This is the time when Trumpet Vines come to the fore and perhaps the most popular trumpet vine here is Campsis radicans, originally from Virginia in America. It grows fast and climbs a mile a minute, so be careful where you plant it or it will take over. Mandevilla grows well here too and lasts sometimes until October. Known in some places as the ‘Brazilian Jasmine’, its bright pink, white or red blooms like a bright sunny spot, although it may need some protection from the very hot sun and like a lot of potted plants does not like to be over-watered. Podranea ricasoliana, is a native of South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. It’s sweetly scented flowers top the abundant growth and this plant will need some support as growth is fast. It will last well into the autumn. Pandorea jasminoides, is an Australian woody climber, originally inhabiting tropical rainforests, where its rampant growth allowed the plant to reach the sunlight.
There are several ‘must do’ jobs at this time of year. Dead-heading pelargoniums, those ubiquitous plants found in many gardens and patios, is an almost daily task in order to keep them blooming and whilst you are doing that remove any dead leaves as well. Then give them a feed of Phostrogen once a week – one spoonful in 10 litres of water will feed several plants. This is the time to deal with plumbago as the first flowers turn into sticky seed heads. By giving them a trim you will encourage them to throw out new growth and later flowers to see you through to the autumn. If you have an Alyogyne tree (Australian Hibiscus) it is better to prune the thin branches now that it has made seeds, although I have never had any luck propagating them from seed. The same treatment fits Caesalpinia gilliesii and removing the heavy seed pods will protect the thin branches by reducing the weight on the tree, as well as encouraging new flowers to appear. Another task is to prepare your irises for another fine display next year. Remove any flower stems as the plant will not flower from that point again and cut the remaining leaves to about 10 cms as this will allow the summer sun to bake the rhizome in order make flowers for next year. Remove any dead leaves by pulling them along the rhizome, which will expose it to the sun and always plant irises facing into the sun for that very same reason. The general gardening rule is that after you have done such dramatic surgery to plants, then you should give them a feed to help boost growth and for irises that used to be a dose of bone meal. Nowadays it is difficult to get, so use a rose fertiliser instead – ‘Florlis’ is available here and a capful in 3 litres of water will help things along.
Plants at this time of year can be plagued by bugs. Hibiscus is particularly prone to mealy bugs. We have tried the following method of getting rid of them, but with limited success. Mix 3ml Movento and 30ml Insectoil Key in 5 litres of water and spray the offending mealy bugs under the leaves and stems where they hide. Keep a watch out over the next few days and it may be necessary to spray once more, but this should deal efficiently with them. We have tried many different applications over the years to be rid of these pests but have now reverted to a daily inspection squashing them between finger and thumb! In the orchard you may well find that the Asian Citrus Leaf Miner has invaded your citrus trees. This is caused by a tiny moth laying it eggs on the underside of the leaves, which hatch and burrow into the leaf distorting the growth. We tried the old fashioned way of hanging moth balls amongst the branches to keep them off, but without much success!
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