As we head into the colder months, it can feel like things might be winding down in the garden. However, there are plenty of beautiful cool climate plants available to liven up a dormant landscape. Autumn is also the best time to lay the foundations for Spring success by fertilising and planting.
Check out Tony’s Tips below to find out exactly what you can be doing in the garden right now.
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After an unseasonably warm start to Autumn, we are finally getting cooler temperatures, although the soil will still retain a reasonable amount of warmth until mid to late June. This means that right now is the ideal time to plant vegetables and flowers for Winter and Spring. May is also a great time to plant more substantial trees and shrubs to get the roots established while minimising shock.
More cool climate plants are becoming available, including Japonica Camellias, flowering natives, Proteas and Leucadendrons, plus more Helleborus and Winter flowering Perennials like Wallflowers, Candytuft and Winter flowering Lavenders and Salvias. Now is the time to get them in the ground.
- Plant foxglove seedlings now for beautiful Spring colour and drama.
- If you notice distorted new growth on Citrus trees, it could be Citrus Leaf Minor. Treat it by spraying the affected area with Pest Oil.
- Heading into Winter, this is probably the last chance to fertilise lawns, Citrus, Gardenias, Camellias and other plants to fatten them up for the colder months.
- In the vegetable garden, plant Winter vegetables such as kale, cabbage and broccoli as well as shorter-term crops such as lettuce, spinach and beetroot. It’s also the perfect time to plant Spring vegetables like broad beans and onions.
- Give Pansies, Violas and Poppies a dose of liquid fertiliser to promote more flowers over Winter.
- After an extended dry period, lots of soils have become hydrophobic (water repellent). Counteract this with SaturAid to enable deep penetration of water and fertiliser.
Plant of the Month
Camellia With Love
Camellias come into their own in the cooler months, flowering their heads off and looking great when almost everything else can be a bit drab.
Always plant Camellias up on a mound of organically improved soil to facilitate good root growth and drainage. Once established, the good varieties are generally quite hardy.
Camellia Sasanquas prefer more sun and flower from Autumn into Winter. On the other hand, Camellia Japonicas suit a shady spot and will flower from Winter into Spring. My favourites are the Camellia Blush, which is a great hedging or screening Sasanqua, and Brushfields Yellow, which is actually white and one of the best Winter Camellias.
The standout this month is Camellia With Love – an upright sun tolerant variety with masses of bright double pink flowers from Autumn into Winter. It’s lovely!