The end of the year is upon us, and with that comes family time and catching up with friends. Whether you are going away for the holidays or staying at home and entertaining – Life is a Garden suggest you get your garden holiday-ready during November. For those of you going away that will include ensuring your watering systems are working correctly – and for those planning on staying home, some tidying up and adding of colourful plants, hanging baskets and other décor elements is a great way to make your garden and entertainment area appealing.
Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre for some inspiration and supplies.
What to Sow
To reap the rewards of a bountiful vegetable garden, you need healthy plants. The health of your vegetables at harvest depends largely on the early stages of their life cycle. Planting vegetables at the optimum time will increase yields. Life is a Garden suggest you sow these during November:
Begonias (Begonia) – If you feel like your garden isn’t summer ready just yet and it needs that little something extra…. what you need are begonias. There are over 1,800 species of the Begoniaceae family, and this small plant will add colour to your shady garden and add that little something extra with its bright blooms in no time. Commonly used as a house or patio plant, they do best in moisture-retaining, fertilised soil.
Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) – this unusual little plant from Madagascar is grown for its speckled leaves and is available in light pink, white and red. It is beautifully planted as a filler plant, between other pot plants. It requires medium to bright light and does best in rich, well-drained potting soil. Water it regularly in hot weather and prune it down if it grows too lanky.
What to Plant
Sun Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides cvs), has brilliant leaves that brighten garden beds, especially when combined with begonias, salvia, and other plants for contrast. These easy-to-grow annuals are available in a wide range of colour, with leaves of many sizes and shapes and do well in full sun to partial shade.
Vinca (Catharanthus roseus) have clear, crisp flowers and glossy green leaves. Annual vinca, occasionally called periwinkle, is drought tolerant and requires almost no maintenance to keep it looking terrific. Use it in mass in beds and borders or tuck it into mixed containers with other annual flowers. They will grow in a range of light conditions, from full sun to shade and come in pink, purple, red, white, magenta, and bi-colours. The flowers are also attractive to butterflies.
What to Feed
Feed winter-flowering hellebores, winter iris (Iris unguicularis), begonias and indigenous daisies like osteospermum; divide and replant those that have outgrown their space. Feed summer bulbs, like cannas, agapanthus, day and Inca lilies and dahlias regularly.
What to Spray
Mole Crickets usually are very prevalent in your lawn in November. A contact /systemic insecticide drench should be directed toward young nymphs.
Also Keep an eye out for caterpillars on clivias, which can be treated with a systemic insecticide.
What to Prune
Fynbos like buchus, leucospermums, ericas, and proteas can be pruned after flowering. Train your plants from the start to create and maintain a better shape and prevent them from becoming too large and leggy. To do so, nip out the growing tip of young, single-stemmed plants to encourage them to produce side shoots. When these side shoots are 150–200mm long, trim them back again.
For well-formed, bushy plants just cut off flowers for the vase (or after these have faded), leaving four or five leaf nodes on each stem, which should be about 100–150mm long.
Neaten your plants just after the flowers have faded and before they start putting out new growth. Never cut back into old wood or where there are no healthy green leaves.
Watering: Continue to water three times a week or more. Temperatures are rising and if there’s no regular rainfall, make sure your roses receive enough water. Under-watering is one of the main reasons why roses don’t perform well. Fertilising: By mid-November apply a rose fertiliser.
Pest and disease control: Spray fortnightly against black spot, mildew, aphids, beetles and bollworm. Keep a lookout for red spider mite on the underside of the lower leaves. At the first indication of speckled leaves, increase watering and spray with the correct insecticide.
Other tasks: Continue deadheading.
With the sun beating down, mulching is now of utmost importance to keep plants moist.
Include drought-resistant plants like zinnias and portulaca in your summer garden.
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans) is one of the easiest annuals to grow, Zinnia flowers bring an explosion of colour wherever they go. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the cheery flowers that bloom in nearly every bright colour imaginable. They grow quickly and reliably, making them a great addition to your garden.
Portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora) are popular bedding plants with succulent leaves and colourful flowers. Many varieties have semi-double to fully double flowers that resemble miniature roses. Flowers come in hot colours, like yellow, orange, red, and bright pink. White, cream, and variegated flower colours are also available. The low water requirement of portulaca makes it a natural choice for the container or water-wise garden.
(Gauteng, Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo)
· If there is a lot of rainwater runoff could cause erosion in your garden. Breakwater flow speed with barriers, mulches and terracing
· Ensure plants are securely supported to withstand summer storms and prevent any damage
· If your lawn isn’t dark emerald green by now, fertilise it and water and mow regularly. The holidays are coming, and you are going to be spending lots of time lying on your lawn, either watching the clouds go by or gazing at the stars, and you deserve to be comfortable!
· ‘Recycle’ water by harvesting rainwater and reusing household water – it can be as easy as just connecting your gutter pipe to a water tank, or showering with a bucket or two next to your feet.
(Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal)
· Make snail traps – did you know that snails don’t like parsley? That is why it is a good reason to plant miles of parsley between, or as a border around lettuces, green beans or swiss chard to protect them
· Support tall perennials to prevent from strong wind damage and collapsing
· Keep newly planted summer bulbs moist
· Check your irrigation system to ensure no dry spots