in the garden
I LIKE GARDENING IT’S A PLACE WHERE I FIND MYSELF WHEN I NEED TO LOSE MYSELF ALICE SEBOLD
Bring out your garden’s spring glory with an all-over dose of fertiliser. Liquid fertilise vegie beds for quick results, treat natives to blood and bone, and use specific fertilisers for roses, camellias, azaleas and orchids. Most other plants will appreciate a general complete fertiliser. For an early burst of colour, plant up containers with already flowering potted colour, like polyanthus and cineraria. Water regularly and liquid-fertilise every two or three weeks. Treat lemon trees to a spring pick-me-up with a dose of citrus fertiliser.
Prime hedges for fresh spring growth with a shaping trim. It’s also a good time to plant a new hedge. For tough conditions, a good
hedging plant is the Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis sp.) that resists both salt-laden winds and extremes of temperature.
Brighten up a deck or front entrance with a fabulously tropical-look mandevilla in a large pot. They like sun but need protection from drying winds and frosts. Plant a few drifts of flowering plants through vegie beds to encourage pollinating insects. Good contenders include blueflowering borage, lavender, nasturtium and catmint. Regularly check roses for signs of black spot and spray with rose fungicide fortnightly if present. Black spot presents as ugly black (and sometimes yellow) splotches on leaves and gradually weakens a plant. Load up on garden inspiration by visiting a few of the many spring festivals happening around the country. Among the biggest and best are Canberra’s Floriade, 15 September to 14 October (floriadeaustralia.com) and Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers, 21-30 September (tcof.com.au). Prune back passionfruit by about a third to encourage new growth and fruiting.
Feed spring-flowering bulbs that have already bloomed with a complete fertiliser, so they can build up nutrient reserves for an equally stunning display next spring.