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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Hot and Dry

On the windowsill or next to the wall, it’s sometimes easy to forget that plants still need watering even when it rains. In a sunny position during a hot summer, they may even need to be watered twice a day. Fuchsias and busy lizzies are quick to bring on your guilt by looking all sad and limp before they start shedding their leaves.

For a south-facing spot, I like to choose flowers that can take a spot of scorching and won’t sulk too much if I let them go dry occasionally.

Livingstone daisies (Mesembryanthemum) A fine leaved trailer with masses upon masses of small blue, pink or white dais-like flowers. Such a good temper: I’ve never seen it sulk or look stressed.

Felicia A trailer with small but quite startling blue flowers. You can get them with cream variegated foliage, which looks very good with blue, but I have found these to be far less sun tolerant than green-leaved forms.

Gazanias These are tough little plants that will really take a baking. The flowers, which come in all shades from cream to orange, close up on cloudy days when there isn’t enough light. I rather like them for this as it reflects my moods but it can be a bit of a downer in a bad summer.

Osteospermum Easy to please with a choice of purples, pinks, blues and white blooms. Not a party flower though as they close up at night. Trim the plants hard back after the first main flush and they will back in full bloom with a few weeks and carry on well into the autumn.

Californian poppies (Eschscholzia) Available in a range of vibrant colours that bring their own sunshine. Each flower lasts a day but they keep on coming. Very undemanding; will even grow in rubble.

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