The past few weeks have certainly felt like an early spring in our neck of the woods.
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All the last leaves hanging around on the deciduous trees are off, and the winter flowering annuals and perennials all look bright and cheerful after their ideal weather burst. This time of the year we always look at pruning, to kick-start spring around the home.
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August is always full of flowers, and this year many of the local gardens are showing colour early.
Abelias are trending
Abelias, once the stalwart of gardens in Bedfordview and Edenvale areas, are back and trending in the modern garden.
They are easy to grow, and are popular because of interesting foliage accompanied by showy flowers, and the fact that they are fast growers.
Their shiny leaves have earned them the name Glossy Abelia, and in recent years they have had a makeover with new varieties which provide a range of colours and forms. When allowed to grow as a shrub, Abelia has gracefully arching branches with bright, glossy foliage and bell-shaped white flowers.
Glossy Abelia grows well in a mixed shrub border, and has a long season of flowering from midsummer to late autumn.
Use it for hedging to separate garden areas, as a screen or along a foundation.
Mostly flowering in white, there are new varieties with mauve to pink flowers on the market which are cute.
The Glossy Abelia is the original with its glossy dark-green leaves – and then came the yellow-leaved Abelias.
Many love the new cream-leaved ones, and the larger flowers on the new varieties are just as attractive.
Abelia will grow best in sun, but the green-leaved varieties will take a half-day shade to dapple-shade quite well.
The yellow-leaved varieties have a better colour the more full sun they get. When planting them either as a shrub or as a hedge, dig a hole at least two times the size of the original container or bag.
Then mix one-part compost, or acid compost, to the excavated soil with a handful of bone meal to stimulate root strong roots. Add a handful of BioGanic to encourage good growth. Insert the plant; mound the soil slightly and mulch with an additional layer of compost as a mulch.
There is no regular maintenance required growing Abelias. Although they are water-wise, they will be a lot lusher if they receive regular watering.
They do benefit from a good cutback in early spring to rejuvenate the growth, and this will add to the strong branches and overall arching effect of the shrub.
Feeding them with fertiliser regularly through the summer months will encourage more growth which will add to the overall impact of the plant. If one grows them as a hedge or as a clipped ball, they will need to be shaped quite often.
• Information provided by Eckards Garden Pavilion.