In the gar­den with Linda Ross

Monthly Chronicle - - Outdoor Lifestyle -

Late sum­mer gar­dens are ready for change – it’s time to start think­ing about the au­tumn plant­ing sea­son to come. No time to let things go – pre­pare, plan, trim, tidy and, most im­por­tantly, wa­ter.

THIS FE­BRU­ARY IT’S TIME TO… Ad­mire

Shasta daisies are drought-hardy and tough, and look gor­geous pok­ing through a picket fence with hy­drangeas. Pick­ing for posies will guar­an­tee more flow­ers.

Cape ch­est­nut ( Calo­den­drum capense) is a stun­ning flow­er­ing tree from South Africa with pink, or­chid­like, scented flow­ers. Buy a grafted tree to guar­an­tee good colour and ear­lier flow­er­ing.

Prune, trim and take cut­tings

Trim aga­pan­thus seed heads and fin­ished laven­der flow­ers.

Daisies, fuch­sia and gera­ni­ums should be trimmed as they be­come woody. New growth means more flow­ers. Make ex­tra plants with the prun­ings. Trim and shape Chi­nese star jas­mine. Last chance to prune roses for a good au­tumn flush. Con­tinue feed­ing ev­ery six weeks with a spe­cialised rose fer­tiliser. Deep wa­ter with added sea­weed for ex­tra strength.

It’s time to take cut­tings of fuch­sia, camel­lia, gar­de­nia and aza­lea. On any shrub with stems chang­ing from green to brown, take short 10cm cut­tings in the early morn­ing. Strip lower leaves, dip in hor­mone gel and plant. Keep shaded un­til es­tab­lished.

Think spring – or­der bulbs now for plant­ing in au­tumn!

Or­der spring-flow­er­ing bulbs for plant­ing from April. Try Dutch iris, babi­ana and ixia for best re­sults, though it’s hard to re­sist the wow fac­tor of one­hit won­der tulips.

Get your tick­ets for the Col­lec­tors’ Plant Fair, April 7 & 8 and buy di­rect from the grow­ers. Tick­ets at www. col­lec­tor­s­plant­fair.com.au/tick­ets/

Watch out

Un­sightly pim­ples on lil­lyp­illy leaves are caused by sap-suck­ing psyl­lids. Con­trol with Eco Oil or by sprin­kling a gran­u­lar in­sec­ti­cide, such as Bug Killa, around roots.

Feed

Hibis­cus, pas­sion­fruit and rhubarb will re­spond to a mix of cow ma­nure, blood and bone and potash.

Feed ap­ples, pears and stone fruit with blood and bone and cow ma­nure spread out to the drip line of the trees.

Wa­ter

Wa­ter trees and shrubs at the drip line not at the trunk: it is the feeder roots around the drip line that take up wa­ter and nu­tri­ents.

Wa­ter mango and av­o­cado trees while the fruit is ripen­ing.

Early morn­ing wa­ter­ing is best for plants - and brings sweet re­lief for the wa­terer too.

Tidy

Tidy hy­drangea heads as they fin­ish or al­low them to age into pink and ma­genta tones through au­tumn.

Re­move clumps of pas­palum, sum­mer grass, dan­de­lion and this­tle be­fore they throw seed. Re­move just be­low ground level with a sharp knife or dan­de­lion knife.

Make the most of your sum­mer pro­duce

Pre­serve chilli and tomato har­vests by mak­ing chilli jams and rel­ishes. Cu­cum­bers can eas­ily be pick­led and stored through the year too. There are hun­dreds of recipes for the lost art of pre­serve- mak­ing and pick­ling on­line.

Cape Ch­est­nut, Calo­den­drum capense

Time to or­der bulbs to plant in April for spring flow­er­ing like this at Flo­ri­ade, Can­berra

Early morn­ing wa­ter­ing is best for plants

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