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Hi Gardeners,

Wasn’t it wonderful to see the rain. Here we go getting into action for April by planting out autumn bulbs and the new varieties of bedding plants and vegetables. Continuing my movie theme, I watched a lovely movie called ‘This Beautiful Fantastic’. Of course, it is set in a beautiful garden in the heart of London. As you know, I love magic and I found this movie quite magical, especially the approach to the gardening in this movie.


I asked myself, what is a magical flower? Companion plants Lavender and Roses topped the list with Lavender increasing the scent of the Roses.

Then I thought of healing flowers and the Calendula was the first one that came to mind. Available in nurseries now, this lovely flower has historical significance. Its petals are used to heal cuts, rashes, acne and athlete’s foot and it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Yellow flowers are a symbol of happiness. Coming into nurseries soon will be Chrysanthemums and don’t forget Daffodils.

Last but not least Dahlias. With more than 40 different varieties, these are very pleasing to the eye because of the most well-proportioned flower when in bloom. Dahlias and Chrysanthemums will benefit now from a light feed of a complete fertiliser as they will soon be reaching their peak flowering time. Disbud around the main terminal bud to achieve larger blooms and watch out for snails and slugs.

What would you consider the world’s most beautiful flower? We are so spoilt for choice.


I know the weather is still against us for vegetable planting, but now is the time for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and other autumn seedlings. Make sure to give them a side dressing of complete fertiliser every three weeks. This is important as leafy vegetables will not develop fully if at any stage they become retarded due to a lack of nourishment. You can sow seeds of carrots, radish, beetroot, turnips, parsnip and onions. To assist with better distribution when sowing seeds, mix the seeds with dry sand and even a little bit of slow-release fertiliser.


In a full sun, part shade or a shaded position in the garden or in pots, palms are versatile and are easy to grow.


Native to Queensland, Alexandra Palms are extremely popular, growing to approximately 10 metres. They are self-cleaning, dropping old fronds and can be planted any time of the year, in a sunny or shaded position.

Golden Cane Palms are outstanding garden specimens with a beautiful golden tinge to the leaf, midrib and leaf base, giving it a golden effect. This plant grows well indoors and on patios, but does not like cold drafts and should be protected from cold winter winds if kept in a pot. It will tolerate being heavily rootbound. Feed well in summer with lots of water in warm weather. Water only when dry during winter months.


The Bamboo Palm clusters like bamboo and will grow to approximately two to three metres in the garden in deep shade. They are excellent in pots and will grow indoors in bright indirect light.

A great indoor palm which loves low light conditions is the Parlour Palm. It branches from the base and if it gets too tall cut out the central stem. Suckers will develop from the base making it a bushier plant, growing to about two metres in the garden and one metre in a pot.

Both these palms should be kept moist but not wet. If you place these palms in direct sunlight the leaves will scorch quickly.

The multi-stemmed Cascade Palm grows to approximately three metres with an abundance of fronds from top to bottom. It is a lovely plant in the garden and excellent in large pots.

Garden beds should be well-prepared before planting, with the addition of Blood and Bone, cow manure and/or compost. Both gardens and potting mix can be improved by adding some peat moss so that the soil is loose and reasonably fertile. If planting in a pot, always use a good quality potting mix.

For palms in the garden, fertilise with a high nitrogen, balanced fertiliser like Dynamic Lifter in September, December and March. A teaspoon of Blood and Bone in October is also beneficial. In pots, liquid feed once a month and use a slow-release fertiliser in September and January.

Main pests to watch out for are grasshoppers, mealy bug and scale. These problems are easily controlled by using the appropriate spray. Golden Canes do get black spot in winter, over watering in cold weather causes this problem, so watch your watering.

If you are unsure on whether to use potting mix or garden soil, just tell your nursery the name of your plant and they will have the mix for it.

Happy Gardening,


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