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It’s Summer and the Festive Season is upon us!

The indoor plant business is booming. Suddenly all the decorator magazines are featuring some sort of greenery. I even had to make a macramé hanger for my daughter this year and after re-decorating my lounge caught myself thinking a macramé planter would look good in the lounge room corner. Until now I’ve resisted, but I think the urge is going to win over and the Christmas Holiday break will feature macramé planters. There are a few fool proof plants that will look great in macramé hangers and are easy to grow, even if there is low light in a room. Look out for them at garden centres this month and brighten an otherwise dull corner of a room.

Perfect hanging plants for indoors:

White Butterfly Syngonium– are available in an array of different cultivar colours.  Many of the newer varieties have been selected to be compact and form a tight bunch of foliage. Persevere and they will start trailing. Great for low light and self-watering pots as they tolerate the odd waterlogged period in their life.

Ornamental Grape Ivy Cissus – is an ideal trailing plant/climber for the beginner. It tolerates lower light levels than most and is fast growing. It’s perfect for those house plant parents who need instant results. Dark green foliage and bushy habit ensures it looks good almost anywhere, even a macramé planter.

Devils Ivy Epipremnum – is almost indestructible. Thick stems with brightly variegated foliage make a striking statement in any situation. There are many different cultivars, all hardy. The green and gold variety tend to be most tolerant of low light situations and can be kept in dark corners for weeks at a time. I recommend having 2 plants, one kept in a higher light position and changing them around fortnightly.

Swiss Cheese Monstera – Is a small leaf climbing/trailing variety of this hardy almost impossible to kill plant. The small trailing species is a little more delicate and won’t tolerate waterlogging, where older leaves tend to yellow and drop if over watered or under watered. Keep in a high light situation preferable near a large window or sliding door and liquid fertilise regularly.

Summer Lawns

Lawns have copped a lot of blame in recent years as being water guzzlers. Fortunately this isn’t true, with the drought hardy varieties that are recommended to grow in most parts of Australia; you can have a gorgeous lawn, not be a slave to it at the same time be water wise.

A waterwise lawn doesn’t have to be high maintenance it just needs regular care.
Think of caring for your lawn as part of the healthy exercise regime. I break lawn care into 4 main sections:

  • Soilis the key to establishing a good lawn from the beginning. Good soil equals good lawns. If you don’t have to luxury of starting from the beginning or have inherited a lawn in dire need of love, a top dressing of lawn compost throughout the warm months will improve the water holding capacity of the soil, which in turn saves water. Also try Seasol Liquid Compost, the no dig option to help revitalise soils. It helps to improve the soil structure, increasing microbial and worm activity as well as moisture and nutrient retention.
  • Water –Correct watering is crucial and nobody wants to see water running down the street. A wetting agent is so important and is a good return on investment. Seasol for Lush Green Lawns is the best of both worlds, it not only conditions the soil, it contains essential nutrients and contains a wetting agent. It only takes a few minutes to apply and will ensure water is not wasted. Check the irrigation system at this time of the year to ensure complete coverage of the lawn area. On hot days those areas where the water isn’t quite reaching will brown off almost instantly.
  • FertiliseRegular feeding with a quality lawn food is important. It’s not worth putting on any extra than what’s recommended as it only wastes it and the nutrients leach to our waterways. When it comes to fertilising a little regularly is the best for the lawn. It will also ensure a steady supply of nutrients to the roots so the lawn doesn’t stress.
  • Mowing –The job that is the most rewarding can also cause the most headaches. Ensure blades are sharp regardless of whether you mow with a rotary or cylinder mower. For strong green growth and a healthy lawn remove a third of the green leaf at each mowing.

Living Christmas Trees

Selecting a Christmas tree that keeps returning year after year is one of the joys of Christmas.

There are many different varieties of trees especially grown to use as a living Christmas Tree and a quick trip to the garden centre will reaffirm this. The varieties growing as living trees will tolerate being inside for a few weeks as long as they get enough water. It’s a great idea to start off small and in a few short years the tree is usually too big to bring inside.

  • Before taking inside dunk the whole pot in a solution of Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner (50mL of Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner per 9 litres of water). Remove when the air bubbles stop. Let drain before taking inside. If any of the solution gets on the foliage, remember to wash off with water.  Repot if necessary as often the trees are quite large in a fairly small pot.
  • Living trees will dry out quicker than you realise. Place a deep saucer under the pot to ensure the tree will get enough water over a few days.
  • Always water from the top.
  • The festive season is over take the tree outside and water thoroughly.
  • Keep the tree under a shaded patio through the hot weather.
  • Feed with Seasol and PowerFeed (30mL Seasol and 50mL PowerFeed concentrate per 9 litres of water ) weekly for a few months then top dress with PowerFeed Controlled Release Plant Food All Purpose including Natives.
  • The transition to full sun needs to be done gradually and it may take a couple of months, depending upon where you live.
  • Over the cool months place in a sunny position as this will keep a strong compact shape and the perfect form for next festive season.