Cultivated in China for centuries, the petals and young shoots of chrysanthemums were brewed to make tea, reveals Judith Sleijpen.
Regarded as a symbol of love, longevity and happiness, chrysanthemums were not introduced to Europeans until the 17th century.
A lovely new addition to their family is Chrysanthemum ‘Buninyong Bronze’, a neat, compact, hardy perennial growing approximately 60 centimetres high and wide.
From summer through to early winter, it provides almost a continuous display of delightful, bronze-red flowers that attract pollinators.
Chrysanthemums prefer to grow in a sunny spot in most soils that are well draining and benefit from a generous layer of mulch to help retain moisture during dry periods.
Mass planted in the garden, their brilliantly coloured flowers create a stunning effect. In a large, decorative container on a balcony or courtyard their blooms provide maximum impact!
Throughout the warmer months, cut flower stems for indoor floral displays or when they have finished to encourage more blooms to develop.
In spring, remove old foliage at the base once new growth appears to maintain a tidy appearance and apply a slow-release fertiliser.
Top gardening tips for July
● Have your mower serviced when your lawn needs less attention during the cooler months. Then it’s ready for action in spring and summer.
● Dig finished legumes, such as peas and broad beans into the garden. These crops are full of nutrients and improve the soil. Regularly fertilise leafy, green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and cabbage with a fertiliser high in nitrogen.
● Feed citrus trees with a specially formulated fertiliser and harvest the fruit, as needed. Always cut the fruit from the branch – never pull.
● Plant some spring-flowering annuals, such as calendulas, polyanthus and wallflowers to add interest and colour in your garden and fertilise fortnightly with a soluble fertiliser.
● Make sure your pruning tools are sharp and oiled – ready for pruning your roses at the end of the month. To prevent the spread of infection when pruning, dip the cutting blades regularly into a shallow bowl of disinfectant.
Backyard Beekeeping Workshop: Would you like to harvest your own honey? Learn everything you need to know about bees, the equipment needed and how much honey you can expect. Find out
what other products you can make from beeswax such as candles, soap and cosmetic creams. Honey tasting and comprehensive notes are provided and numbers are limited. 10am to 4pm,
Saturday, 17 July, Northern Beaches Community College (9970 1000).
Bonsai for Beginners Workshop: Remove the mystery – create and enjoy your own bonsai! Discover its history and how easy it is to grow. Learn which types of containers, soil, materials and equipment are preferable, and how to maintain, prune, shape, style and display them. Comprehensive notes are provided and bookings are essential. 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 18 July. Northern Beaches Community College (9970 1000).
Judith Sleijpen is an experienced horticulturist, columnist and garden designer, advising clients on all aspects of their gardens. For more information phone 9907 6460.