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It’s Spring and the Garden Comes Alive!

In September the garden comes to life.

Warm sunny days interspersed with some late spring rains gives everything a much-needed growth spurt.

Grapevines are shooting away and would have to be one of the best fast-growing creepers you can plant.

They are nearly impossible to kill, thrive in the harshest conditions and can be trimmed back hard every winter to allow the warming winter sun to shine through.

Then by the time the harsh hot sun is here they are creating a cooling canopy, protecting everything under it.

Layering a garden is one of the easiest strategies that you can adopt to create a waterwise cool garden.

Taller trees will create canopy shade, bushy shrubs will protect from the hot afternoon sun and spreading ground covers will shade the soil and reduce moisture loss.

September is an inspiring time of the year, its time to take a few minutes to enjoy being outdoors in the garden regardless of the size of your patch.

 

What To Do In The Garden In September:

  • Prune your citrus trees to shape this month. The ideal time is after the last of the fruit has been harvested before it’s started to flower for next season’s crop. Don’t get carried away, they are a neat tree and will not grow out of control. Prune so you can reach the highest fruit safely.
  • If you have been eyeing off a friend’s Frangipani, you can take some cuttings over the next few weeks. They are prone to rotting in cold weather and the warmer the weather the greater the success rate. A piece of wood about 40cm long is the ideal length. Make cuts about 3cm long at the bottom of the branch and paint with hormone gel, place into free-draining potting mix or washed sand and keep in a warm protected position.
  • A spongy lawn causes many problems in summer. In warmer areas of Australia warm climate couch, grass varieties are vigorous growers and produce many runners. This build-up of organic matter over time stops the water soaking in. If your lawn is more than 3 years old, it will benefit from a vertimow. This will remove many runners and thatch and revitalise the lawn. In 4 weeks, it will look brilliant again and use less water over summer.

What To Do In The Garden In September Continued:

  • Protect small mango trees from extremely cold weather. These tropical trees thrive in warmer areas of the South West, but if there is any sign of frost, they will drop all their flowers, which will result in no fruit set for the following year. On clear cold nights covering up small trees with Hessian or clear plastic at night will keep them warm enough to ensure the frost won’t damage them.
  • Preparing a new garden bed is easy, good soil, water storing granules such as Seasol Planting Gel, a wetting agent such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner and correct watering will result in a fantastic garden. When establishing a garden in the warmer months, hand water each individual plant daily for 4 weeks to get the root system established and then they will be strong enough to cope with reticulation twice a week.
  • September is also the month when we should all be looking to the skies and taking advantage of any spring rains to ensure fertiliser is watered in with the rains. PowerFeed Controlled Release Plant Food granular varieties will release gradually over a period of a few months and greatly reduces the chance of nutrients leaching into our waterways. It is also the best choice for the health of the plants.

Contrasting Beauties

Silver foliage is a favourite of many gardeners, adding highlights to otherwise dull areas.

Most silver plant varieties prefer being planted in the hottest, driest parts of the garden.

Top 5 Silver Plants:

  • Globe artichokes are a spectacular garden plant with contrasting silver foliage and carry even more spectacular purple blue flowers. Even if you don’t want to harvest the artichokes, they make a brilliant show in the garden.
  • Lavender is a sure favourite and perfect for the sunniest position. French Lavender is my favourite not only do the flowers smell divine, but they also won’t self-seed and become a problem in other parts of the garden or bushland.

Top 5 Silver Plants continued:

  • Silverbush or Convolvulus cneorum has velvet-like silver foliage and perfect as a border plant. Only reaching a height of 30cm this hardy shrub is very well behaved in any garden. The hotter the position the better the flowering.
  • Cushion Bush or Leucophyta is a standout. Perfectly suited to exposed conditions this tight compact small shrub creates unique ball-like shapes in the garden. Avoid pruning hard and trim lightly to shape regularly.
  • Lambs Ears has soft furry foliage that feels exactly like baby lambs’ ears. It is a favourite amongst gardeners and performs best in a warm position. Avoid planting in the shade as it tends to lose the compact growth habit and the silver colour of the foliage tends to fade.

Dancing Ballerinas

 When looking at fuchsias in full flower the flowers remind me of ballerinas dancing, slender legs and a full ruffled skirt, flowing gracefully.

Fuchsias are looking stunning now and there wouldn’t be a more spectacular hanging basket plant in the spring.

Fuchsias require a light but cool position. A morning sun position throughout September is ideal.

A liquid feed with PowerFeed PRO Series Plant Food Roses & Flowers (50mL concentrate per 9 litres of water – standard watering can)  fortnightly and prune back hard at the first signs of looking straggly, even if there are some flowers at the growing tips.

They will soon look gorgeous again.