Enjoy spring time in the garden, it’s revitalising.
It’s traditionally a time to sneak a peek over the garden fence and see what is trending in the gardening world. Even though many of us must settle with what is happening in our own green space or neighbourhood this month there still so much to learn.
Take a moment notice the dappled shade cast from new growth on an ornamental tree or the splash of colour created by annual plantings and remember regardless of how much space you have available there is always room for one extra plant or pot. Creating a layered garden is tried and tested way of adding interest to a small garden. Mentally divide the vertical space into sections; low, mid, and high. When selecting features or plants for the outdoor space be conscious to put equal thought into all sections and the advice this month is to focus on the low and high sections. As gardeners these areas tend to be the least thought about because what we see at eye level (mid-section) tends to get the attention. Look for canopy plants to create a sense of safety or small, delicate ground covers to add interest to the low section.
Gerberas with their bright, pure colours can be guaranteed to add colour to an outdoor area. Commonly grown as a potted bunch of flowers, they are equally at home in a retro 70’s styled garden or a minimalist courtyard and can withstand a sunny position and warm weather.
Purchase when in flower, that way you can get the perfect colour match. For a retro look place, orange, hot pink and yellow together in a bowl or pot. Use Seasol Advanced Potting Mix as a good home for your plants and apply Seasol GOLD after planting to help with transplant shock and aid plant establishment.
Four top tips to stunning Gerberas
To keep gerberas looking stunning throughout the warmer months by –
- If purchased in a smaller pot repot into a larger pot to allow the plant to keep growing and ensure it doesn’t dry out as the weather warms up.
- Apply liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives regularly over the foliage and around the soil.
- Place in a position that receives morning sun as a minimum. They are also suited for use as a living bunch of flowers and will continue to flower inside weeks. The ideal strategy is to keep inside for a week at a time.
- As the plant grows divide the crown. In warmer states this can be carried out at any time of the year, in the southern states October is the ideal time for division. When replanting, place the crown at the original soil level to reduce the chance of rotting. Remember to add some Seasol Plant + Soil Booster to the soil before planting to help promote healthy growth and vibrant blooms.
Just Add Water – Grow your own plants
An easy way to gain new plants for pots or the garden is to start them off in water. While some plants will not send out roots when sitting in a glass of water, others will push them out quickly. Rooting plants in water is the most effective and economical way to build up plant numbers.
Use filtered water or rainwater to give the plants the opportunity for the best start as quality of mains supply varies in regions. For best success take pieces about 10-12cm long and remove any leaves that will be under the water. Also, try cuttings in a solution of Seasol and water, for more information, check out the Seasol tomato root trial at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaesYk-kntU
Pick a plant to root in water
Add some extra colour to the garden – impatiens, begonia, geraniums, plectranthus and ivy geranium.
Herbs that root easily include – lemon balm, basil, oregano and mint
Failsafe shade loving plants include – coleus, hypoestes, philodendron, hydrangea, lucky bamboo, ficus pumila, devils’ ivy, croton and spider plant.
Trees to include – twisted willow, pussyfoot willow, fig tree, avocado seed
Once plants have formed roots, they can be transferred to a seed raising mix such as Seasol Seed Raising & Cutting Potting Mix in small pots. Keep in a shady position as the plants adjust and continue to develop a strong root system. Water in well with Seasol and continue to apply fortnightly as the plants establish themselves.
One of the easiest annuals to grow the sunflower will bring a smile to every gardener. Choose a full sun position and improve the soil lightly by mixing in Seasol Super Compost to make them thrive.
Cited as the perfect summer flowering annual there are no secrets to growing these plants. Choosing what variety to plant is the hardest decision. Maybe some of each, from fluffy double flowers on short compact stems to the giants with their towering flowers each variety is just as perfect as the next.
How to grow sunflowers
Immature flower heads are a favourite with the Cockateil or Weeiro, sending their beak black in a matter of a few minutes when they discover the treat they have been gifted.
Sunflowers require full sun, improved soil, water and a good fertiliser such as granular PowerFeed Controlled Release for Flowers, Fruit & Citrus. Mix it into the topsoil and remember to water it in after application. As they grow nip the main stem to encourage branching if wanted and then stand back. Typically, flowers appear in 8-10 weeks.
Wanted – Insectivores to control pests
Small insectivores (insect eating birds) are your insurance to reducing chemical usage in the garden. While many of these birds often weigh less than 20 grams each they are certainly worth their weight (and more) in gold. Feasting on a wide range of garden pests such as aphids, caterpillars, small spiders, scale, lerps, curl grubs and slaters, once established in the garden will be guaranteed to keep the bad bugs at a manageable level.
Small insectivores are vulnerable to bossy birds and will be driven out of the garden if the more dominant large bird species are allowed to take over. Create hiding positions by using dense foliage and plant large shrubs with many landing branches to keep small birds safe. Install shallow water dishes at varying heights and keep topped up with water.