicel)

Greener Tidings Garden Centre,
Erf 7421
2 Knottrox Ave
Bendor ext 115
Polokwane
0699

Business Hours:
Mondays-Saturdays: 8am-5pm
Sundays: 9am-1pm
Public holidays: 9am-5pm