From Jon Lamb Communications
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December 11, 2020

Expect prawns and salad for Christmas festivities

Warm, dry weather is expected for Christmas festivities, with independent climatologist Darren Ray suggesting that, once the coming heat spike fades, the run-up to Christmas should remain dry with temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s.
Darren expects Christmas day temperatures should be a pleasant 29°C.

Summer heat in spikes, not waves

South Australia’s warmer than average temperatures are expected to continue through January and February but high temperatures are likely to arrive as heat spikes rather than extended heat waves.
In terms of rainfall January and early February could be on the dry side, although Darren Ray is anticipating the formation of a tropical system that could produce significant rain over SA in mid-February.

Be prepared for hot weather ahead

The forthcoming three-day heat spike, with temperatures climbing beyond the mid 30s could be a good test for gardeners.
The biggest challenge will be for those that have recently established new plants, particularly seedlings and small plants in small containers.
In most situations the root system on these plants will be underdeveloped and unable to cope with direct heat.
If possible, move plants in containers to a shady location. Those in the ground can be protected with temporary shade.

Is the garden ready for Christmas activities?

With just under two weeks to Christmas, a little action this weekend will see your outdoor living area saying welcome to family and friends.

A quick splash of colour

You only need a few colour plants in attractive feature containers to create a festive look. Make sure they are positioned where they can be admired.
For cost-effective colour, consider buying two or three six-packs of Bloomers ($10-$12 for six plants). Simply transfer the bloomers into your feature containers or maybe hanging baskets.

Screening plants

growing around the outdoor living area shouldn’t need much attention. Simply prune off any small branches and leaves that are dead or look untidy. Then work systematically around the area giving each tree or shrub a deep soaking.

Pavers and pathways

Don’t overlook the entranceway between the front gate and the front door.
•    Remove any weeds
•    Check edges are not overgrown. Trim lightly if needed
•    Sweep clean. Don’t worry about areas that can’t be seen.

More practical ideas tomorrow morning on ABC Radio Talkback Gardening.
Feature plantsof the week
Golden Beauty

A good time to plant roses

This week Wagner's Rose Nursery is featuring two top performing, but very different types of roses.

Golden Beauty: This floribunda rose is gold in every sense, receiving gold medals both in Australia and overseas as well as the 2018 “People’s choice award” at the Australian National Trial Gardens. Height 1.5 m.
This is a great performer in hot dry climates featuring dark gold, capped blooms that don’t fade.

La Sevillana: The perfect plant for mass planting as a hedge. Well suited to a hot and dry climate. Requires little maintenance.
The blooms are of iridescent orange-red and appear continually from October to June. Height 1.2 m
La Sevillana

Rose gardens open this Sunday

This Sunday, January 13 Wagner's Rose Nursery and rose garden will be open to the public from 10 am to 3 pm.
Many rose varieties will be in flower and potted roses (including standards) will be available for sale. (20 percent discount on all standards in pots).
Potted roses ordered from today will be posted after January 4, as delivery by Christmas cannot be guaranteed.
WAagners Rose Nursery

Megawatt Bronze Leaf begonias – better than big

Megawatt begonias are not just big they are mega. In fact, the sight of a Bronze Leaf Megawatt in bloom is simply amazing.
Megawatt Bronze Leaf begonias really do smother themselves with bright red or soft pink flowers from spring through to the end of autumn.
The blooms are held high by sturdy flower stems, well above the plant's attractive bronze foliage.
Megawatt Bronze Leaf begonias grow well in either well lit shade or semi shade.
They are perfect decorator plants for display containers and hanging baskets and look great when used for border or splash planting.
Plant these begonias in humus-rich, moist well-drained soil and keep the potting mix moist while the plants are in flower.

Megawatt begonias are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood , Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Elite Electric Salvias

If you want plants that thrive in the heat and at the same time produce masses of stunning flowers over the long hot summer days, look no further than the latest Elite Salvia Electric series.
The flowers stand very tall above the plant and will remain in bloom for around 9 months. It means from spring till autumn they will dance in the breeze on their long, arching stems with their vibrant colours producing a stand out display.
Elite Salvias are available in a large range of flower colours, foliage and heights. Colours include blue, purple and pink.
The plants are quite bushy, with deep green leaves that produce a mounding effect to
around 80cm x 80cm.
Electric Salvias join the growing number of high-performing Elite plants that are being selected for their ability to withstand the extremes of Adelaide’s weather.
They can be grown in garden beds, rockeries or large pots.
Apply an organic fertiliser at the beginning of each season. Remove old flower heads and give them a good prune back at the end of winter.

Elite seriesElite Salvias are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Check tomatoes for target spot

If the lowest leaves on your tomato plants have developed small, target-like spots and are starting to go yellow it’s likely they are being infected by Target spot fungus.
This is a soil-borne fungus that is quickly splashed onto the plants lower leaves by rain or hand watering.
It can spread rapidly and is aggravated by overhead watering.
Target spot is easily controlled by spraying plants with wettable sulphur or a copper-based product before the fungus is well established.
The first spray should have been applied soon after planting.
However, a further spray is recommended as the plants begin to set fruit.

Shading for summer vegetables

White shadecloth with a 50 percent shade factor is available at most large hardware stores and from some garden centres.  It is usually sold by the metre in rolls 1.8 or 3.6 metres wide.
While shade cloth with a 50 percent shade factor is available in green and sometimes black, only white is suitable as it provides sufficient reflective light to sustain reasonable crop growth.
The frame needed to hold your shade cloth only needs to be positioned on the northern and western side of the plants.  Direct early morning sun on your plants is good.
Keep the shade cloth well above your plants to ensure free air movement.
Be aware: last season many outlets sold out of shade cloth before Christmas and did not receive new supplies until the end of January.

Flowers not setting

If you established your tomatoes cucumbers, zucchinis and melons back in September and they are not yet setting fruits, don’t panic.
It’s all to do with pollination and critical temperatures.
Pollination is unlikely to take place on days when temperatures exceed 32°C.
In most cases the flowers pollen dries out before it is delivered.
Ideal day time pollination temperatures are 18°C to 25°C. However, most plants will continue setting while temperatures remain below 32°
For the record, pollination is also likely to fail when overnight temperatures drop below 13°C.
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Sturt Peas well worth growing

Have you ever wondered why some gardeners grow magnificent Sturt Peas every year – while others fail?
Sturt Peas in small containers are starting to appear in many garden centres. The blooms are certainly eye-catching and once you are in the know, they really are quite easy to grow.
If plants suddenly turn up their toes and die, the problem can usually be traced back to the way you water – invariably too much.
Sturt Peas will not tolerate wet feet.

Plants need room to grow

Containers filled with a top quality potting mix will provide ideal growing conditions.  Established plants will need something that holds four to five litres (minimum). 
Use a six month slow release fertiliser when repotting small plants into larger containers. 
Avoid over-fertilising plants as this is likely to produce excess growth at the expense of blooms.

Hanging baskets

Hanging baskets provide ideal drainage conditions.  The biggest challenge will be keeping water up to the plants when conditions are warm or windy.

Preparing citrus for a hot summer

Citrus thrive in South Australia’s warm dry summer climate.
Providing they receive the right kind of attention, particularly at this time of the year they will come through our hot summer heat untroubled. 
Use a regular watering schedule to keep the soil evenly moist.
Irregular watering can lead to flower and fruit drop.
If the water runs over the surface (water repellent), use a soil wetting product such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner.
Remove any weeds under the trees canopy as they will compete for moisture and nutrients.
A good covering of mulch will help retain soil moisture and control weeds.

Feed PowerFeed with Troforte Flowers, Fruit & Citrus
This is a dynamic, quick and slow-release, granular fertiliser and soil conditioner that encourage strong, healthy growth, flowering and fruiting.
It should be applied under the tree's canopy and watered in thoroughly to stimulate soil microbes.

More information »

Container guidelines for growing dwarf fruit trees

At this time of the year, most garden centres carry a range of quality container grown dwarf fruit trees ready for transplanting into larger containers. 
However, the containers must be large enough to allow the trees to reach their true potential. 
These should hold 50 to 60 litres of quality growing medium.
NB: The smaller the container the more often the trees will need to be watered.
Incorporating 15-20 percent of quality compost to the mix before planting will significantly increase the ability of the mix to hold moisture.

Good advice: Check the container provides adequate drainage. A 50 L size container will need more than one 25 cm drainage hole.
Fruit trees and large shrubs in big containers will benefit if you soak their roots before Christmas with a solution containing soil wetter, liquid seaweed and a liquid organic fertiliser.

New organic soil wetter's water-saving benefits

eco-hydrate is an organic water saving product that works in five ways: it dramatically improves water penetration, it uses special sugars to attract and store additional moisture into the soil, it reduces plant stress, it helps plants become more efficient with water use and lastly it helps to improve soil structure.
More information »

OCP eco organic gardeneco-hydrate is available from hardware stores, nurseries, supermarkets and online»

House plant watering the key to good growth

Resist the temptation to make house plants grow faster by feeding them with extra fertiliser. 
More attention to correct watering will give a better result. 
Wait for the top few centimetres of soil to dry out and then give the plant a good watering.
Irrigation Guide – Antelco

All your potted plant watering peeves solved

Meet the Potstream®, a fully adjustable watering device for potted plants and container watering.
Potstream® is known as the pot plant irrigation problem solver. It is100% designed and manufactured in South Australia by Antelco Pty Ltd.
Potstream® is side-mounted on your potted plants. It is neat and tidy and will end all your pot watering woes.

Learn more »
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

How often should you mow?

Some gardeners love mowing their lawn but for others it’s a chore.
Regardless, it often raises the issue of how often should you mow the lawn and does this really matter?
Adelaide lawn advisor Stefan Palm will tell you the answers depend on a range of factors and these will vary from one garden to the next.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan explains what actually happens to the grass when you mow the lawn and provides some practical guidelines on mowing buffalo couch and kikuyu, along with cool-season grasses such as tall fescue, fine rye and bluegrass.

More information »

Lawns respond quickly

It’s surprising how quickly the lawn will respond to a little extra nutrition and water.
You only need a small quantity of balanced lawn fertiliser. About half a kilogram will cover 10 m² of lawn. (Blending this with one or two kg of dry soil or sand will make it easier to achieve an even spread).
Water the fertiliser into the top 10 cm of soil.

Lift the mower blades: Longer blades of grass will give the lawn a soft attractive appearance, while contributing to the vigour of the plant’s roots.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Orchids in hot weather

By Trevor Garard, Orchid Club of SA
The hot weather has started and I hope you have managed to keep your plants in good condition. Keep the water up to them and check often to see if your growing medium is retaining the water you give them.
If a flowering plant looks distressed  remove the flowers to give the plant a better chance of recovery.
Some of the Australian native Cymbidium species and their hybrids will be in flower now or within a few weeks.
For more info about your orchids please visit the Orchid Club of South Australia.  or call Education and Publicity Officer, Trevor Garard on 0414 807 633.

Please keep your questions for Talkback Gardening

Good Gardening  is unable to answer individual reader's questions via email.
If you're looking for specific gardening advice please give me a call on ABC Radio Adelaide's Saturday morning Talkback Gardening  or speak to the experts at your local garden centre.

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC Talkback Gardening podcastsABC Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday, 8.30 am to 10 am – phone Deb Tribe and me on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

Winner of this year’s Master Landscape of South Australia (ML SA) award for garden maintenance, Jamie McIlwain will help you create a garden makeover in time for this year’s Christmas festivities.

Garden centre directory

Leading Adelaide garden centres recommended by Good Gardening newsletter.

Heynes Garden Centre

Heyne's Garden Centre
283-289 The Parade, Beulah Park. (08) 8332 2933
Decorate your garden with pots of Christmas cheer…RED & WHITE petunias! 
Get yours now!

South Australia's oldest established garden centre. Huge range. Expert staff on hand for personal advice. Visit online »

Semaphore Pets & Garden
Semaphore Pets and Garden
119 Semaphore Rd, Semaphore. (08) 8242 7302
There is so much Christmas colour arrived at Semaphore Pets & Garden. We are surrounded by poinsettias, Christmas vincas, and Christmas petunias.
Get your Christmas spirit here! We have just got Afterpay, so pop on down and spoil yourself!

Always has a great selection of plants, pets and giftware – all under the one roof.
Facebook »

Barrow & Bench
Barrow & Bench Mitre 10
321 Unley Rd, Malvern. (08) 8272 8566
Fabulous gift ideas and Christmas goodies in store this week including potted Sturt’s Desert Pea, Christmas trees, and a fresh delivery of everyone’s favourites - poinsettia and hydrangea. 
Open every day until Christmas Mon-Fri 7.30am-7pm.  Sat 8-5.  Sun 9-5

Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »
Weather forecasts

Regular garden attractions

Check with each venue's web site for any Covid-19 restrictions on opening hours.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens – free guided walks

Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide guided walks for the public at Adelaide, Mount Lofty and Wittunga Botanic Gardens, and Botanic Park.
More information »

Carrick Hill

Heritage house museum and garden, the former home of Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward. Open weekends & public holidays. Free admission into garden and grounds. 46 Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield.
More information »

Cummins Historic House and gardens
23 Sheoak Ave, Novar Gardens. Gardens open and plant sales on 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month (except Dec & Jan) 2 pm - 4.30 pm. Plant sales also available every Friday morning 9 am to noon. More information »

Heysen - The Cedars
The historic home of two of Australia’s most noted artists, Sir Hans Heysen and his daughter Nora. This unique 60-hectare heritage estate features the original family home, two artists’ studios and the celebrated cottage-style garden, planted chiefly with exotics, including the massive Himalayan cedar trees.
Heysen Road, Hahndorf. Open 10 am - 4.30 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and also open on public holiday Mondays. Ticketed entry, including guided tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
More information »

Urrbrae House historic precinct gardens
At the end of Walter Young Avenue, off Fullarton Road, Urrbrae, or from the Urrbrae House gate, Claremont Avenue, Netherby.
Open from dawn until dusk every day. Free entry.
More information »

Waite Arboretum, Fullarton Road, Urrbrae
Open free to the public every day of the year from dawn to dusk, except on fire ban days. Free guided walks on the first Sunday of every month, 11 am to 12.30 pm.
Meet at the West lawn (Croquet Lawn) of Urrbrae House. Bookings not necessary.
More information »

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Disclaimer: Although all reasonable care is taken in preparing information contained in this email, neither Jon Lamb Communications (JLC) nor its officers, staff or suppliers involved in the editing and production of this email accept any liability resulting from the interpretation or use of the information set out in this document. Information contained in this document is subject to change without notice and is of a general nature and should not take the place of professional personal advice. No responsibility is accepted by Jon Lamb Communications for the accuracy of information contained in web sites linked from this email. Publication of an advertisement does not constitute endorsement by JLC of any product or service, or warrant its suitability.

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