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A good time to plant gorgeous flowers

Microgreens are a quick, easy way to add a fresh taste sensation and gourmet touch to your culinary creations . . .

ChrysanthemumsChrysanthemums are in the daisy family and come in a wide variety of very pretty colours, from white and cream through almost every shade of pink and even light green. They can have open, simple flowers or have masses of petals.

Chrysanthemums are often treated as a short-lived plant, but with the right care they can grow for several years.

Here are some tips on how to keep your special chrysanthemum thriving:

• Keep the pot in a bright position indoors where you can admire the flowers.

• Water the pot regularly but not so that the saucer is full of water. It’s best to water the potting mix rather than over the foliage — this helps to minimise diseases.

• Trim any spent flower heads regularly to keep the chrysanthemum looking tidy and help promote more flowers.

• After a few weeks move the plant outdoors and plant it into a sunny garden bed or into a slightly larger pot, with good-quality potting mix.

• Feed each week with Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food to promote a flush of new foliage and flowers.

Pest control tip: Chrysanthemums can often be attacked by aphids, which are tiny sap-sucking insects that deplete the plant. Regular sprays of Yates Rose Gun will keep aphids under control.

CyclamenCyclamen come in a range of gorgeous flower colours, from pinks and purples through to white, scarlet and magenta, with some varieties having two-toned flowers or a light fragrance. Cyclamen’s heart-shaped leaves are also attractive and can have mottled colours.

Potted cyclamen become available in autumn. With a little care, cyclamen can flower for many months and can be grown outdoors on a sheltered patio or deck, or indoors on a cool, well ventilated, brightly-lit windowsill. They prefer cool overnight conditions, so don’t leave them near a heater.

Cyclamen can also be planted into protected garden areas under trees, creating a wonderful woodland effect.

When watering cyclamen, only water the soil surface, avoiding wetting the flowers and foliage (to minimise disease) and only water when the soil feels a little dry.

Remove any spent flowers by twisting them off at the base and feed each fortnight with a potassium-enriched liquid fertiliser.

When cyclamen leaves start to turn yellow in late spring, reduce watering and allow the pot to dry out in preparation for their dormant phase during summer. You can keep a dormant cyclamen in a sheltered spot outside in the garden (underneath a shrub is ideal) until new shoots start to emerge at the end of summer. The cyclamen can then be re-potted using fresh, good quality potting mix to give it a new lease on life.

Fabulous flowersPlants that flower during the coolest seasons provide bees and other pollinators with a valuable source of food, as well as bringing bright happy colours into our gardens and outdoor spaces. Autumn is the perfect time to plan your late-winter and spring flower show, and sowing flowers from seed is an easy and economical way to achieve masses of colour.

Here are some beautiful flowers that can be sown in autumn:

Yates Aquilegia Columbine: these delightful cottage-style plants have unusual and very attractive flowers in cream, pink, yellow and lavender combined with dainty fern-like foliage.Yates Calendula Pacific Beauty: taking only 10 weeks to flower, calendulas put on a bright show of apricot, yellow and orange flowers. Calendula flowers can also add some pizzazz to a salad.Yates Cornflower Mystic Blue: creating a beautiful cottage meadow feel, this is a hardy, easy-to-grow variety that produces an abundance of beautiful double flowers in rich shades of blue.Yates Cornflower Double Mixed: if you can’t decide which cornflower colour to grow, this mix of pinks, blues and whites creates a gorgeous display of flowers that are also great for cutting for a vase.Yates Lupin Russell Hybrids: dramatic rockets of flowers in a superb colour range, reaching up to 1m tall and ideal for the background of a flower garden bed.Yates Lupin Hartwegeii Mixed: stately spires of white, blue and yellow sweetly-scented blooms which are perfect for cutting.Before sowing or transplanting flowering plants into a garden bed or pot, enrich the soil or potting mix with some blood and bone. Once the flower seedlings are around 5cm tall, start feeding with potassium-fortified Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food to promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of colourful flowers.

Stunning sasanquasCamellias are a wonderfully versatile and beautiful group of plants. They can be grown as a hedge or espaliered, used as a feature plant or grown in containers, and provide gorgeous colour during the cooler months of the year, particularly in shaded areas that can be challenging to add colour to.

Sasanqua camellias, which are more sun-hardy than japonica camellias, start flowering in mid to late autumn. Growing several varieties of both sasanqua and later-flowering japonica camellias can bring many months of flowers into the garden.

Colours range from white to pretty pastel pinks, reds and even yellow and there are also different flower types, including doubles, ruffled petals and single flowers with exposed stamens, which are adored by bees.

As the cooler weather approaches, here are some tips to help keep your sasanqua camellias looking fantastic:

Feeding: All camellias will love a feed during autumn with Yates Thrive Granular Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron Plant Food. It provides a potassium-enriched nutrient boost to help promote healthy green leaf growth and lots of flowers.Watering: Camellias like moist but well-drained soil, so water camellias regularly to keep them hydrated. Potted camellias will require more frequent watering than in-ground camellias.Green thumb tip: If you’ve had problems with bud balling in the past (where buds form but go brown and don’t open), an application of liquid magnesium might help.

A rose for winter shopping listWinter is just around the corner, which means bare-rooted rose planting time is not far away.

Bred by David Austin, “The Poet’s Wife” is a beautiful shrub rose with cupped flowers that begin as deep yellow buds and gradually pale and soften as the flowers age. It has a lovely rich fragrance with a hint of lemon. The Poet’s Wife grows to around 1m tall and wide with glossy green foliage.

This gorgeous variety will be available during winter as bare-rooted or potted plants. When planting a bare-rooted rose, choose a spot in the garden that receives at least six hours of sunshine a day and has good air flow. Dig a hole around 30cm wide and deep. Mix some blood and bone into the soil dug from the hole.

Create a pyramid shaped mound of soil in the bottom of the planting hole. Place the rose in the hole with its roots sitting on and around the mound of soil. Ensure that the graft union (bump on the stem) will be sitting at least 5cm above ground level.

Backfill around the roots gently with blood and bone-enriched soil and then water in well. Apply a layer of organic mulch, like bark chips or lucerne mulch, around the new rose, keeping the mulch a few centimetres away from the stem. Keep the soil moist while the new rose establishes.

The Poet’s Wife is also perfect for growing in a pot. Choose a pot at least 30cm in diameter and fill with a quality potting mix.

MicrogreensMicrogreens are fast-growing, being ready to pick in just 2-3 weeks. You can grow microgreens year-round in a warm, well-lit position indoors, or outdoors during the warmer months on a protected patio or veranda.

Yates Microgreens Cabbage Rubies are a striking microgreen with a sweet, mild flavour. They have colourful purple stems topped with delicate, tiny green leaves.

Grow your own microgreens using these easy steps:

• Sprinkle half a packet of Yates Microgreen Cabbage Rubies over a 10cm diameter pot filled with compacted and moistened Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix. For best results the seeds must be sown thickly.

• Cover the seed with a thin layer of seed-raising mix and moisten using a mist spray bottle.

• Place the pots in a warm, well-lit position indoors (or outdoors during warm weather), out of direct sunlight.

• Keep the seed-raising mix consistently moist.

• Apply liquid plant food at half strength once the seedlings emerge.

• Snip microgreens above the soil line once they are 3-5cm tall.

Gourmet tip: You can sprinkle microgreens over pasta dishes, salads, baked potatoes with sour cream and scrambled eggs, and add them into sandwiches, wraps and rice paper rolls. - Courtesy of Yates