I know this sounds old-fashioned in today’s world of driveways with wall-to-wall concrete.
However, there are many hundreds of homes still with the two standard concrete strips.
The centre is often simply filled by pebbles with a regular spraying of glyphosate to keep the weeds under control. Alternatively, the area is grassed, but it’s almost impossible to water it regularly with dead patches from oil drips.
So here is a brilliant colourful solution I spotted at a friend’s home in Yass – gazanias.
As a native of South Africa, gazanias are as tough as it gets, will take all the heat and are highly drought tolerant, requiring a minimum of water.
Its botanical name is Gazania rigens, which refers to upright growth of the stems. The genus honours Theodore of Gaza (1398-1478), who translated the botanical works of Theophrastus from the original Greek to Latin, the language of scholars of the day.
In some areas, gazanias are classed as an environmental weed because they seed quite readily. In others, authorities find an important use for gazanias such as sand dune control. For example, it’s used extensively in Sydney’s north to counteract erosion. Further ornamental uses include over walls, hanging gardens or simply in containers.
Gazanias would look great as a narrow strip either side of the path to the front door, too.
Cymbidiums provide outstanding colour in winter and early spring with their distinctive blooms. Ideally grown in terracotta pots, however – like all potted plants – they can become root bound resulting in less flower spikes.
Re-potting is very easy if you:
- First water the plant, which will aid in its removal from the pot. Some of the fine roots may adhere to the sides of the pot. This may mean tipping the pot on its side and gently tapping with a piece of wood on each side to prevent damage to the pot. Or if it is being stubborn, it may require a long-bladed knife running around the inside of the pot.
- Then divide the clump into several strong growing sections, not too small. Twist the clumps apart by hand, although if they are tightly bound it may be necessary to use a knife.
- Re-pot with a potting mix specifically formulated for orchids, such as Yates Orchid Potting Mix. This is a free-draining mix that is essential for orchids. Water well after repotting to settle the potting mix around the roots and feed with Yates Orchid Liquid Plant Food.
- Place the pot in dappled shade protected from strong winds.
- Don’t place the pot in a saucer. In almost all instances saucers are unnecessary, except perhaps for indoor plants. Raise the pot off the ground by placing on specially made pot feet or use pieces of brick or paver.
- Be prepared to cover tomato plants because it’s still possible to have the odd late frost.
- Place the tomato stake in before planting.
- Plant the tomato plant deep, ie at least 5cm-10cm up the stem. Those fine hairs will develop new, strong roots.
- Water in with Maxicrop Seaweed Plant Nutrient, which specifically encourages strong root growth. Apply about every fortnight.
- As the plant grows, pinch out laterals to encourage strong branches to carry the fruit.