Stars for a Summer Garden - 15 December 2010

Today I want to talk about plants that perform over the hot summer months.

As you well know, over the last two months we have been experiencing little rain and day after day of hot summer weather, which can take its toll on your garden.

There are some very good plants avaliable, that can handle the weather conditions we are currently experiencing, and so if you look to using some of these in your garden, it will considerably help with keeping a lovely garden over the summer, and needing little maintenance.

As the local council starts to bring in stricter conditions for water useage, then it becomes more important for us that we have plants that will stand up to  having less water.

ALSTROEMERIA PRINCESS SERIES - these are are range of dwarf alstroemerias that I have found to be very reliable and will flower from october until the first frosts. These new varieties are not like the old varieties which used to take over your garden, and became like a mild weed. The princess series are very compact, and have flower stems of about 30cm long, perfect for picking, (note: pull the flower stem off the plant rather than cut it off, you will encourage more flowering if you do this.) There is an amazing range of colours avaliable in this series, one to fit any gardeners appetite for a particular colour.

I have found them to be outstanding performers in containers on the patio and in a hot sunny border, needing little water, and having an amazing ability to just keep the flowers coming for well over six months.

GERBERA EVERLASTING SERIES - these are another group of plants that have been in the spotlight with breeders around the world. The bad traits we all remember from gerberas were, that they used to very easily get diseased and were continually infected with rust spots on the leaves. This  disease problem has been bred out of the new varieties of Gerberas, and from my own experience in our garden, they flower continually for 12 months of the year, now that's a pretty good plant that can do that. These gerberas are excellent in containers and in a sunny border, and they dont like wet feet, the soil wants to be well draining, and feed twice a year with a slow release fertiliser and you will get the results.

Gerberas like the Alstoemerias are also good for picking, the flowers last in water for a very long time. The Everlasting series come in a range of three colours - white, crimson, coral.

LOMANDRA TANIKA - alot of gardeners like the foliage look, rather than a garden of flowers. If you would like a garden with grasses, then I can thoroughly recommend a variety called LOMANDRA TANIKA, its a real 10/10 grass as far as its performance and it looks go. The problem with alot of our own N.Z. native grasses in the waikato is that after a couple of years they go brown and yukky and look like they need a damn good comb, but who can be bothered with that sort of look.

The aussie bred LOMANDRA TANIKA (dark forest green) and a sister variety called LOMANDRA SEASCAPE (blueish/green foliage) are from my first hand  experience, the ones to back, because they are outstanding in drought and in poor dry clay soils. Perfect under trees where there is not much soil and conditions of continual drying out, these modern grasses perform with excellence. These Lomandras dont mind the strongest of winds, frosts, and humid conditions.

If you have an area in your garden that literally dries out and is too hard to get any water to over the summer months, then these aussie Lomandras would be a very good option, in the waikato. LOMANDRA NYALLA is also another good one in this stable of plants, similiar to Tanika but gets slightly bigger at 80cm tall.

ACACIA LIMELIGHT - this plant is not a tree like all the other acacias we know in our country. Its another aussie plant thats been bred to perform in the low water useage garden. It has delicate lime green weeping foliage, that looks spectacular all year round. I have found this plant to be a great subject for containers or in a sunny garden and is certainly able to get by with minimal water over the hot summer months. Last year when i was in Australia i saw some outstanding examples of A. LIMELIGHT, they were breathtaking specimens of about .8 metre x .8 metre, and they will become more popular in N.Z. once people start to see some actual specimens for themselves.

I have noticed they can get touched by a hard frost in the waikato, so be a little careful if putting it out in an open garden. Another great plant for a container on the patio, feed 2 x per year with a slow release fertiliser, but one with low phosphorous, as they are like alot of australian plants, are a little sensitive to this nutrient.

The four plants I have talked about today are from my own personal experience, all great performers for the dry summer we are currently  experiencing.

Have a great xmas and summer break, and i look forward to continuing next year with more garden tips and concepts, to enable you to have a lovely garden and importantly spend less time in it,


Garden Articles Archive

Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
Website by WebSpring: web design NZ | Links