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Revisit the benefits of the garden!

If there is ever a positive spin to additional lockdowns across the country due to COVID infections, it is the opportunity to spend more time in the garden. The last 18 months has reinforced the positive benefits we can all gain from tending to plants, regardless of if you own a few indoor plants on a balcony or care for a large garden. It’s time to revisit the benefits of the garden as many plants wake up from winter and enjoy what the pre-spring garden is delivering.

Sunny winter days are beneficial to us and the garden. This is the time to find a warm spot in the sun, soak up some Vitamin D for a few minutes, enjoy the health benefits away from the stresses of life and plan to get stuck into a few ‘pick me up’ projects for spring.

 

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Top tips on recycling in the garden and building a succulent garden August 2021

Recycling

For those of us who have been gardening for a while there is often an eclectic collection of mismatched pots, hanging baskets, cracked birdbaths and saucers stored for a rainy day.

For beginner gardeners hunt down a long-time gardening friend, they will be happy to share. It’s the perfect time to go through the stash and retrieve all the shallow bowls, cracked birdbaths and low pots to use as succulent planters. Even a disused fountain will look stunning when planted with contrasting foliage and form.

When planting your new succulent garden, water your plants in with Seasol GOLD to help reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment.

Images of cactus and succulents growing in pots

Create a cascading succulent feature

  • Most clay or glazed saucers and bowls can be drilled with a masonry drill bit if they are watertight.
  • Purchase a bag of premium potting mix or a specialist cacti or succulent potting mix. Fill the container to 1/3rd with a potting mix/coarse sand mix to help improve drainage and continue filling with potting mix only.
  • Select succulents for varied foliage colour, height, and form.
  • Succulents are the perfect plant to grow by pieces. Swap a few varieties between friends and family to expand the collection.
  • Place ground covering varieties around the edge of the container so they can cascade over the edge.
  • Succulents will successfully grow in any sunny position. Group a few containers together and place at varying heights to create a feature in a dull corner.
  • Fortnightly applications of liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed Indoor and Potted Plants trigger spray will keep plants strong and healthy.
Plants for a blue garden Your garden this month -August 2021

The Blue Garden

Blue is the elusive flower colour that breeders across the world are chasing, in some species it’s a distant dream, in others, nature has delivered. If you are chasing true blues for a garden look no further than some of the native plants that call Australia home. These plants have adapted clever strategies over thousands of years to compete with pollinators and intensifying their standout colour is one of these strategies.

Blue in the garden is calming and one of the colours that suits many garden styles, both in the depths of winter and the hottest of days.

The ultimate blue flower is Lechenaultia biloba, a small shrub that reaches a height of 30cm. With small foliage and slightly brittle stems it is best suited to growing in a medium sized pot in areas with heavy clay soil. At home in sandy soil, this plant will be in full flower for many weeks throughout late winter and spring.

Plants for a blue garden Your garden this month -August 2021

Other blue flowering Australian plants to look for

  • Dampiera diversifolia is a mat forming ground cover, particularly suited to growing is a semi shaded position. Very well behaved only growing to 1m wide.
  • Dampiera linearis or otherwise known as the ‘Common Dampiera’ is a little more erect and slightly spreading with an exceptionally long flowering time from July to December. Perfect for pots or semi shaded positions. Looks great in mixed planters with kangaroo paws, feather flowers and emu bush.
  • Dianella revoluta is commonly referred to as the blue flax lily due to the blue flowers and blue berries that form shortly after flowering. A very hardy plant suited to a wide range of soils and growing conditions.
  • The Bluebell creeper forms blue bell flowers in early summer and is a well-behaved creeper in many areas of Australia. In some it has potential to self-seed, please trim seed pods after flowering to avoid self-seeding in bush areas.

Asparagus

There is one long term crop vegetable crop that is worthy of a position in any garden or large container. Asparagus can tolerate all you can throw at it, surviving in drought conditions and coming back to life when times are good.

Being a long-term crop asparagus will survive in the same area for up to 20 years with limited care. To establish your own asparagus patch, plants can be split from established plants or crowns purchased from your local garden centre through the cooler months.

Asparagus is dormant through winter and is put to bed by trimming all the ferny foliage back to ground level and covering with a thick layer of composting mulch. This will feed the soil as it breaks down and the reward is thick strong spears appearing in spring. About 20 plants are required to produce enough asparagus for a family of 4.

To establish an asparagus patch –

  • Improve soil, remember this is a long-term crop and the better the soil the plants go into at the beginning the better to spears. Apply well-rotted compost or manure or for a no-dig option apply Seasol Liquid Compost to the soil. Mix 30mL per 9 litres of water (standard watering can) or use a hose-on container.
  • Form trenches with a central mound. The top of this mound to be approximately 10cm below the soil level.
  • Place bare rooted crowns on top of the mound and spread roots over each side and back fill trench. The top of the crow will sit about 10cm below the soil level when backfilled.
  • Mulch thickly with a composting mulch.
  • Avoid harvesting spears that develop in the first year and let the ferny foliage develop. This will ensure the crown establishes itself.
  • All spears (new shoots from the ground) are edible, but as the plant establishes over time and the better, they are looked after the thicker the spear.
  • Harvest when spears are approximately 15-20cm long or otherwise they tend to be woody and tough.