April has perfect weather for gardening – great for planting and feeding. There is still enough warmth in the soil to get some roots established and get some food into your plants before they slow down for Winter. A good feed is important to stimulate the gardens and lawns into a flush of growth before Winter. Melbourne has lovely warm days and cool nights in April so it’s the ideal time to be making the most of your garden!
This month we’re all about the transition from Summer to Autumn. Cooler mornings and evenings give way to gorgeous sunny days and we’re loving the final flush of Summer fruit, veggies and flowers. This might just be the best time of year to enjoy your coffee on the Oaks Cafe deck!
Be sure to check out Tony’s Tips below for everything your garden needs this month.
The weather is set to turn icy this weekend and we think we have just the thing to combat it while staying chic. Our snuggly yet stylish range of possum merino knitwear is back in the show with a range of new season colours plus the classic favourites.
The poncho is particularly good for the fickle Melbourne weather. It is very warm but still lightweight and small enough to throw in your bag for a cool evening out. It’s particularly handy as a travel accessory. You’ll want one in every colour!
Cool season plants are coming into stock this month, with Helleborus coming out of their Summer dormancy, Cyclamen loving the cooler weather, Pansies and Violas looking lovely and flowering Natives coming into their own. Camellias are either flowering well or are about to.
This is a great time to do any major planting, especially hedging or screening plants. One of our most spectacular options is the amazing Sasanqua Camellias in various colours and sizes. Evergreen Magnolias are also an attractive solution thanks to their deep green foliage and fragrant flowers. Varieties such as Port Wine, White Caviar, Little Gem and Teddy Bear Magnolias make great hedges and suit a range of different environs. For difficult spots, the Portuguese Laurels are a very hardy, very reliable evergreen screen. If you’re after a quick result, the fastest growing hedge is Pittosporum Silver Sheen, closely followed by our favourite Lilly Pilly Backyard Bliss.
All hedges are an intensive planting and should be planted into soil organically improved with a product such as Zoogro, Enriched Planting Mix or Organic Pelletised Fertiliser for success. As most root growth is lateral, dig a hole that is wider rather than deeper, and mix the soil improver into the soil around the plant root ball to tempt out the new roots. This little bit of extra care will make the transition from our place to yours as seamless and happy as possible.
- April is the prime month to plant Primulas and Foxgloves. I think Primulas are the best Winter colour bar none and Foxgloves are gorgeous in mid to late Spring. Plant them now for best results along with Pansies, Poppies, Lobelia, Allysum and Primroses.
- Feed Gardenias with Harry’s Gardenia Food now to fatten them up for Winter. This feed will sustain them through to Spring.
- Prepare Citrus trees for Winter now by feeding them and spraying new foliage with Pest Oil or Eco Oil to control Citrus Leaf Miner, which causes distorted new growth.
- Feed Buffalo, Kikuyu, Fescue and Couch lawns now, again fattening them up for the coming Winter.
- Feed Camellias, Azaleas, and Daphne now with a suitable acidic fertiliser to encourage better Winter flowering.
- Watch out for Azalea Lace Bug on Azaleas, Rhododendrons and evergreen Viburnums as the long, hot dry spell has stressed some plants out and made them susceptible to pests. It looks like lots of silver-grey spots, which gives the foliage a silvery patina.
- Dose your garden and pots with a wetting agent! A lot of garden problems are due to hydrophobic (water repellant) soils. A soil that doesn’t accept water is a dead soil. In the longer term, good compost, manure and mulches are natural wetting agents and will improve your humus level and maximise your natural rainfall, irrigation and fertilising.
- Gather Autumn leaves in a compost bin or just a pile, add a little organic nitrogen (Blood and Bone is the best) and let nature turn it into compost. Aerate it occasionally with a fork to allow oxygen to stimulate the aerobic bacteria, which help to break everything down faster. Dry leaves such as Pin Oak and Plane tree leaves are harder to break down and need more blood and bone to balance their overtly Carboniferous makeup.
Plant of the Month
Helleborus Double White
Hellebores are available in such a huge range of colours and varieties, it can be hard to pick just one to feature. We will have around 12 varieties arriving in the nursery in the second week of April and we can’t wait to share them with you! They are ideal for the Melbourne climate as they go dormant over the warmer months but put on quite a show over Winter. Helleborus Double White is a classic and one of our most popular varieties. It makes quite an impact in the garden!