April – the real start of Autumn!
I always feel like April is the real start to autumn. Cooler mornings (unusually cold in some areas) and calm days renew our interest in the garden. Many people come out of hibernation when the weather cools down and the garden springs to life as the days shorten. Open gardens abound and there is inspiration everywhere we look. I get so excited when I see beautiful new growth on the roses and citrus, even with no rain. The addition of granular PowerFeed with Troforte Flowers, Fruit & Citrus at this time of the year will help them to produce the most flavoursome fruit and perfect flowers over the next 8 weeks.
Even the hardiest indoor varieties will need a little care this month. Just as the weather cools down take the indoor plants outside and hose off the dust that has settled on the leaves over the last few months. Repot those plants that have put on incredible new growth over summer months and trim or stake as needed. Remove any old yellow leaves and wipe foliage with a soft rag and white oil mix. White oil will not only make the leaves shiny, it will clean up any insects that may have been hiding amongst the foliage over the last few months.
It’s a great idea to have double the amount of indoor plants as needed (a great excuse to visit the garden centre again). This way plants can be regularly swapped to an outside position such as a shade house or verandah to ensure they get adequate light and water for maximum growth.
Try PowerFeed Pots & Planters over autumn. It is our new quick and easy answer to feeding your indoor plants. It comes in a 750mL spray pack. Simply spraying it onto the soil around the plant every 2 to 4 weeks.
Foliage for a vase
There are many common garden plants that are ideal to use as ‘greenery’ or ‘fillers’ for cut flowers. Having flowers available to cut all year round takes a little planning, however having ‘greenery’ or ‘fillers’ to use in vases takes no planning at all after the initial planting.
Incorporate these plants into the garden landscape and not only will they look good in the garden they will be a useful resource for indoor floral displays.
- Olive foliage will last for weeks in a vase and is very fast growing. These hardy trees will grow almost anywhere and respond to pruning.
- Pittosporums vary in their growth habit, foliage form and size, but have one thing in common. They will all hold their colour when picked for fillers in a vase.
- Magnolia grandiflora forms are ideal as their dark green strong foliage holds for weeks. Even after the flowers have finished they can be reused with the next bunch of flowers.
- Scented Geraniums are the perfect fillers for a mixed bunch of cottage flowers. The subtle scent adds an extra dimension to vase displays and is so easy to grow in the garden. Choose from lemon, rose, peppermint or chocolate scented foliage.
- Artemisia genus is wide and varied, with many foliage forms available to grow in gardens. This herbaceous shrub hedges well and responds to regular pruning, making them suitable for cutting. The grey and grey green foliage looks stunning in a mixed vase.
If you only have 5 minutes in an autumn garden
If you find yourself time poor this month, there are a few quick five minutes tasks that can be easily completed and reward you with benefits in the coming months.
Prune Kangaroo Paws back to ground level after their main summer flowering and feed with PowerFeed Controlled Release Plant Food All Purpose including Natives. Their new growth will soon appear.
Stake and support Chrysanthemums if they are becoming top heavy. These hardy perennials add colour to the garden and are so easy to grow. Disbud or remove multiple buds will result in larger flowers.
Liquid fertilise Kaffir lime trees with PowerFeed PRO SERIES Flowers, Fruit & Citrus to encourage soft new growth throughout this month. These soft leaves are perfect to use plucked fresh and have the most flavour.
Cover the quince tree to protect the fruit from bird damage. Quinces are an adaptable and drought hardy tree that is ornamental at the same time. With a semi weeping habit it can be used to cast light shade on delicate plants beneath.
Enjoy the heavenly scent of the Moonflower throughout the autumn nights. This fast growing creeper is perfect for screening off an ugly wall or fence. In the cooler areas of the state it is affected by cold temperatures and can successfully be grown as an annual climber. Remember if you are planting one in your garden, apply Seasol (30 mL concentrate per 9 litres of water) every week for the first 4 weeks to give the plant a great kick-start to life.
Looking for edible plants with a difference?
There are many varieties suited to growing in a large pot and can be grown in even the smallest spaces, given they receive at least 6 hours of sun per day.
Lemon Myrtle is one of our Aussie treasures. Leaves are perfect for flavouring rice, cakes and flans. These intensely perfumed and flavoured leaves have been used in the culinary and cosmetic industry for many years. This tree is slow growing in most areas of Australia and makes an excellent pot specimen. Harvest fresh new leaves when needed and trim lightly in early spring to keep bushy.
Strawberry Guavas are an ideal large shrub for background planting with the added bonus of producing delicious fruit from summer to autumn, depending upon the variety. Plant in a sunny position with a thick layer of organic mulch as the root system is shallow. The soft red fruit sweet fruit is delicious on a cheese platter or served with natural yoghurt drizzled with honey.
Chinese Date or Jujube will survive even the harshest treatment. These small trees are tolerant of drought, extreme heat and slightly saline water. When established, the tree produces many small sweet fruit similar to an apple or pear in flavour, rather than a date. They will dry on the tree and develop intense flavour, if the birds can be kept away. The root stock is prone to suckering in times of stress and because of this, it’s recommended in small gardens to grow in a large pot.
Caper Bush is the perfect edible plant for its looks as well as its flavourful flower buds. They are tolerant of heat, not fussy and will turn up their toes if they receive too much water. Perfect small perennial for sunny positions, their grey green leaf will add a colour contrast to many gardens.