That’s right Johannesburg, it has happened at last! Autumn is here with its hues of brown, red, oranges and yellows. The May wind is doing its job of stripping the last foliage off the outstretched branches and discarding it in heaps in the streets like piles of unwashed laundry.
Our minds are changing slowly to accept the inevitable and unflattering cold, dry and dusty landscape that accompanies the Highveld winter.
Snap out of it! Don’t let that vision of impending doom get you down. In all honesty, autumn on the Highveld ushers in a time of immense beauty and if you had planned your garden correctly you will be enjoying the explosion of vibrant colors from many beautiful shrubs, bulbs and annuals that are easily available. There are not many pleasures that compare to having a supply of fresh flowers for cutting and using around the home. So, if your garden planning has ran a bit behind schedule, not to worry, here is your chance to make notes for next year.
Let’s give you 6 wonderful, autumn flowering plants that you can add to your garden or in some cases your patio if you haven’t already done so.
Smaller than the common Camellia, the Sasanqua is perfect for the modern garden. Growing to a height and width of 3m to 3.5m, the Sasanqua Camillia’s more delicate foliage creates the perfect backdrop, showcasing its magnificent blooms which appear from late summer through autumn and into early winter. Depending on the variety the single, semi double or double blooms will vary in color from a pure white through a range of pinks to a cherry red.
Here you are going to be spoilt for choice. Pick a sunny patch in your garden and transform it into a dazzling display of color. Dahlias are perfect to use as cut flowers for your home. Once picked, re cut the stems under water to avoid air blocks before transferring them to your favorite vase to enhance any room.
St. Josephs Lilies
While we are on the subject of cut flowers, do you believe that you can grow your own St. Josephs Lilies in your garden? Truth be told, it is easier than you think. Find a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil and pop them in. Your reward will be beautiful trumpet shaped, sweetly scented blooms adorning both your garden and your home. Perfectly suited to pots, your lilies will make any bright patio a special place.
Going back to your childhood days, who doesn’t remember these amazing little dragon faced flowers with their delicate, sweet scent and their little mouths that opened and closed when you squeezed their sides. They establish very easily in sunny spots and like to be kept moist. A trick to increase the number of blooms is to deadhead your snapdragons regularly.
Now, back to the bulbs. Tulips will be another source of great joy for you. The feeling of seeing that first perfect little flower opening will be an incredible experience. Their brightly colored, slightly waxy, complex little blooms are another must have for your vases and the fact that Tulips also grow really well in pots just add to their allure.
Mixed Dutch Iris
As you will have picked up by now, we are all for having an abundance of flowering plants that offer the versatility of enhancing your garden as well as supplying your home with a steady supply of fresh, cut flowers. To this end the Dutch Iris fits the bill perfectly. The vibrant colors and incredible complexity of the flowers makes these a must have for any discerning gardener. Once again, choose a patch of well-drained soil in your garden offering your Irises full sun or very light shade and you will have an exceptional display of beauty.
The secret here is to never settle for the mundane or ordinary. With a little bit of planning and very minimal work you will be able to transform your autumn garden and home into a place of vivid color and life.