What is happening in the Autumn Flower garden?

Autumn Flower Chrysanthemum in full bloom on the house deck

We are now over the mid-way point in Autumn. Temperatures are starting to cool. Yet, it is still an excellent time to get out into the garden. Here’s what is happening in the Autumn Flower garden.

The Northland and Auckland drought is no more, but we are expecting a few dry weeks still to come. With the emphasis being on “a few dry weeks” and no more, we hope. Our household survives on tank water. It has cost a lot of money since November to keep topping up the two tanks that we have on the property.

What’s flowering now

It brings so much happiness to see plants flowering. Especially when the temperatures are cooling. As clouds fill the sky, in the country known as “the long white cloud.” Depression could set in but is held in check due to the magnificent flowering displays.

I am overjoyed with a Chrysanthemum received as a gift last November is full of bloom. The Chrysanthemum was re-potted in January. Then placed on the outside deck where it gets a good level of sun and has repaid us ten-fold.

Antirrhinum Black Prince Snapdragon bordering a fence
Antirrhinum Black Prince Snapdragon bordering a fence in the garden.

The Antirrhinum Black Prince Snapdragon has a superb near-black velvety crimson bloom. I love the colour.

Flowers to sow now

Calendula Flower with greenery around it.
Calendula Flower – Candyman Orange

I am planning on sowing Calendula which is currently a favourite of mine. In stock, I have Candyman Orange and Yellow, a mixed coloured variety seed. As well as Yellow Porcupine Calendula seeds.

Generally, at this time of year, I start sowing inside, in a sunny position, before placing outside undercover for hardening up.

COVID19 is causing a lot of disruption to the garden, supplies are running low. All garden supplies purchases need to be online. Inundated courier drivers are hard at work, but deliveries are slower than usual. It would be far easier to buy in a shop, but that is not currently possible.

Autumn is about Bulbs

Another part of the flower garden effected by COVID19 is the bulbs supply chain. Autumn is all about bulbs. I have ordered several bulb varieties online this year. Shipping was expected to be the end of March but is now the end of April. The bulbs that I have ordered are Anemones. Ranunculus, Daffodils and Crocus.

Anemones and Ranunculus

Anemone and Ranunculus, planted from mid-January to mid-May. With COVID19 delayed delivery, it will be late in the season for planting these bulbs. Anemones and Ranunculus usually need 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. Anemones and Ranunculus are suitable for partial shady areas. I have a few shady areas for these bulbs.

Daffodils

Daffodils are always a favourite for their bright colours. Daffodils can be planted in sunny areas with well-drained soil. Daffodil bulbs can be left in the garden for up to four years before they need to be lifted and separated. Some of my Daffodil bulbs have been gone a lot longer in the ground than four years and appear to be fine. I can be a lazy gardener at times!

Crocus

For the shadier areas of the garden, I have purchased Crocus bulbs. Crocus is an early spring flower. So, it will be interesting to see whether they do flower early spring.  And what the effects of the late planting will have on them.

Plant Shrubs in Autumn

Shrubs planted during Autumn and Winter are Camellias, Daphne, Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

Azaleas

Azaleas come from the Rhododendron and are either deciduous or evergreen. Deciduous means a shrub that loses it leaves every year in Autumn. The opposite of evergreen, which Rhododendrons in New Zealand, tend to be evergreen. Both Azaleas and Rhododendrons like an acidic pH, so they do not like clay soils.

Camellias

Camellias are hardy evergreens. And like Rhododendrons and Azaleas, there is a wide variety to choose from. Camellias offerings differ in height, size and shape. As well as growth habit and an assortment of flowers.

Camellias are either Autumn flowering or Winter-Spring flowering.

Camellias like dappled light. Like Rhododendrons, Camellias like moist acidic soils. So inexpensive testing of the soils is essential. As Alkaline soils may need a slow-release Acid Food.

Camellias will need to be well-water during the warmer summer months.

Daphne

Daphne shrubs are fussy plants, particularly with their problematic root systems. Daphne like acidic soils but not too much nitrogen. Daphne also likes well-drained soils and tend to like drier soils than wet soils.

There is a good variety of Daphne shrubs, so check them out at your local garden centre.

Enjoyed this article; find out what is happening in the Autumn vegetable garden, click here.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

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