Décor & Gardening
October in the garden
Patio plant of the month…is Blue Star fern (Phlebodium) an easy growing, epiphytic fern with lobed, elongated fronds that are an unusual blue-green in colour. Because it naturally grows in leaf-filled clefts of forest trees, this fern tolerates low light, likes plenty of moisture and relatively high humidity, making it suitable for hanging baskets or Kokedama, especially in bathrooms, bedrooms and even kitchens. If you have not grown ferns before, this is an easy first-time plant. Water it once a week (less in winter), and mist regularly. Water around the plant and not into the centre of the rhizome, and make sure it drains well, otherwise it will rot. Add a liquid food to the water once a month. Like the Phalaenopsis orchid it can stay in its pot for a long time, but if you do decide to re-pot, do so in spring and use an orchid-like mix.
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We’re planting… Busy Lizzies (Impatiens walleriana) have always been the star of the summer shade garden. What’s new this season is the double flowered Impatiens Fiesta, with larger flowers that look like mini-roses. Treat them as a short season spring flower that will deliver loads of colour until January or until the rains start in earnest. Plant in fertile soil that drains well, in semi-shade or dappled sun; but not deep shade as they get leggy. Water in the morning or early afternoon so that leaves are dry by nightfall. This helps prevent fungus disease.
What to do in October
It is all systems go for planting up the summer flower, veggie and herb garden. Why not experiment with a new colour scheme and try out some new varieties?
- Annuals that grow quickly and easily from seed are alyssum, cosmos, lavatera, portulaca, California poppy, and nasturtium. They all do best in full sun.
- It is also a good time to plant summer flowering perennials like coreopsis, gaillardia, rudbeckia, catmint, day lilies, gaura, pelargoniums, penstemon, Echinacea, Shasta daisies and perennial verbena.
- Give flowers a boost with 3:1:5 or 5:1:5 granular fertiliser scattered around the clump. Use either pink or blue hydrangea food for hydrangeas.
- Water regularly and spread a layer of mulch over beds to conserve water and keep the roots cool.
- Feed and water indoor plants.
- Mow lawns at least once a week, but if it is very hot and dry mow less frequently and set blades higher. Do not remove more than a third of leaf length at a time.
- Sow quick growing annual herbs like sweet basil, coriander, dill, nasturtium and rocket.
- Feed perennial herbs twice a month with a liquid feed at half strength to encourage new growth and harvest or pinch off the growing tip to produce bushy new growth.
- Sow or plants seedlings of the following summer vegetables: carrots, beetroot, green beans, butternut, baby marrows, cucumber, eggfruit, radishes, Swiss chard, sweet peppers and hot peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet corn and sweet melons.
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