Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD PASTIMES -

Nas­tur­tiums, right, are fast grow­ers that add bright colour to con­tain­ers, bor­ders and rock­eries. There are climb­ing and bush va­ri­eties in mixed and in­di­vid­ual colours of apri­cot, ma­hogany, gold, yel­low and red. Alaska has var­ie­gated leaves. Leaves and flow­ers have a pep­pery taste that can be used to gar­nish sal­ads and desserts.

Wel­come your vis­i­tors with pots of brightly coloured flow­ers grouped at the en­trance to your home. If the en­trance is sunny, choose dwarf marigolds, salvia, nico­tiana and vinca for the cen­tre of the con­tainer, and around the edges plant trail­ing lo­belia, nas­tur­tium and alyssum. Be­go­nia, New Guinea im­pa­tiens and tore­nia suit pots in shaded ar­eas.

Older va­ri­eties of hy­drangeas may reach 2m in height and make ex­cel­lent back­ground shrubs for po­si­tions in dap­pled or fil­tered shade. Mod­ern cul­ti­vars are smaller and com­pact and suit­able for the front of a lightly shaded border or for grow­ing in con­tain­ers, also in light shade. Hy­drangeas flower gen­er­ously at this time and should be wa­tered deeply and the fo­liage sprayed on hot days.

Over­crowd­ing is es­pe­cially no­tice­able in small gar­dens, so when buy­ing plants, check la­bels to es­tab­lish ma­ture height and width.

If you like bright colours and plants that can with­stand heat, plant bold groups of celosias with their silky feath­ery plumes of pink, gold, orange, red or ma­roon.

The white flow­ers of gar­de­nias flower in midsummer. They need a rich, acid soil and a po­si­tion in fil­tered shade, or in morn­ing sun and af­ter­noon shade. Pre­vent dam­age from sooty mould by spray­ing with Malathion or Oleum.

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