May is the last month of autumn and with the cooler weather a whole new range of plants come into season. That's what's exciting about gardening, there is always change and new things to discover!
Cyclamen are gorgeous potted plants that will give you colour throughout the cooler months. They become available in the nursery in autumn and come in a range of colours, from pinks and purples through to white, scarlet and magenta. Some varieties can also have two toned flowers or a light fragrance. The cyclamen's heart shaped leaves are also attractive and can have mottled colours.
Cyclamens are generally easy care and can flower for many months. They can be grown outdoors on a sheltered patio or indoors in cool, but brightly lit position. They prefer cool overnight conditions, so don't leave them near a heater.
Cyclamen can also be planted into the garden in a protected spot under trees, creating a wonderful woodland effect. When watering only water the soil surface when the soil feels a little dry. Remove any spent flowers by twisting them off at the base and feed each fortnight with liquid fertiliser.
When your cyclamen finishes flowering in spring, put it outside in a shady, sheltered spot (under a tree or shrub is good). Then when new shoots start to appear at the end of summer, re-pot with good quality potting mix and your cyclamen will be ready to go again.
If you are looking for something different in the garden keep an eye out for the ever popular Dichondra Argentea, "Silver Falls". It is an unusual and attractive plant with beautiful silver foliage that cascades in long trailing stems. It is drought hardy and tolerates frost and dry conditions. In the garden bed it provides a carpet like ground cover. It also makes a great feature in a tall pot and is very good for growing in hanging baskets. Only growing to 15cm high, it will cascade down 1-1.5m in length, making it a perfect plant for planting along an edge of a raised bed or rock wall. Plant in well-drained soil in a full sun to part shade position. Once established it is easy to grow and requires little attention but give it a deep watering during dry spells.
Quick tips for May
May is your last chance to get winter veggies and plants into your garden so they'll be ready to harvest or bloom in spring.
Harvest your autumn citrus fruit as it ripens. Throw way any fruit that has fallen and rotting on the ground, so it won't attract unwanted bugs. May is also the ideal time to plant any new evergreen fruit trees that you want to add to your garden. The cooler weather means they can establish new roots before their growth slows down in winter.
Tidy up your container plants. Many summer flowering annuals will be past their best by now. These should be removed and replaced with winter flowering annuals such as pansies, violas, polyanthus and primula. Weed all pots thoroughly and top up with fresh potting mix so plants will be looking their best during winter.
Plant winter flowering shrubs. Plant a few shrubs that bloom at this time of year, like banksias, camellias, gordonia, hibiscus, Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica), leucospermum, leucadendron, pieris, tibouchina and viburnum.
- Article courtesy of Glenbrook Village Nursery, 20 Ross Street, Glenbrook: www.glenbrookvillagenursery.com.au