Agri Kultuur March/ Maart 2016 - Page 82

Barleria obtusa Blue Barleria repens 'Tickled Pink' usually for autumn erwise have grown, down. Keep it looking great all year Ground covers form a natural ‘mulch’, shading the soil so that weed seeds are less likely to germinate. After all, most weeds are pioneer plants adapted to grow on exposed soil. Plus, ground covers look a lot prettier than a layer of grass clippings. A dense mat of Gazanias, Stachys, or one of the easygoing Plectranthus species such as Plectranthus neochilus is both practical and attractive. You’ll still get the occasional weed, but you’ll have much less work on your hands if you don’t have bare soil between plants. When weeds do grow, make it your mission to get them out before they can produce seeds. In time, you’ll whittle down the seedbank instead of adding to it every year. One weed allowed to seed can produce literally hundreds of unwanted offspring! Choose plants that flower at different times. A lot of gardeners do all their garden shopping in spring. Make a point of visiting your garden centre at different times of the year so that you can choose plants that flower at different times. For example, autumn brings Lion’s ear (Leonotis), Ribbon bush (Hypoestes aristata) and beautiful bush or creeping Barlerias (Barleria obtusa or Barleria repens) not to mention Bush and creeping Plectranthus for sun, shade, or both. Spring shoppers will miss out on these colourful plants. A word of caution about ‘perpetual flowerers’ that bloom all year: many of them get scruffy owing to all the spent blooms, and you have to trim them back. In addition, many of them are daisy family, and while daises are pretty, you want a little more variety in your flower shapes. Euryops 'Sunshine Classic Fine leaf' Barleria repens Rosea Examples that spring to mind are Euryops ‘Sunshine Classic’ and our pretty, blue Felicias. They’re good plants to have, but you do need to think about maintenance. Getting established Once your garden is established, you shouldn’t have much work to do beyond pruning and occasional thinning. Many people look at plants’ eventual height and spread, and space accordingly, but unless you want big, bare patches until your plants eventually get there, you’ll want to plant a few ‘fillers’. Although some may criticise this as ‘overplanting’, you do get a garden that looks grea B