Welcome to my website about growing ornamental plants organically. Few gardens work well without flowering plants, and in an organic garden where insect activity is encouraged, they are vital. My flowering plants bring pleasure by filling the air with wonderful fragrances and stimulate the senses with their beauty............................................John Ashworth 26th December 2015.
Latest Update 31st August 2016.
I have a
number of different Hebe varieties with deep purple flowers through
various shades of pink to pure white. I don't know the exact varieties
since they all originated from cuttings donated by friends and family.
varieties originated in New Zealand, and most of them like full sun. I
have one which doesn't (see photo). It grows best in winter and flowers
in late winter into spring. I grow mine in partial shade to protect
its leaves from hot sun in summer.
Hebes grow in
a wide range of habitats, from coastal areas to alpine
regions. My Hebe are all shrubs varying in size from 750mm high to over
1500mm. They all have attractive compact foliage, but are grown mainly
for their beautiful flowers which mostly bloom in summer.
They attract pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.
Binomial name: Hebe speciosa
Classification: Evergreen Shrub.
Mature Plant size: Maximum 1500mm high x 1500mm wide.
Garden bed type: Drip line irrigated.
Recommended soil pH: pH tolerant
Climate: Warm Temperate.
Geography: Southern Hemisphere.
Full sun and semi-shade.
Minimise soil disturbances to maintain a natural soil structure.
Propagating new plants.
They can be propagated from softwood cuttings as soon as the plant starts
to grow vigorously in spring.
I cut off
shoots about 100mm long and strip them of their leaves until there are
only 3 or 4 left at the top of each
plant these cuttings into small pots with good quality organic potting
mix and soak them in a tray containing about10mm of rainwater for about
an hour. I then transfet them and bury the pots 15mm deep in the sand
in my Eco-propagating bed.
Select a spot to plant your new shrub and remove any decaying organic material to the compost heap.
Feed the Soil.
Clear a space for your new hebe bush in September and dispose of any organic waste in the compost.
Apply a 60mm thick top dressing of home made compost and cover with fresh straw mulch.
Leave for 4 weeks to boost worm and microbial activity.
Move some of
the mulch to one side and dig a hole twice as big as the new plant's
root ball. Place the plant in the hole and back fill with soil. Water
it in well with dilute seaweed extract.
Water the plant every few days until it is established, and then allow the drip irrigation to take over.
remain vigorous plants for many years, but when they become too woody
and gaps appear in their canopy, replace them with plants grown from
cuttings. Choose a new location for the replacement to give the
original soil a rest.
Prune them lightly after flowering to promote good structure and to maintain a compact habit.
Spray the foliage with aerated compost tea twice a year in late autumn and late spring.
Organic Pest Control.
applications of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of
plants by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.
They also defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made
compost boosts the community of beneficial
microbes, which defend the plants roots against plant pathogens.