Welcome to Summer and Enjoy the Festive Season!
We all feel like December disappears in a blink. Sneaking time for the garden seems like a luxury, but for many can be the place of relaxation and enjoyment amongst the hustle of the festive season. Enjoy the solace of a garden at this time of the year, maybe park yourself under a shady tree or deck and watch the world go by with an icy cold drink?
A perfect project for the summer garden is the installation of garden lights. Technology has come a long way in the last 5 years and the quality of 12-volt garden lights that you can install yourself rivals a professionally installed system.
There are a few tips to getting outdoor lighting right:
- Think about the function of the lights to be installed. Are they directional lighting, e.g. for pathways or will they be used to create ambiance in the garden?
- Consider lighting features in the garden with up-lights. Highlighting features such as tree trunks, interesting foliage or the structural form of plants will add an extra dimension to the night garden.
- LED lights are bright, so don’t install them so the light shines directly into guest’s eyes to blind them. Up high and casting light over an area is preferred.
- LED lights are now available in different colours and in many combinations. Ask yourself, will the use of colour add an extra feature to the garden?
- Are there any hazards, e.g. uneven ground or steps that should be lit at night?
- Consider the size of the outdoor area to be lit and install the number of lights to create the mood you are seeking.
- Don’t skimp on maintenance, a properly maintained system will last for many years.
The areas of the country that have been affected by fire in the last 2 months are unprecedented. It affects all Australians as many of us live with the threat of fire in our local area. In some cases where the house has been saved, it’s the gardens that have suffered damage.
It’s not until a catastrophe such as a fire that we realise how many memories are tied up in the garden. A favourite tree, a Christmas gift, a cutting from Mums garden – the memories keep coming. As gardeners, our thoughts are with those who are coming to terms with the loss of their garden.
It is surprising what will survive a fire event, it depends on the temperature of the fire and the speed it has gone through as to what damage is done. New shoots will appear very quickly on those plants that are able to regenerate.
Tips to garden recovery from a fire:
- In a very hot fire, the soil is almost sterilised from the extreme heat. The soil will also be very dry. The addition of a wetting agent is crucial to get moisture back in the soil and ensure it stays in the soil. Seasol super soil wetter will get water to soak into the soil and add much-needed soil conditioning properties.
- Once a plant starts to shoot, trim off the burnt remaining sticks and branches.
- Assess plants sometimes the damage is too far gone and even though plants try to recover, it may not be best in the long term.
- Potted plants will require repotting and depending upon the variety will either recover or need to be replaced.
In the coming months, it’s a good time to assess the design of the garden and implement changes that would benefit plants or buildings in the case of another fire event. Large areas of gravel between beds, groundcovers with high moisture content such as pigface and low flammable plants are all strategies that may minimise damage.
Plants are one of the best value gifts, they’re environmentally friendly, recyclable, living, sustainable, made in Australia and long-lasting.
At this time of the year, there are many plants grown specially to tempt gift-givers. These are perfect even for non-gardeners.
Top 10 Best Living Gifts:
- Poinsettias – are in full flower at this time of the year. Will keep their colour form many months and will grow successfully in a pot on a balcony for years.
- Hydrangeas – are big and showy and in full flower. Although they require more water than other plants, they are a crowd favorite and will flower throughout summer and beyond.
- African Violets – the perfect plant for well-lit desktops or windowsills. African violets don’t want for much and will keep living for years.
- Cactus – there are many different varieties being grown now and the cool on-trend gift for this season. Slow growing they will not require repotting for a very long time.
- Roses – everybody loves a gorgeous rose plant. There are many different varieties suited to pots or garden beds.
- Succulents – are available in many wide and varied foliage forms. Most are slow-growing, and all don’t require lots of water. Perfect for the person who forgets to water their potted plants
- Herbs – not all herbs are delicate. Many varieties will grow in the full hot sun. Look out for rosemary, sage or thyme. These are the hardiest of all.
- Kangaroo Paws – are an Australian favourite and will grow in pots or garden beds. They flower for months and a favourite of birds.
- Gardenia – flowers through summer with the most delightful perfumed flowers. Grow in large pots or inground.
- Citrus trees – for the gardener friend, you can’t go past a citrus tree. Perhaps a lime or lemon tree? They produce plentiful fruit and grow easily.
Living Xmas Trees
Buying a potted tree suitable for a Xmas tree makes sense. The plant can be enjoyed all year round, as a patio or potted plant for 11 months of the year and decorated for the other.
To keep a Living Xmas tree looking gorgeous:
Don’t allow to dry out when inside. Place a large saucer underneath. The plant won’t waterlog in the short time its inside.
When it’s time as a Xmas tree has finished, acclimatise it gradually to full sun again. Keep in shade for a few weeks and wait until a cool change before placing in full sun.
Spray on snow will cause the foliage to die back.
TIP: When you give a living gift include a bottle of Seasol and PowerFeed with it. This will help keep the plant healthy and flowering through summwer