Spring is around the corner!
Spring has already sprung in the northern parts of the country, warm days has ensured plants are already bursting to life with new growth. For those of us in the south the chilly weather certainly slows down plant growth and soggy soil makes it hard to dig. With only 4 weeks before the beginning of spring there are many things that can be done now so your garden is ready for those glorious clear days.
For those who are preparing for a spring garden event to be held in their own garden, follow these simple steps to remove the stress of getting the garden perfect for the special day.
- Be realistic with what you hope to achieve. Many changes can be completed with a minimal budget; all they need is a little extra time.
- If all your garden requires is extra colour to add the finishing touches, head down to your local garden centre and find out what is available for planting so it looks fabulous at the time of the event. Seedlings should be planted between 3 and 4 months before the event, depending upon the time of the year. This gives them time to mature enough and develop strong sturdy root system before the flowers appear. Garden owners sometimes find this difficult as seedling planting is very seasonal and often the varieties on the shelf at the time of the visit are not the varieties that will be available at the time of planting.
- If planning to plant advanced pots, (referred to as a ‘potted colour’) you have some time up your sleeve. These instant flowering plants can go in the ground up to a day before the event, but it’s better to let them settle in for about 3 weeks before the onslaught of visitors.
- Pre-order ‘potted colour’ about 4-6 weeks before planting, as this will give their suppliers enough time to put your order aside and select the best quality plants for you.
- Mass plant areas, by jamming the plants in close together. This will create an overall effect and an illusion of plants in full flower. This way, it’s not so critical if individual plants are on the small side. Remember to water in with Seasol (30mL per 9 litres of water – standard watering can) as this will kick start your plants.
- Timing existing plants in the garden to flower brilliantly on the exact day is a little tricky and everyone who is having a garden event wants their roses to be perfect on the day. While we can’t predict weather, pruning at a different time can change main flowering time by a couple of weeks either side of the main flowering flush. For roses to flower exactly on a special day is very much weather related so the trick is to have many repeat flowering varieties to give an overall illusion of abundant colour.
- A week before the event fill every container, pot or basket with plants in flower or varieties that have stunning foliage colour. These can be used as backups or move around to fill any bare spots as needed.
- Apply an organic based fertiliser, such as PowerFeed over the complete garden in the lead up to the event for 3 or 4 months. Put a sprayer aside for fertiliser only and apply over the foliage every fortnight. Foliar fertilisers are absorbed very readily and there is no wastage, leaching or runoff.
Before you know it the whole garden will be looking fabulous in no time and remember a garden full of healthy plants is a joy to be in.
5 Seedlings for Spring Colour
If you are yearning for some instant colour to brighten up a dull corner, look to your local Garden Centre because they are jam packed with enticing plants over the next few weeks. Plant with premium potting mix and liquid fertilise fortnightly with PowerFeed (50mL per 9 litres water – standard watering can) to ensure a long flowering season.
Pansy – select hybrid varieties as they produce large strong flowers that are resistant to rain damage.
Viola – produce masses of small flowers and are ideal for large pots and containers.
Primula – are perfect for borders and background filling of garden beds.
Pink and white everlastings – are an easy way to add colour to a road verge or bush garden setting. If left to compost down in the garden bed these plants will self-seed easily next year, resulting in an even bigger colour splash next year.
Fantastic fruiting trees for small areas
When looking for a tree to create shade in a backyard, look no further than a fruiting tree. That way you get the best of both worlds delicious tasty fruit and a cool spot to sit in summer.
Top 10 fruiting small trees for urban backyards
- Quince – Historically, this small tree was highly valued by the Ancient Civilisations as a symbol of love and fertility. It has been grown for its fruits and flowers for thousands of year and deserves a position in any garden. It loves full hot sun, looks amazing when planted on a border or to create a terrace along a fence and is one of the hardiest small fruiting trees available. It has a semi branching habit, soft pink flowers and slightly furry foliage. (Deciduous)
- Strawberry Guava – Is an evergreen small tree that will tolerate salt laden winds. Its hard leathery foliage ensures it’s not susceptible to burning and can be planted in exposed positions. Being more cold hardy than its tropical cousins it will thrive just as well in the cooler areas of the state. Small red fruit are sweet, with a tangy aftertaste and will fruit prolifically once the tree is mature. The Strawberry Guava is slow growing and will grow in a large pot if needed for many years. (Evergreen)
- Pomegranate – This small tree has been cultivated for thousands of years and has been associated with many different religions and cultures. Few trees are as well known as the Pomegranate. What many don’t know about this tree is just how easy it is to grow. This tree requires hot summers to produce an abundance of fruit. (Deciduous)
- Shatoot Mulberry – The King Mulberry or ‘Shatoot Mulberry’ is a well behaved small tree with the most incredible sweet fruit. Many of the other Mulberry cultivars are larger growing, but the Shatoot is ideally suited to a smaller backyard. The fruit does not stain as it is light green in colour and the longer it’s left on the tree the sweeter it becomes. A great super healthy snack for children that will sure to become a firm favourite amongst the family. (Deciduous)
- Pistachio – Is not widely planted in residential gardens, even though it’s slow growing and will fruit regularly for many years. This tree is incredibly drought hardy and will tolerate 40 degrees plus temperatures. Two trees are needed, a male and a female to ensure crop set, it responds to pruning and will start fruiting when it’s about 8 years old. (Deciduous)
- Citrus – Most of Western Australia’s climate is ideally suited to citrus trees. They produce highly perfumed blossom, have dark glossy green foliage and the added bonus of fruit. These small trees are suited to small backyards, hot positions and will grow very successfully in large pots. Citrus, once established are very drought tolerant, surviving on minimal water and fruiting at the same time. Apply controlled release fertiliser at the beginning of every season around the tree and mulch thickly for the best fruit. (Evergreen)
- Jujube – The Chinese Red Date is growing in popularity as more gardeners discover just how versatile these trees are. Not suited to the smallest backyard as it often reaches heights over 6m, but can be pruned easily. Jujubes are drought tolerant, but will require a small amount of water when in full fruit production. (Deciduous)
- Mango – This tropical tree has overtaken the Lemon tree as the fruiting tree of choice for urban backyards. Mangos are evergreen, attractive and easy to look after even when they are not fruiting. Keep in a warm position and protect from frosts when young. These trees create a lovely shady tropical microclimate under the leaf canopy which can be planted with tropical foliage plants. (Evergreen)
- Finger Limes – the most well known of all the Australian native citrus, the finger lime flavour is superb. It’s worth growing this tree, just to experience the fresh flavour that it has to offer. Fingers limes are incredibly slow growing and will adapt to even the smallest garden. (Evergreen)
- Dwarf Stonefruit Varieties – There are many apricots, plums, nectarines and peaches that will grow in small backyards. Fruiting trees are vigorous and will tolerate a hard summer prune after the last of the fruit has been harvested. Plant into well improved soil, feed regularly and apply a thick layer of organic mulch at the beginning of spring. Many of the fruiting varieties are ornamental as well and look gorgeous when in full flower. Plant in parts of the garden where they can be enjoyed. (Deciduous)