June 2015: A Moseley Garden
Tuesday, 29th September 2015
May has been perfect growing weather, as it often is here! Talking to family in California where they have had no rain since just after Christmas (unusual even for them), it reminds me how lucky we are, horticulturally speaking, having this temperate climate of ours. When it is out the sun is warm and life-giving, and the plants utilize the long hours of light. Seemingly without exception, generous amounts of rainfall almost always arrive to support this main growth spurt of the year. It is such a perfect time of year to look for new and interesting plants to write about!
Wherever I roam from garden to garden there are always plant surprises that suddenly appear and remind me of their presence once again. What has really drawn my eye this year is the Osteospermum. In Moseley there have always been the hardy pale pink varieties, but in recent times the much darker and dusky varieties such as O.’Tresco Purple’ and O. ‘Tresco Pink’ appear to be increasingly popular, especially in front gardens.
For instance on Oxford Road (just after Billesley Lane junction) in Moseley, and Avenue Road Kings Heath (just before the railway bridge on the right hand side heading for Highbury Park), where some mighty specimens have established.
I am talking about the hardy varieties as opposed to the half-hardy annual Osteospermum which appear in various colours from yellow through red, copper and white. These tender Osteos’ (often on sale in stores such as Homebase, as fillers) will never survive a British winter, even the relatively mild winter of 2013/14. Unfortunately it invariably sees them perish under frost and damp. The hardy ones however are tough customers and if they are planted next to or overhanging a wall in full sun, they will thrive.
Osteospermums come from South Africa which explains the origin of their common name of the Cape Daisy. Much like their distant relative the Sunflower, they need the full and warm sun to open up to their best ‘blowsy’ self. They literally don’t open up fully without direct sun, so when planting them keep that in mind. Allow them space to carpet and lollop and make sure they are elevated off the ground ideally either in a big pot or next to the edge of a wall.
To extend their flowering time be fastidious with deadheading its spent flowers – the payoff is months of blooming beauty!
I know York Supplies in King’s Heath can get these for you. They will order them in, as I have done from them before. Indeed it’s a great customer-based shop and a wonderful resource for local gardeners. Let us support local business Moseley Gardeners!