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Autumn is knocking at the door, and in the morning and evening on the Highveld, there is already a slight nip in the air. If you want a fruitful winter garden, you need to "get cracking" and start sowing or planting out your winter vegetables this month. Vegetables need to establish themselves in autumn when the soil has cooled down sufficiently, but is still warm enough for good growth. You should try to get at least 6 to 8 weeks of good growth on your winter veggies before the major frosts come, anything less and your plants will struggle over the really cold June and July period. Also, remember that in very cold regions June and July are not good months to sow seeds.
As summer draws to a close and the temperatures drop, your roses will take on a whole new intensity of colour and unfading beauty, seldom seen in hot weather. Their petals will unfurl perfectly and the blooms will last much longer too. And, if the temperatures play along, you can have roses well into April and May.
Coral trees are extremely handsome all year round, but impossible to ignore when adorned with their intensely scarlet flowers. The flowers appear either before, or with the first spring leaves, and are filled with delicious nectar for our feathered friends. All our indigenous species are spectacular and have been loved and cultivated by locals since the earliest days of our history. Their popularity and cultivation is not only limited to South Africa but also extends to tropical, subtropical and temperate gardens abroad. If you love these blooms but don’t have space for a tree in your garden, the dwarf coral tree is ideal for small gardens, producing an impressive show of scarlet blooms.
Sun Loving Salvias
Salvia splendens, commonly known as scarlet sage or rooi-salie, also comes in shades of red, purple, pink, cream, white and blue. Not only are they easy to grow, with their showy flowers and deep green leaves, this eye-catching bedding plant offers glorious, long-flowering heads 30cm tall. They flourish in full-sun positions and once established, they withstand high summer temperatures.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale), a close cousin of mustard greens, cabbage and arugula, is considered to be one of the oldest leaf vegetables consumed by humans, with its health giving properties being known since ancient times. Today we know that watercress is brimming with more than 15 essential vitamins and minerals, and if you are a salad lover, you are more than likely familiar with its peppery flavour. "Nasturtium" comes from the Latin words “nasus tortus” which means "twisted nose." If you've ever eaten a particularly spicy bunch of watercress, you know exactly why it acquired this name! Watercress can also be used in salads, soups, sandwiches and many more dishes, to add a bit of zing!