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Updated : 21/9/2014

To do in April

The weather is lovely all over the country at this time of the year. Gardeners who have planted clumps of the African gladiolus will now be enjoying a magnificent display of tall orange flowers.

SUMMER FLOWERING ANNUALS

These are rapidly coming to an end and when they are past their best it is advisable to pull them up and put them on the compost heap.

HARDY SUMMER FLOWERING ANNUALS

The seedlings of seeds sown in seedling trays in January and February should be large enough to plant out into the garden. Space them well apart and plant them in groups for best effect.

WINTER FLOWERING ANNUALS

  • Seed of Dimorphotheca sinuata (Namaqualand daisy) can still be sown in all areas.
  • Warm frost-free areas: Seed of the following can still be sown in seed trays:
    •  Arctotis acaulis
    • Calendula officinalis (pot marigold)
    • Chrysanthemum carinatum (annual variety)
    • Clarkia Consolida ambigua (larkspur) (sow in situ)
    • Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (Livingstone daisy or Bokbaaivygie) (protect seedlings from birds by putting chicken wire over the beds)
    • Felicia bergerana (kingfisher daisy)
    • Godetia (satin flower)
    • Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet pea)
    • Linaria maroccana (toad flax - sow in situ)
    • Nemesia Schizanthus (poor man's orchid)
    • Viola x wittrockiana (pansy)
  • Transplant seedlings out into the garden as soon as they are large enough, about 3cm high. Never let any, especially stocks, get too tall or too old in the pans.

PERENNIALS

  • Lifting perennials: The perennials listed below, if not lifted last month can still be lifted an divided now, or in September when new growth has started. Water the clumps the day before they are to be lifted. After lifting do not let the roots become dry. Do the dividing in the shade, and if you are expecting the task to take some time cover the clumps with damp sacking to further protect the roots. For replanting choose healthy young growths from the outer edge of the clump.
    • Ajuga reptans (bugle mint)
    • Alyssum saxatile
    • Anemone japonica
    • Anthemis sancti-johannis
    • Armeria maritima (thrift)
    • Aster novi-belgii (Michaelmas daisy)
    • Campanula
    • Chrysanrthemum maximum (Shasta daisy)
    • Echinacea purpurea (pink rudbeckia)
    • Gaillardia x grandiflora (blanket flower)
    • Geum Heuchera sanguinea (coral bells)
    • Lobelia cardinalis (not in very cold areas)
    • Macleaya cordata (plume poppy)
    • Monarda didyma (bergamot)
    • Penstemon
    • Pyrethrum roseum
    • Salvia farinacea (blue salvia)
    • Salvia patens (dark blue salvia)
    • Solidago (golden rod)
    • Veronica (speedwell)
    • Carnations and dianthus: Take cuttings from non-flowering basal shoots. The cutting should be about 4 - 5 cm long. Cut just below a node or leaf joint. Remove a few lower leaves and insert the cutting in sand, or two parts sand and and one part soil. Press the soil firmly around each cutting, and water.
    • Primrose and polyanthus: Never let these lack water. Work some compost and/or peat in around the point where the leaves and roots meet, as it is from this point that the plants put out new roots.
    • Violets: Apply a light dressing of 2:3:2 at the rate of 60g per square metre. Mulch with sifted compost. Start watering once a week in the summer rainfall areas.

SUMMER FLOWERING BULBS

  • As long as dahlias and cannas are flowering water them once a week if the weather is dry.
  • Water liliums and evergreen bulbous plants such as agapanthus, red hot pokers and day lilies once every three weeks when the weather is dry.
  • Continue lifting evergreen agapanthus, day lilies and summer flowering red hot pokers if they are over crowded.
  • Winter rainfall areas: If March lilies have finished flowering and if the clumps have become over crowded, lift, divide and replant the bulbs, with neck of the bulb just below the surface of the soil.

WINTER FLOWERING BULBS

  • Continue planting all these listed below.
  • Tulips that have not been kept in cold storage ('untreated tulips') can also be planted now.
    • Allium
    • Anemone coronaria
    • Aristea thyriflora (tall aristea)
    • Babiana Bulbinella latifolia (cat's tail)
    • Dipidax triquetra (star of the marsh)
    • ris (Dutch iris)
    • Freesia
    • Hyacinthus orientalis (hyacinth)
    • Ipheion uniflorum (star of Bethlehem)
    • Ixia (wand flower)
    • Leucojum (snowflake)
    • Lycoris radiata (spider lily)
    • Muscari botryoides (grape hyacinth)
    • Narcissus
    • Ornithogalum thyrsoides (chincherinchee)
    • Ranunculus asiaticus (ranunculus)
    • Schizostylis coccinea (river lily)
    • Sparaxis (harlequin flower)
    • Tritonia
    • Tulip ('untreated' bulbs)

POT PLANTS

  • Stop feeding all pot plants except calceolarias, cinerarias, cyclamen, primulas and winter flowering bulbs.
  • Water all pot plants, except those mentioned above, less frequently as the weather gets cooler. Never let them dry out, however. This is important especially for ferns and orchids.
  • As the foliage of amaryllis, achimenes, tuberous rooted begonias, caladiums and gloxinias starts dying back, gradually reduce watering.

LAWNS

Grass no longer needs feeding now. Mow if necessary in the winter rainfall and frost-free areas. Water the grass once a month in the summer rainfall areas.

SHRUBS

  • Take hardwood cuttings:
    • These must be of fully matured wood, which developed in the past spring or early summer.
    • The cutting should be about 20 cm long after the immature tips have been removed.
    • Cut just below a node or leaf joint.
    • Remove the leaves from the bottom two thirds of each cutting.
    • Root the cuttings in the open ground.
    • Make a v-shaped trench in the garden about 15 cm deep and put a thin layer of sand at the bottom.
    • Dip the end of each cutting into a rooting hormone and then position the cutting in the trench.
    • Fill the trench with soil, firm it well and then water.
    • In the summer rainfall areas keep the soil damp, but not saturated, during winter and early spring until the summer rains starts.
    • The cutting should be ready to plant in their permanent position in the garden in the winter or early spring of next year.

VEGETABLES

  • Pull up all summer vegetables that have finished bearing.
  • Put healthy plants on the compost heap, but never do this with unhealthy plants.
  • Give all members of the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale) a light dressing of LAN. Dissolve a tablespoon in 5 litres of water apply to a metre of row. Water before and after application.
  • Gauteng and OFS Highveld Broad bean Dwarf spinach Garlic Kohlrabi Leek Lettuce Parsnip Radish Swiss chard Turnip
  • Lowveld and warm frost free areas Beetroot Broad bean Brussels sprouts Cabbage Capsicum Carrot Celeriac Celery Cucumber Dwarf bean Dwarf spinach Eggplant Endive Garlic Horseradish Kohlrabi Leek Lettuce Parsley Parsnip Peas Pumpkin Radish Runner bean Swede turnip Swiss chard Tomato Turnip Vegetable marrow
  • OFS and Northern Cape Broad bean Carrot Dwarf spinach Garlic Peas Radish Swede turnip Turnip
  • Kwa Zulu Natal Midlands Broad bean Carrot Dwarf spinach Garlic Kohlrabi Leek Lettuce Parsnip Swede turnip Turnip
  • Eastern Cape and Karoo Broad bean Garlic Onion Peas Radish Western Cape:
  • Winter rainfall areas Beetroot Broad been Cabbage Carrot Celery Dwarf spinach Endive Garlic Kohlrabi Leek Lettuce Onion Parsley Parsnip Peas Radish Swede turnip Swiss chard Turnip
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