When the first lockdown started all the way back in March, we were a little surprised by the huge rush of people wanting to buy vegetable seeds and seedlings. It seemed that everyone from complete novices to experienced gardeners wanted to start, revitalise, or expand their veggie patch!
When you think about it, a vegetable garden is the perfect project for our current situation. Growing veggies teaches you patience and a sense of humour about things that are completely out of your control, such as the weather. Plus there is nothing more satisfying than walking out to the garden, picking something you’ve grown yourself, then cooking it up for dinner.
Ornamental gardens are also great for improving physical and mental health. Tending to plants or just being outside in the garden takes people’s minds off other worries, for a lot of people gardening is almost like meditation.
Stay safe and happy gardening!
We are still in the last month of winter but spring is creeping in early for some plants. Our roses are shooting away nicely, the blossom season has started and later this month we will have the first of our new season petunia and tomato seedlings.
Although the lockdown has been very limiting, gardening is one activity that you can do safely. As we are all spending more time at home, making our surroundings more attractive and productive can be very rewarding. This is also a great time to do major planting of trees and shrubs so that they settle into their new homes and have their spring flush of growth at your place, rather than the nursery.
This is the time to plant and enjoy Daphne and Brown Boronia. They both love good drainage so plant them either up on a mound of improved soil or in a pot of good potting mix.
- If you haven't already, feed your roses with a high potassium organic-based fertiliser.
- Once flowering has finished, feed winter flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips to fatten them up and ensure strong flowering next year.
- Prevent leaf curl on peaches and nectarines with either Kocide or Liquid Copper at the first sign of bud swell and repeat a week later. I also use a copper spray regularly in spring to prevent disease in roses and tomatoes.
- August is the month to start pruning all soft perennials and cold-sensitive shrubs. This includes salvias, heliotrope, fuchsias, plectranthus, and plumbago. Prune geraniums and hibiscus late this month or in early September.
- Treat your lawn with a suitable broadleaf selective weedicide to control bindi-eye. The same treatment will control clover and creeping oxalis in lawns.
- Start feeding your gardenias with Harry's Gardenia Food in the second half of August and repeat every 4-6 weeks throughout spring.
- Be on the lookout for citrus gall wasp. August is the time to cut out all the galls on your citrus trees before the wasps emerge and start laying eggs. Spray new growth with Pest Oil and hang wasp traps to protect against infestation from neighbouring populations. Follow up with a high potassium or organic nitrogen fertiliser to increase natural immunity.
Lavender Purple Reign
Winter and spring-flowering Lavenders are great for colour at this time of the year with masses of colourful mauve, violet and pink 'winged' flowers on display. The Princess is a proven award-winning plant with pink flowers and the Queen is a great recent release with gorgeous mauve colouring.
This year's new release is Lavender Purple Reign, a compact bush with masses of deep purple flowers that cover the whole plant from winter through spring. It is Australian bred and ideal for pots or sunny well-drained spots in the garden.