From Jon Lamb Communications
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November 20, 2020

Covid-19 forces garden centre closures

SA garden centres have been advised to remain closed during the current Covid-19 virus restrictions.
However, staff required for essential services such as watering are permitted to work.
While some hardware stores that also sell green life remain open, they are restricted to the sale of hardware (only) related to essential services.
More information tomorrow morning on ABC TalkBack Gardening.

Shading protects tomatoes against heat spikes

Spikes of heat with temperatures jumping quickly into the mid and upper 30s – every time prevailing winds blow from the north – can be bad news for tomato growers.
But this is what climatologists expect in the summer ahead.
Yet for many years commercial tomato growers have produced their top-tasting summer field crops under the protection of 50 percent white shade cloth. 
Shade cloth has the potential to drop air temperatures on a hot day by 10-15°C. 
At the same time, it can reduce the plant’s water needs by 30 to 50 percent.
For a summer-loving tomato, this is brilliant.

The effect of high temperatures

Plants simply stop setting fruits once air temperatures reach 35°C. 
On the other hand, they are at their most productive when the air around them ranges from 18 to 28°C. 
This is their comfort zone.
It is also worth noting that once temperatures move into the 30s, much of the energy used to grow fruit is diverted to gather moisture, explaining why tomato plants usually produce smaller fruits during hot summer weather.

Big crop - small crop syndrome in fruit trees

Why do so many apple, peach, plum, apricot and citrus trees produce heavy crops with small fruit one year followed by small crops and large fruit in the following season?
The problem is called biennial bearing and, once established, the syndrome is hard to break.
In most gardens the problem can be reduced significantly by fruit “thinning”.
However, to be effective “thinning” must be carried out soon after the trees have completed their first natural shedding of fruit.
This is usually 4 to 6 weeks after fruits set – and in many gardens that’s right now.
The aim should be to achieve an even spread of fruit over the tree's canopy.
Be prepared to reduce fruit clusters, as well as removing individual fruits.
Mulching and regular watering through summer is also recommended.
Feature plantsof the week

Pink Baby’s Breath is intriguing and appealing

Gypsophila Gypsy Pink, also known as Baby’s Breath, is a beautiful perennial that has hundreds of dainty double pink flowers throughout summer and autumn.
This beautiful perennial is a very desirable plant, either for cut flower use or planted as an infill or border highlight.
Gypsophila Gypsy Pink prefers a warm, full-sun to part-shade position in well-drained soil.
With a common name like Pink Baby’s Breath you can be assured it is very easy to grow, surprisingly cold hardy and easily made happy in sunny locations.
For an intriguing “Airy” look, pink baby's breath is indispensable for your garden bouquets, and a real treat for butterflies.
Available in distinctive purple Easy Colour 4 cell packs that make transplanting easy.
Easy Colour
Baby's Breath are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood , Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

For a daisy, this one is a stunner

Daisy May is a large flowering shasta daisy (Leucanthemum), with vibrant, bright white petals surrounding a distinctive bright yellow centre.
The flowers are held high above the foliage on strong stems and continue to appear through spring and summer.
Daisy May is far more compact and tidier than the original shasta daisies.
It is an ideal plant for mixed borders, group planting, displaying in large containers or simply growing in the garden for a supply of long lasting cut flowers.
Establish in soils that contain additional compost, then mulch and water. This daisy will then require little additional attention – apart from an occasional soaking in the warmer weather.
A great plant for attracting butterflies.

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

Elodie Gossiun – sublime, seductive and healthy

Named after Miss France and Miss Europe 2001, Elodie Gossiun combines stunning blooms with exquisite fragrance on a healthy bush that is neat and compact. (1.2 m x 1 m)
The blooms are medium pink, large, cup-shaped and ruffled, while the extremely powerful fragrance has been described as "subtle notes of citrus, fruits, white pepper and myrrh."
This seductive rose is full of character and worthy of any garden.
Knights Roses has a large range of ready-to-plant, healthy garden roses bursting with new season's growth beautifully presented in their pots.

Good Gardening readers can receive free gift wrapping as below on any rose ordered, not just Elodie.
Use the code Giftwrap20 for free gift wrapping on any rose purchased.

Knight's RosesKnights' Roses, one of the largest rose growers and suppliers in Australia, offer a comprehensive collection of rose bushes to both wholesalers and the public. 44 Jack Cooper Drive, Gawler, SA. Phone (08) 8523 1311.
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Trees to hide the neighbours

Trees that are tall, narrow and very attractive are just what are needed when space for a garden is at a premium.
Landscapers call them fastigiate. The tree’s canopy develops as a dense column that can reach 5 to 6 metres tall (and more) but only spread 1-1.5m wide.
Fastigiate trees provide an ideal solution in small gardens where there is a need to screen out a tall building next door or maybe an unsightly wall. 
  • Evergreen or Deciduous: Keep in mind, if the aim is to block out the neighbours, deciduous trees drop their leaves in winter. However, the selection of suitable evergreens is rather limited.
  • Top tall slim evergreen trees include Syzgyium “Backyard Bliss” and “Pinnacle”.
  • Top Deciduous: Pyrus “Capitol”, and Prunus “Oakville Crimson Spire”.

Shade trees for small gardens

Trees grown to provide ‘sitting shade’ are best located close to the back door or adjacent to an outdoor eating area. 
As lunchtime ‘outdoor’ entertaining is often important, try to locate the tree in a position where it provides shade over the target area by noon. 
Take a look at where the sun is at midday.  Mark the location with a large stake, as it may be winter before your new shade tree is planted.
Deciduous trees are effective, as they develop a shady canopy through summer, drop their leaves in autumn and allow the sun to come shining through in winter.
Suggestions include:
  • Crab Apples – Malus ioensis ‘Plena’ or Malus Gorgeous.
  • Ornamental pistachio Pistacia chinensis.
  • TallowWood Sapium sebiferum.
  • Golden rain tree Koelreuteria paniculata

Growing a wall of citrus

Citrus adapt well to growing as a hedge. 
The aim is to encourage branches to grow horizontally on either side of the main trunk with any branches growing towards the back or front shortened or removed.
Citrus can also be grown as an espalier but a strong framework or trellis is needed to support the main branches.
These are tied down to the horizontal trellis wires. 
More details on training citrus to grow as a hedge or espalier tomorrow morning, on ABC Talkback Gardening, when Riverland citrus authority Ian Tolley joins the program.

Indoor plant feeding problem solved

When it comes to feeding your indoor plants, how much fertiliser do they need and how often?
Thanks to Yates, both problems have been solved with simple, ready to use Liquid Plant Food Drippers.
The drippers contain just the right amount of fertiliser that has been formulated to feed indoor plants, including ferns.
Each dripper contains the right NPK balance of Thrive Indoor Plant fertiliser to feed your plants and ferns for four weeks.
To use, simply snip off the tip of the dripper and insert it into the potting mix of your pot plant.
Make sure the potting mix is moist before inserting the dripper at the edge of the pot.

Write the start date on the dripper so you know when to feed next.
More information »

Many reasons for yellow leaves

If the leaves of your favourite tree or shrub have turned yellow instead of green, suspect either a nitrogen deficiency or lack of iron due to too much lime in the soil. 
Try an application of nitrogen fertiliser first and if the plant does not respond within 2-3 weeks, spray the foliage with iron chelates. 
Both are available from most garden outlets.

Feeding vegetables recommended

Once your plants are up and growing, they should be encouraged to grow steadily by applying liquid fertiliser. 
A half strength mix applied every fortnight is recommended.  However, it’s important not to exceed the recommended rates. 
Supplementary feeding with liquid fertiliser is important as many of the plant foods needed by your crops are washed out of the soil or potting mix when you water.

Preventing tomato blossom end rot

Blossom end rot, an unsightly disorder that causes the bottom end of tomatoes to turn black as they near maturity, is likely to be a problem this season
It is caused by a calcium deficiency in the fruit, brought about when the plant's sap stream is reduced because of moisture stress (too much, or too little). 
Keeping the soil moist by mulching and regular watering will help reduce this problem.
Reducing nitrogen levels early in the plant’s growing season and increasing potash levels will also help.

Good time to bud roses and fruit trees                          

Late November and early December is a good time to bud rose bushes, stone and poem fruit trees as well and citrus.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Choosing the right lawn

Considering the importance of your lawn, the number of years it is expected to perform and the growing cost of water, it is certainly worth choosing lawn grasses that are long lasting and drought tolerant.
As SA turf consultant Stefan Palm pointed out in a recent lawn blog, if you are considering establishing a new lawn soon, it makes sense to choose warm-season grasses such as couch grass, buffalo or kikuyu.
All three are hard-wearing, heat-tolerant and will get by with minimum water.
More information »

Tree roots invading your lawn?        

The best way to prevent tree roots from invading your lawn or vegetable patch is to develop the practice of watering the tree roots separately from the lawn. 
Allow the hose to soak water slowly but deep down into the subsoil around the tree every 4-6 weeks during the summer growing season.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Why apricots have freckles

Small black spots on the skin of developing apricots indicate the tree’s blossom was infected by a fungus disease known as freckle, back in spring. 
Make a note to spray the tree with liquid copper as the leaves begin to fall in autumn (to reduce carryover of the fungus) and again just as new season buds begin to burst next spring.

Snap on hose fittings that leak

Many gardeners now rely heavily on low-cost “snap on” fittings to join a range of water related products to their irrigation hoses.
These rely on small rubber “O” rings to create a waterproof seal between the inner and outer fitting.
Constant use results in the seals becoming worn (or broken) and you end up with yet another annoying leak.
Fortunately these “O ring” seals are easily replaced and are readily available from most garden and hardware outlets.
Many gardeners replace all O-rings on constantly used fittings at the beginning of each season.

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.

Internationally recognised Riverland citrus grower Ian Tolley discusses the essentials needed to grow citrus as an espalier or hedge – in courtyard sized containers.
Weather forecasts

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
Now’s the time to start thinking Christmas! I can hear many of you groaning already. Jump online and check out our range of gift ideas.
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
We have just unpacked pallets of garden art. There are Buddhas, fairies, gnomes and hand made rust-look sculptures by a local artist. Stand out from the crowd with unique products @Semaphore Pets & Garden.
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
We are working within Government guidelines. Our store will be full of beautiful plants waiting for their forever homes as we work through State Government restrictions.
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »

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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