Autumn is my favourite time of year! I love the cool mornings and evenings yet warm days. It's also a relief from those steaming hot summer days.
Flowering now- There are some fantastic colourful annuals that are coming into their own this month. Coleus with its stunning brown, acid green and yellow and rusty red markings looks great in shade as do New Guinea impatiens, which have vibrant coloured flowers. For a hot spot Celosia and cockscomb are about the brightest plants you can grow with shades of red, orange and pink tones.
Ixora, hydranges and hibiscus are all still flowering, as are Orange Jessamine (Murraya paniculata) and gardenias.
What to plant- March is a great time to be planting. The hot humid days are gone but plants and people can still enjoy warm days and slightly cooler evenings. Plants relish the relief from the heat and they still have the warmer soil to grow in, so can flourish.
Bulbs- Autumn which officially begins today, is bulb planting time. Bulbs are surprise packages, you plant them forget them and then come spring, up pop their flowers. Whether its daffodils, freesias, bluebells, or dutch iris.
What to do- Pull out past summer annuals (for example, tired petunias) and then replant winter spring colour.
– Watch out for fungal outbreaks- high humidity can wreak havoc and rain splash can spread fungal spores easily.
- Raise the mower a notch or two and let your grass grow a little longer in between cuts.
- Trim off any heat damaged leaves on your shrubs, feed and keep your garden well watered.
Step 1- Prepare the planting area with compost, manure or packaged decomposed organic matter, often sold as soil conditioner. If planting in pots, just use a specially formulated bulb mix. Some bulbs, such as hyacinths and tulips, benefit from a cold chill, so pop them in an egg carton and leave them in the fridge for a month before planting.
Step 2- Bulbs have dried roots on the bottom and pointy top to indicate where the shoot will come from. Plant each bulb pointy side up, and into the soil 2.5 times the bulbs height. You can use bulb markers to help you remember where you have planted them.
Step 3- Water your bulbs in well, then be careful not to over water until they have started to show signs of growth. Keep weeds clear.