Go to pot this summer


Johannesburg - The holiday season is here and outdoor entertaining and family festivities mean the focus will be on your patio, home and entrance.

So give some thought to revitalising your garden for the festivities.

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Plant up containers of pelargoniums in the full sun against walls for instant colour.The lime green of parsley offers a contrast to the white blooms of flowering amaryllis.

The easiest and quickest way to give your outdoor entertainment areas an instant and colourful “lift” is to add some attractive containers filled with fast-growing and colourful annuals and perennials.

Containers can also be used to provide positive focal points in a newly planted or lacklustre border.

50 shades of green

Never underestimate the 50 shades of green that vegetables and herbs can offer your colour scheme when you are planting up containers.

Speed up their impact of the colours by buying packs of ready-grown herbs and vegetable seedlings from your local garden centre.

Look out for the following vegetables that you can plant up in containers this month: beans, beet, brinjals, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, gems, lettuce, leeks, marrows, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, radish, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip. If you are looking for herbs, try basil, borage, parsley or thyme.

Colour for summer

Make use of the following ideas to have stunning colour with minimum effort:

* For containers in sunny spots choose ageratum, alyssum, lavatera, bedding dahlia, marigold, nasturtium, nicotiana, petunia, red and purple salvia, verbena and zinnia.

* Perennials such as colourful pelargoniums, gazanias and daisy bushes can also be used.

* For shady places choose begonias, coleus, lobelia and pansies.

* For height, plant a fuchsia in the centre of the container.

* On a large patio use a group of containers for more impact, and to soften the harshness of the area.

* Troughs can be used effectively along the edge of a patio.

* When buying annuals look for compact, healthy plants. Plants that have been allowed to dry out should be rejected. Avoid plants that are pot bound, with roots showing beneath the seed tray or pot.

* For best effect limit the number of different colours used to a maximum of three and choose shades that harmonise or contrast with each other.

* A low container will focus attention on the plants.

* A decorative pot can be as much a part of the display as the plants it holds.

* In hot, dry areas coat the inside of porous containers with a sealant to stop excessive moisture loss. Put bits of broken terracota plants at the bottom of the pot to help with drainage.

- Saturday Star

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