The soil is warming, and plants are loving it. Enjoy spring with its blossoms and fresh new leaves, and go out and get your hands dirty. The nursery is now fully stocked with plants for every situation, and as far as months go, they don’t come much more ideal than October for getting into the garden.
Who doesn’t love a tomato? Delicious home grown tomatoes are easy to grow, taste great, and you control what gets sprayed on them, if anything at all. Many different varieties are available including heritage varieties, from which you can collect your own seed to sow next season, and dwarf varieties suitable for growing in pots. Tomatoes are great for kids to grow, as they grow fast and produce lots of delicious fruit, especially cherry tomatoes. So even if you only have a balcony for a garden, you can grow delicious fresh tomatoes. You can raise tomatoes from seed or as seedlings, however to grow from seed you will need to have planted them by mid-September.
Please be aware that we stock tomatoes from late September due to customer demand for them, however late October to early November is the perfect time to plant your tomato seedlings. Tomato seedlings planted before this will need to be protected from cold temperatures and frosts.
September is possibly the most hope filled month for gardeners, and never more needed than in the Year of the Lock-down. Lots of walks and peering over front fences, has led to plenty of inspiration. Gardening is such a fun journey to be on. You can borrow ideas from neighbours, friends pass over cuttings, advice is generously given. Spring is the turning point for planting options….so many new plants become available over the next three months, it is paradise for gardeners! Winter is behind us, and the sun is on our face.
Well, the last weeks of winter are finally here, with the scent of Wattle signalling the promise of spring just around the corner. The first Magnolias are in flower and the gold and purple of Acacias and Hardenbergias create a dramatic floral display. The cold, frosty mornings are a prelude to the burst of new growth that heralds the coming new season of life. We have already had our fair share of frosty mornings and more are likely, so continue on with those frost damage prevention measures for a few more weeks yet. Read more
Finally we have a new preventative for the infuriating gall wasp that has been decimating our citrus, lemon trees in particular, across Victoria.
‘Overhaul’ is an organically* rated kaolin clay (used in papermaking and ceramics) and has been used in broad-acre agriculture to reduce heat stress and sunburn in tree and horticultural crops (e.g. tomatoes) for 18 years; in that time an unexpected secondary benefit has become apparent: the fine coating of clay resulted in less insect damage to crops. It is hypothesised that the clay works in a variety of way depending on the insect: repelling, reducing egg laying, impeding grasping, restricting movement, altering behaviour, inducing paralysis and mortality, and camouflaging the plant. Whichever way it works, trials by the NSW Dept. of Agriculture in the Riverland and Sunraysia have found it significantly reduces the incidence of galls (from Citrus Gall Wasp) in their citrus trees. Both number and size of galls are reduced (70-90%).
Citrus gall wasps (Bruchophagus fellis) are small (3mm) shiny black wasps native to northern Australia. There they have natural predators (two parasites) which keep the number of gall wasps under control. As the wasps have gradually moved south (thought to be via the movement of infected citrus trees), they have appeared in many areas without their natural predators, and consequently have exploded in numbers and caused considerable damage. Read more
The chemicals commonly used to control codling moth also kill beneficial insect species, which contribute to biological control of other pests. Consequently increased chemical sprays are required for control of other pests. The most successful way to avoid this problem is to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using a combination of pheromones and sticky traps, good orchard hygiene and traps will help you avoid the revolting coddling moth.
Winter can be a challenge, but it sure puts a rosy hue in your cheeks when you rug up, brave the elements and go about doing some of those winter gardening tasks which have been beckoning from outside. Enjoy a warm drink – and the satisfaction of a job well done – when you come inside.
Bare rooted plants are field grown plants which have been dug up from the soil in their dormant state, no soil remains attached to the remaining root mass, hence the term ‘bare rooted’. Read on if you’d like a head start on all things bare rooted. Read more
We have been run off our feet in the nursery with the Covid 19 garden rush. However, I finally got time to fertilise, and plant some more spring bulbs. Nearly all the leaves are raked up, so now there is just the fun of a nice cut back and shaping prune left to do. I just love this time of year: the satisfaction of a major clean and tidy up in the garden, planting for spring with all the hopes and promise ahead, the camellias in bloom and debating squeezing in just one more gorgeous tree only available in the bare root season. Read on!
Autumn foliage at its most stunning. The cold days and nights bring out the deep reds, translucent oranges and butter yellows in our wonderful deciduous trees. Take the time to enjoy autumn’s late flowering salvias, wonderful quince fruit (with their heady scent) and savour the late season apples. Normally I would recommend driving to the Dandenongs to enjoy the autumn colours and the flowering camellias – but these days it will have to be a remote visit. I just love this last hurrah before winter. So rug up and enjoy May in your garden!
Our customer base is a pretty savvy and well informed one, and this is always reinforced in autumn as sales of native plants soar. Good gardeners are well aware that this is the ideal time to plant natives, and suddenly Claire is doubling orders for natives as they walk off the bench. The weather can still provide us with warm days in April, but without the hot sun and with rain happening or imminent it’s an ideal time for gardening and planting. Now is also the perfect time to start preparing your winter vegie patch. There’s plenty to do in the garden in April, so put summer behind you and get cracking!
The glory of autumn foliage from the hundreds of tree varieties introduced to Australia is only one good reason to grow deciduous trees. The bare trees of winter, stark but beautiful, are also valued for their ability to provide change to the scenery. They let through the much needed winter sunlight to benefit lawns, garden beds and outdoor living spaces; and in summer they give shade to these areas. Read more
If you have sandy soil, you will be well aware of their difficulties in holding both water and nutrition. Gardeners who live in Perth are used to dealing with this issue, and every garden centre, soil and landscaping yard there will have bags and buckets of bentonite, as well as compost, manures, zeolite and other soil additives to help build a better soil. Read more
With the changes in climate leading to hotter summers here in Melbourne, it is increasingly tempting to plant in autumn, and allow plants a longer time to establish before the onslaught of summer heat. The combination of warm soil, expected rainfall and lowering seasonal temperatures allows for good root development. This increases the time the plants have to establish before the dry summer heat hits. Read more