Plan ahead for summer and festive season in the garden🌸🌼

Sudden warm days in November often take gardeners (and plants) by surprise. Soft new growth wilts very quickly but be rest assured picks up just as quickly. It doesn’t take long, and the soft new growth has hardened a little and is more heat tolerant.

With only a few weeks until Christmas it’s time to grow on a few living gifts for friends and family. Plan to put a day aside in the next few weeks to create green gifts this year.

To get you started we have included an idea to create your own living Christmas gift.

Jars of Green – your living Christmas gift

Mini landscapes in jars, cups or decorative glass containers are fun to create, look fantastic and easy to care for. They’re perfect for the office desk or bathroom vanity. Whether you select a miniature succulent theme with sand and rocks or recreate a miniature tropical rainforest, the steps in creating mini landscapes are the same.

Follow our easy tips below:

  • Select jars or containers that have openings big enough to get tools or hands in to make mini-scaping and planting easy.
  • Use perlite as the first layer. Perlite is an inert material and will hold moisture without the water souring.
  • Seed raising mix such as Seasol Seed Raising & Cutting Potting mix is a fine grade and the perfect planting media to use for mini – scaping.

  • Add a few prills of controlled release fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release Plant Food for Pots & Planters to the seed raising mix if it doesn’t already contain it. Too much and salts will build up in the soil and perlite
  • If growing succulents select miniature leaf varieties to create the correct scale. Succulents will grow successfully by pieces in a mini scape. Remember to water your new plants in with Seasol or Seasol GOLD to reduce transplant shock and to aid plant establishment in their new home.
  • Cover the seed raising mix with a layer (approx. 3-5mm) of decorative or coloured sand.
  • Decorate with a few small rocks. Place in groups of three and select contrasting colours to create a miniature feature.
  • If planting a miniature tropical oasis select miniature starter plants or those that grow from a piece and maintain small foliage.
  • Moss laid on the soil will create a miniature tropical feel. Be sure to add rocks in a natural formation.
  • Water in well and if the container has a lid, replace to create humidity. Remove the lid every few weeks to allow for air movement.
  • Liquid feed every couple of weeks with Seasol Foliar spray and be careful not to get the spray onto the decorative rocks. Wipe rocks careful with a damp cloth if the solution appears on them.

Six must do gardening jobs in November

Late spring is a busy time in the garden as we get our garden ready for the stresses of summer. Here are a few must do jobs that you can do in November, so your garden, is ready to go.

  • Mass planting garden beds so it creates a cool microclimate for plants is a great idea when planting a new garden. The use of large shrubs or small trees shade and protect the plants underneath them. Using a deciduous shrub or tree is even better it not only protects in summer, but allows the sun to stream in, in winter.
  • Plant follow up crops of the repeat harvest salad greens, they will be ready to harvest in only a few weeks. The faster they grow the tastier they are at this time of the year. The flavour of the freshest leaves will ensure the summer BBQ salads will become a firm favourite of the family. Not to mention the most nutritious.

Six must do jobs in November cont:

  • Trim the spring flowering Kangaroo Paws back to ground level, sounds drastic, but it is better for the plants. They recover with lush green foliage that looks gorgeous over the summer. Feed the taller growing summer flowering varieties, with a controlled release fertiliser for flowering plants. Kangaroo Paws will respond to regular applications of fertiliser.
  • Small potted plants dry out very quickly through the warmer months and with the days heating up its time to start repotting. One of the best ways to keeping potted plants and ensuring they are water efficient is to increase the size of the pots. The more soil that is around the plants roots, the cooler the root system stays.
  • Trim the Bottlebrush and Grevilleas after they have finished flowering, these native plants respond to a prune and will stay bushier and more compact. It also means they are less prone to wind damage.
  • Take steps to control fruit fly. If you are lucky enough to live in a fruit fly free state enjoy this freedom. For the rest of us, exclusion netting, or baiting is the only sure way to minimise strike. This will reduce the population and ensure you get some of the fruit.  An indicator of fruit fly strike is dropped fruit. Pick it up from under the tree and dispose of after it has been treated to remove the chance of fruit fly larvae maturing. Place in a bucket of water that has a layer of kerosene or if only a few fruit are dropping at a time cover in boiling water to immediately destroy any newly laid larvae. There is nothing like the taste (and perfume) of tree ripened apricots or nectarines to say summer is here.

Fertilising Aussie natives

Most Australian plants come alive in spring in full colour. Most will also respond to an application of slow or controlled release fertiliser every season during the growing season such as PowerFeed with Troforte All Purpose including Natives.

Autumn is an ideal time to feed as soil temperatures remain warm, there’s usually moisture around and spring flowering plants have slowed their growth rate. At this time of the year, they are focusing on developing flower buds ready to burst into colour on the other side of winter. Reapply fertiliser again every season through the growing and flowering seasons. This is when they move into active vegetative growth phase and require added nutrients for root and foliage development.

Fertilising Aussie natives – why some are phosphorus-sensitive?

When it comes to feeding Australian plants avoid using high phosphorous formulations on the Proteaceae family. This includes Grevilleas, Hakeas, Banksias and Telopea species as they have developed specialised roots to draw phosphorous out of low phosphorus soils.

When the incorrect formulation is used, these roots are burnt, and plants will die quickly. These roots are identified by a mass of fine fibres just under the soil surface and if you didn’t know any different, you’d think the plant had a disease.

When planting new plants from the Proteaceae family avoid teasing the proteoid roots apart as it will visibly stress the plants. Apply a controlled release fertiliser suitable for natives such as PowerFeed Controlled Release Plant Food All Purpose including Natives  twice a year and Australian plants are guaranteed to thrive.