Romancing the garden

After a long January, why not drop a few hints, or spoil yourself with these fragrant garden flowers. February is the month of romance, after all.

Dianthus ‘I Love You’  is the perfect Valentine’s day gift for the gardener in your life. The frilled double flowers form a posy of blooms that change from deep-pink, to light pink and finally white. The plants are neat and compact, suitable for popping into a pot, along with chocolates and champagne (why not!) .

Other deliciously fragrant dianthus are ‘Pink Kisses’ that produces masses of tiny, bicolour flowers in pink with a darker pink centre while ‘Early Love’ has long-lasting large double flowers in dazzling shades of pink and red.

These pot dianthus are ideal gift plants that can start their life in a pot on the patio or indoors, then be transferred to the garden. As patio or as indoor plants they should receive filtered sun or bright light.

They are equally good as garden plants, in soil that drains well and where there is plenty of sun. Fertilise once a month with a liquid fertiliser to encourage new flowers. Just cut back the spent flowers and the plant will flower again in three to four weeks. They are frost tolerant. Are there any roses that aren’t romantic?

Each bloom has its own special beauty. However, there are roses that seem especially romantic because they have such evocative names. How about ‘My Darling’ (you old softy!), Ace of Hearts (clearly a gambler), ‘Bewitched’ (can’t help myself), ‘Eyes for You’ (that’s a winner),  Forever Delight’ (flatterer),  ‘Heart  Throb’  and ‘True Love’ (now you’re talking).

‘Heart Throb’ is a beautiful all-round good garden rose that is powerfully fragrant. It grows to hip height, not taking up too much space in the garden and is a good container rose as well. Its healthy, glossy leaves are disease resistant, and its spreading habit and strong roots give it stamina to survive adverse weather conditions, including dry spells.

For the ultimate fragrant rose, ‘Perfume Passion’ fits the bill.  It has romantic old-fashioned type blooms that can be cut to perfume the home. The bush is vigorous with an outstanding natural disease resistance. By cutting blooms regularly the bush can be kept at a neat medium height, ideal for a container which can be moved to where the perfume can be enjoyed the most. If left to grow it establishes itself as a tall 2m high shrub, covered in flowers.

‘My Darling’ is a tall hybrid tea rose named in memory of a father who loved roses, and also loved giving roses to people. The blooms have a cream base, brushed with a tint of peach and pink that deepens towards the heart of the bloom. A deeper coral pink edges the petals, framing the soft inner colours. This tough, Eco Chic rose grows to shoulder height and flowers profusely. To pick your perfect rose, browse through the Ludwig’s Roses catalogue online or visit a Ludwig’s Rose outlet and lose yourself among the roses.

Garden tasks for February

  • Water early morning or late afternoon to help plants stand up to the heat.
  • Keep the soil cool by mulching around plants and put shade cloth over veggie beds.
  • Use biological or organic controls for pests like aphids, white fly and mealie bug that suck the sap out of stems and leaves.
  • Don’t cut back or prune plants during very hot periods. Leaves act as a cooling system for plants.
  • Water container plants and hanging baskets every day, even twice a day on very hot days.
  • Mow the lawn longer to shade the roots. This makes it more drought tolerant.

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