Tea trees are in full flower now

Phyl Boyce

Reporter:

Phyl Boyce

Tea trees are in full flower now

THE leptospermum (New Zealand tea tree) is in full flower at this time of the year. The common name comes from the use of some leptospermums to make tea. A native of Australia and New Zealand it is grown for its aromatic neat foliage and small profusely borne flowers.

The flowers are shallow shaped with 5 white, red or pink petals. The plant grows in a moderately fertile well drained soil in full sun or partial shade with shelter from cold winds. After flowering trim or lightly cut shoots. The plant is tender and will not survive severe frost. The plant is more resistant to frost if grown in well-drained soil. Leptospermum ‘Red Damask’ produces double dark red flowers. Leptospermum ‘Silver Sheen’ has silver green leaves and white flowers.

Argyranthemums produce dainty, daisy like flowers that bloom from late spring to early winter. Even the foliage is beautiful, sometimes resembling smaller versions of chrysanthemums available at flower shops. Argyranthemums, as they are known in Latin, have been in cultivation for more than 200 years with over 80 different types available. They produce flowers in a range of colours like white, rose pink, yellow or apricot. They come from the Canary Islands and Madeira where their native habitat ranges from the seashore through woodland edges and up to the slopes of volcanic mountains. Planting different types of pink flowering argyranthemums together can look very effective whether in the garden or in pots.

Argyranthemums are best bought as reasonably well mature plants towards the end of May. These plants can go straight into reasonable well drained garden soil in a warm sunny position.

Here the plant will perform beautifully with no attention at all required. Argyranthemums are tender perennials and are well suited for either containers or borders.

When there is a slight lull in flowering, trim to remove all the old flower heads and some of the tops of the stems to encourage bushier growth and ultimately produce even more flowers. Argyranthemum foeniculaceum is a compact subshrub that produces white flowers with yellow centres. It is a native of Tenerife.

Jobs for the week

Sprinkle rose fertiliser around the roots to encourage strong growth and a good flower display. If the weather is dry water around the plants to get the fertiliser into the roots.

Cut off the old flower stems of lupins and delphiniums before they start to set seed. This will tidy up the plant and as an added bonus may produce a second flush of flowers. Give then a boost by watering them with a liquid fertiliser.

Congested clumps of irises that have finished flowering can be lifted, divided and replanted. Reduce the size of the leaves by half and replant so that the rhizomes are at soil level.

Fuchsias growing in the greenhouse should have their tips pinched out to encourage branching. The shoots can grow very long and lanky, pinching out produces bushier plants with more stems that will produce more flowers.

If you want to grow your fuchsia as a standard, allow one shoot to grow straight up, remove side shoots until the plant reaches the desired height. Pinch out the tip of the straight stem to produce a bushy head.

Potted plants growing in containers of compost only contain sufficient nutrients to feed the plants for four to six weeks. These plants will need a weekly liquid feed to encourage strong growth and generous flowering or fruiting.

Thin out rows of vegetable seedlings, such as lettuce, beetroot and spinach, growing from earlier sowings. Final spacings are given on the seed packet.

Congested seedling never reach their full size. Carefully remove unwanted seedlings, then water the remaining seedlings to settle the soil back around the roots of the seedlings.