Some plant names describe them perfectly! This is definitely the case with a plant called Plum Gorgeous, says Judith Sleijpen.
Growing to a height of about 1.5 metres and spreading up to 2 metres wide, the Fringe Flower ‘Plum Gorgeous’ (Loropetalum chinense) is an evergreen perennial with naturally dense, domed growth.
Throughout the year, it features dark plum foliage and, during spring and autumn, displays masses of vivid, deep raspberry-coloured, tasseled flowers.
Grow Plum Gorgeous in a sunny spot in organic-enriched, well-drained soils. Once
established, its water requirements are low but it appreciates a good soak during
extended periods of heat.
Plum Gorgeous makes a stunning feature specimen in any landscape, providing both structure and year-round colour. Its naturally, slightly weeping form makes it ideal for oriental-style gardens or an informal hedge.
These plants require minimal maintenance. No pruning is generally required other than shaping to style. A light trim after flowering maintains its compact shape and an
application of slow-release fertiliser encourages healthy growth.
Top Gardening Tips for October
- Plant summer vegetable seedlings, such as tomatoes, carrots, and beetroot. Apply some organic fertiliser to encourage vigorous growth. When planting tomatoes, choose a spot where tomatoes have not grown for at least five years.
- Check azaleas for signs of lace bug, indicated by light mottling on the upper surface of the leaves and small, black deposits on the underside. Prune off and dispose of affected foliage where possible, then spray with a low-toxic pesticide to protect the plant from further attack.
- Watch out for blackspot on roses. This fungal disease may appear as yellow to black markings on the leaves. Remove any affected foliage and discard.
- Look out for plague thrips. These tiny, sap-sucking insects like to infest white and light-coloured flowers. Eradicate them with pyrethrum.
- Get rid of caterpillars, removing by hand (always wear gloves) or applying a non-toxic, bacterial control.
- Enjoy growing and eating your own potatoes. Plant some certified, disease-free ‘seed potatoes’ in a sunny, open spot in well-drained, fertile soil. The time to harvest your crop is one month after the flowers have finished.
- Give Australian native shrubs, such as waxflower, tea-tree and bottlebrush a light trim after flowering to maintain an attractive shape and feed with a low phosphorous fertiliser.
Backyard Beekeeping Workshop: Learn everything you need to know about bees, the equipment needed and how much honey you can expect. Honey tasting and comprehensive notes are provided, and numbers are limited. 10am to 4pm, Sunday 17 October, Northern Beaches Community College www.nbmc.nsw.edu.au (9970 1000).
Plant Propagation Workshop: Learn the many methods of propagating plants, including cuttings, division, layering, grafting and more. Grow your own perennials, shrubs, and trees. Comprehensive notes are provided, and bookings are essential. 10am to 4pm, Sunday 31 October, Northern Beaches Community College www.nbmc.nsw.edu.au. (99701000).
Judith Sleijpen is an experienced horticulturist, columnist, and garden designer, advising clients on all aspects of their gardens. For more information, phone 9907 6460.