By JOHN WEEDALL
In our sub tropical climes you don’t really notice the changes in the splendid colour displays from summer rolling into autumn.
These changes are discreet and the benefits are that you only need to water every other or third day in October and liquid feed once a fortnight phasing out altogether by November.
We’re a month away from “wintering” our plants but now’s the time to start planning your terrace masterpiece for next year with flowering from January onwards.
Plant selection is fun and well worth choosing over a glass or two of your favourite wine (by the end of the exercise you’ll probably want to grow a vineyard!)
Here are some suggestions to consider at this time of year.
Before we drove back from England, we visited Poundland to check out their halogen bulbs when we came across their other type of bulb (which surprised me).
Their Gladioli bulbs, Dahlia tubers, Magic Lanterns, Freesias and Asters were packed in our car and were terrific this year.
As perennials we’ll see them next year, and the year after, all for a pound per pack!
They’re presently offering a full range of Daffs and other spring flowers at fantastic value – well worth buying or getting friends or family to send them over.
View their range at poundland.co.uk – (you can tell your friends they came from the Royal Horticultural Society, there’s no difference in blooming quality!)
Algarve Resident Reader Offer
For those special varieties not readily available but stunning on display, it’s important to have a reliable source of plant supply for all seasons and one such company we’ve discovered is Hayloft Plants at www.hayloftplants.co.uk.
They supply across Europe and offer a personal customer service. Don’t forget in England the flowering season is much shorter and their plants will flower significantly longer and often in greater magnitude over here.
They have generously agreed to offer an exclusive 20% discount over their complete range to Algarve Resident readers (quote offer reference AR11 to qualify) for orders placed in 2011 (irrespective of delivery date) either on line or by phone +44 (0)1386 554440.
Note there’s an overseas delivery charge of £4.50 to be added per order.
A few suggestions to consider over that glass of wine ideally suited for pots might be Asclepias Tuberosa, a vibrant orange plant which loves full sun. These are available for despatch presently and can be potted on receipt from this time of year onwards.
Use a couple of intermediate size pots bringing them on to their final pot to the spec I referred to in the September 16 issue.
They will grow to a height of around 30 inches and spread to about 18 inches so they’re ideal as a background to shorter plants when designing your terrace layout.
A big bonus is they attract butterfly species and bees like a magnet.
A second choice available for delivery this time of year is the Clematis Cirrhosa Balerica, a climber reaching some 12-15 feet.
These can be planted in a medium size pot in their final position right away and will flower in our climate within a month or so of planting.
In the UK, they’re a wintering variety but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop there in our climate! We’ve discovered our two varieties of Clematis flowered in three separate waves over a four month period but it’s important you deadhead the flower stems once they’re over.
Both my plant suggestions here are perennial plants so they’ll willingly revisit you every year!
An absolute must on your terrace or from a hanging basket is Calibrachoa Mini Petunias available in blue and pink.
Three plants proportionately placed in a pot of approx 30cm diameter and 30cm tall will yield a cascade of sensational blooms and therefore best positioned on an upside down pot or small pedestal to give sufficient height.
This is a new variety we bought this year and proved a stunning feature.
It’s only available for delivery from April but worth ordering between now and Christmas to qualify for the Algarve Resident offer.
As far as I can see, they’re only available from Hayloft and not presently listed in their catalogue. You can order them however by emailing in the first instance via their website.
In next month’s issue, resting summer pots over winter and how to get rid of unwelcome guests, apart from moving your wine bottle out of sight!