From Jon Lamb Communications
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October 8, 2021
Target spot

Showers likely to activate fungal diseases

Showery weather is activating a wide range of spring fungal disease and leaf spots.
These include black spot on roses and apples, target spot on tomatoes, along with a range of leaf spots and petal blights on ornamentals.

Preventative sprays worth using

Most of these “spots” and blights are effectively prevented from spreading when you spray with a readily available fungicide such as liquid copper or mancozeb.
Organic products including eco fungicide and wettable sulphur are also effective.
These fungicides have a relatively low dermal toxicity and should provide protection for 10 to 14 days.

Preventing target spot on tomatoes

Tomatoes planted in an open garden early in the growing season are very susceptible to target spot (early blight, halo blight). 
This is a soil-borne fungus where the fungal spores are splashed by raindrops, from the soil to the lower leaves on the tomato plant.
If showers persist the disease quickly spreads upwards (by rain splash) through the plants leaf canopy.
Initially, the fungus causes very small dark brown spots on the lower leaves. 
However, as these enlarge, they develop a light grey, almost opaque centre surrounded by a darker border. The leaves soon turn yellow, then brown and eventually fall.

Mulching is effective

The first thing to do if you have tomatoes in the ground is to mulch the area to prevent rain splash. 
Once the plants are well established remove the lower leaves, particularly those touching or close to the ground.
As with most fungal diseases, prevention is far more effective than trying to control the problem once established.

Tip: Don’t plant your tomatoes in the same location each year.

Garden mulch is encouraging earwigs

Earwig populations are building rapidly in many gardens.
This is largely because the organic mulches being used to help retain soil moisture provide an ideal place for earwigs to feed and breed.
Small earwig populations should be encouraged as they are very effective insect predators, feeding on the eggs of slugs, snails, possibly millipedes and definitely caterpillars. 
They are also partial to adult aphids.
However, when populations expand, their feeding extends to soft petals, leaves and the flesh of soft fruits.


Trapping is one of the easiest and certainly one of the most effective ways of reducing populations. 
The secret is to take full advantage of their need to hide in a cool, dark location after a night’s feeding.
Crumpled paper inside a terracotta pot or small (30 to 40 cm) lengths of garden hose placed where the insects hide, will trap small numbers. 
The insects are easily disposed of in a solution of soapy water.
Feature plantsof the week
Love You

Changeover time when buying roses

As the season progresses South Australia’s rose nurseries change from selling bushes that are dormant and “bare rooted” to those now growing in pots, ready for planting.
At Knight's Roses, potted roses can be ordered now and will be available very soon.
Meanwhile, Daniel Knight has selected a stunning hybrid tea rose along with a spreading bush rose for this week’s newsletter.

Love You – a rose for any occasion

This is a striking hybrid tea rose with beautifully shaped buds. The blooms are highly pointed with a white silver on the reverse and extremely fragrant.
The buds on this bush unfold from a graceful spiral shape into elegant flowers, while dark olive green foliage makes for a stunning contrast whether grown in the garden or a container. Love You is also a beautiful cut flower rose for a vase.
Good disease resistance. Height 1.6 m (approx).

Ruby Ribbons – a versatile spreading rose

The blooms produced by Ruby Ribbons are a very dark red, with hints of black on the edges of some petals.
If it wasn’t for prominent yellow stamens in the centre of the flower, the colour would almost be too dark.
This is a spreading rose that will spill over a low wall or the side of a large container.
When grown on a flat site it can be used as a mounding groundcover without taking up too much space. Height 60 cm, width 80 cm.
Very disease resistant.
This is a perfect rose for use in ground cover beds, borders or spilling over a feature wall.
Ruby Ribbon
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.

A bright mix of colour in profusion

Bright Mix Impatiens with their eye-catching colours make a great addition to any garden.
They certainly produce a magnificent display, particularly when you need plants to lighten up damp, shady corners of the garden.
Bright Mix Impatiens produce flowers nonstop for a whole growing season. But they don’t need deadheading to keep on growing.
These have been carefully selected by Easy Colour for their ability to provide long-term, trouble-free colour.
The plants are upright, but mounding (25 x 30 cm) with excellent vigour and are very easy to grow.
The most important thing to remember is to water the plants regularly.
Keep them moist – but not too wet. If they dry out, they lose their leaves, whereas over-watering could encourage fungal diseases.

Easy ColourImpatiens Bright Mix are in stock at Heyne's Garden Centre, Beulah Park, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.
Grevillea Robyn Gordon

A lot to like about Grevillea Robyn Gordon

Grevillea Robyn Gordon is a long time garden favourite, producing spectacular dark red, bird-attracting flowers on a very attractive canopy of olive green leaves.
Add to this an ability to thrive in a wide range of climates and garden soils and you can see why this grevillea is still so popular.
The canopy is in fact quite bushy (1.5 m x 1.5 m) and makes an ideal plant for screening or used as a feature.
While regular pruning is not needed it will respond quickly to hard pruning.
Like many Grevilleas, Robyn Gordon prefers a sunny or lightly shaded location and needs free-draining soil that is not very alkaline.
Mulching is beneficial and once established this bush has excellent tolerance to drought and frost.

Australian plants - sunshine or shade?

Before buying Australian plants for a courtyard garden, give serious consideration to where the plants will be positioned.
Many – but certainly not all – Australian plants are sun lovers and like roses or hibiscus they will fail to produce spectacular blooms if they are located in too much shade.
Fortunately there are many that will perform in semi-shade and a few that are happy to bloom in full shade.
You can find more information about locations, along with essential details for more than 1,000 Australian plants in the latest State Flora Nursery Catalogue.

State Flora catalogue »

State Flora is South Australia’s leading Australian native plant nursery. It stocks more than 1,800 species of native plants for sale to the public at its Belair and Murray Bridge nurseries.
Lobelia Lucia Blue

Long-flowering Lobelia Lucia Dark Blue

Lobelia Lucy Dark Blue is one of those great new plants that constantly smother themselves in flowers.
The blooms are a brilliant bright blue and look like butterflies in flight.
Neat, spreading foliage holds its form well through a long flowering season.
This extends from winter, through spring and, given a light trim, into early summer as well.
Lucia Lobelias are sun-loving perennials that adapt well to shady locations, providing the light is bright.
The plants need good drainage, while the soil should be kept mulched and moist during the warmer weather.
This is a great plant for garden beds as well as feature containers.

Proven WinnersLobelia Lucy Dark Blue are in stock at Heyne's Garden Centre, Beulah Park, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Peach aphids invading stone fruit       

It’s worth checking the tips of stone fruit trees at this time of the year for signs of peach aphids. 
These can be black or green and, if ignored, can quickly damage new tip growth or distort newly formed leaves (similar to peach leaf curl damage). 
Try spraying the tips with horticultural oil. 

Check elm trees for leaf beetle

If you have an elm tree growing in your garden and you live in the Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs or the Adelaide Hills or Fleurieu Peninsula, check the leaves carefully for signs of leaf skeletonising elm leaf beetle.
This is a very destructive small olive-green beetle that features black stripes down its back and sides.
Populations can build rapidly and if the tree is left unprotected, it could be leafless by the end of the season.
The systemic chemical, Imidacloprid, provides effective control.
This is a job for an arborist.
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Wasps plan slightly earlier arrival

Citrus gall wasps are now expected to begin emerging one day earlier than last week's report predicted:
  • Early emergence – October 24
  • Peak emergence – November 12
  • Emergence completed – November 17
These dates are provided by the Citrus Industry CGW Protection Program and SARDI entomologist Greg Baker, and are based on early spring temperatures.
Gardeners wanting to prevent gall wasps from laying eggs in their trees this spring should apply two sprays of kaolin clay – the first spray just prior to emergence and a second applied 2 to 3 weeks later.
Kaolin clay is available from most garden centres, sold as Vasilis Citrus Gall Wasp Spray.
Spraying with horticultural oil (eco-oil or Pest Oil) is not as effective and requires three sprays spaced two weeks apart.

Avoid insecticides

Insecticides should not be used to control citrus gall wasps, as they are likely to have a devastating effect on beneficial insects, particularly the parasites known to control citrus gall wasp.
Entomologists also advise gardeners not to use sticky traps as again they are likely to destroy beneficial insects.
It is also likely the wasps will have mated and laid their eggs before being trapped.

Don’t let weeds set seed

Soil temperatures are starting to rise and in many gardens weeds will soon be setting seed.
Spraying now, before this happens, with a quick-acting knockdown herbicide is recommended.
However, this operation should not be carried out on a windy day as drift can seriously affect neighbouring plants.
Choose a mild day and, if possible spray, in the morning.

Organic solution for garden weeds

You can get your weeds under control with the help of OCP Slasher Organic Weedkiller.
Slasher is approved for use in organic gardens and works fast.
Expect to see visible results within 1 hour on most weeds.
This weedicide is made from plant ingredients and is glyphosate-free.
It’s also non-residual and can be used safely around roses and in the veggie patch (no withholding period).
Slasher is available from hardware stores, nurseries, and supermarkets and online at
More information on Slasher »
The full range of eco organic garden products and advice is here »

There's more to a tomato than taste

When choosing heirloom and old-fashioned tomato varieties for their taste, keep in mind most older varieties have little resistance to disease and poor tolerance to extended heat.
These varieties can be protected from disease and insects by spraying with a tomato spray (wettable sulphur is ideal) soon after planting and again as the bushes begin flowering.
During hot weather, be prepared to protect your plants from the sun, ideally with 50 percent white shade cloth.

Avoid close planting of tomatoes

Tomato plants need maximum light shining on their leaves if they are to produce high yields.
Close planting will cause significant leaf shading and result in fewer rather than more tomatoes. 
It will also reduce air flow, increasing the likelihood of fungal disease and the build-up of insects.  
For tall, staking varieties consider spacing plants 70 to 80 cm apart.
Traditional, non-staking varieties should be spaced at least a metre apar,t as they grow wide rather than tall.

Large containers are great

Tomatoes grow particularly well in containers. 
As a general rule, the bigger the container the less work involved in keeping the plants watered.
Containers should be at least 40 cm in diameter.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Creeping oxalis – is control possible?

Gardeners often describe creeping oxalis, with its clover-like leaves and bright yellow flowers as a horror weed.
And rightly so. Hand removal is futile and all too often, despite repeated spraying, it keeps on reappearing.
How to control creeping oxalis is one of those questions that is often posed to lawn consultant Stefan Palm.
In this week’s lawn blog, Stefan looks at the two different forms of this horror weed and explains why it is so persistent.
Stefan also provides sound advice on how it can be controlled.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Which fertiliser is best for fruit trees?

Surveys indicate half of the fertiliser applied to home garden fruit trees is chemically based (complete garden fertiliser) while the other half is organic (chicken manure, fish waste and/or composts).
However, from the fruit tree's point of view this doesn’t matter, as both chemical and organic fertilisers need to be converted by soil microbes into the same “available” form that the trees can use.

Chemical fertilisers:
  • These are concentrated, usually well-balanced and quick acting. However their residual action is relatively short.
  • High levels of nitrogen fertiliser are likely to produce excessive growth. This can reduce fruit set and significantly increase the trees need for water.
Organic fertilisers:
  • These are usually less concentrated, slower acting, but their release is sustained over an extended period. Organic products also act as a major food source for beneficial soil micro organisms
  • Many organic products have relatively low levels of essential nutrients, particularly potash.

If you haven’t fertilised your fruit trees since last spring, do it soon, particularly if you only apply one application each year.

Why some citrus have thick skins                

Oranges, lemons and grapefruit that develop a thicker than normal skin are invariably suffering from a nutrient imbalance, usually too much nitrogen fertiliser and often not enough phosphorus.
Fertilisers blended specifically for citrus contain all of the elements needed and in the right balance. 
For quality fruit and regular yields establish a fertilising program where you apply three small applications of citrus fertiliser through the main growing period – early spring, early summer and early autumn.
However, if your trees are container grown, consider applying a very small quantity of organic fertiliser monthly – through the main growing season – September to early April. 

Garden leftovers not quite compost          

Leftover garden materials that have not been fully composted should not be dug into garden soil that is about to be planted.
On the other hand chopped branch clippings, soggy leaves, lawn clippings and other semi composted materials all make excellent mulch.
Uncomposted materials dug into the soil must be completely broken down by microorganisms before they can be used by plants.
This process can take five or six weeks, meanwhile this area will be quite unsuitable for growing garden plants.

Container care for camellias and azaleas

Early spring is the best time to repot acid-loving plants, particularly camellias and azaleas.
When re-potting, select a potting mix blended for camellias and add a tablespoon of garden sulphur to each four litres of potting mix. 
Alternatively, you can mix equal parts of camellia potting mix and coarse pine bark (10mm-20mm size).
This will ensure the soil remains acidic and that the plants have excellent drainage, as they do not like wet feet.
To fertilise, apply a three to four month slow-release product in early spring and again very early in autumn.  This should be supplemented with an organic liquid fertiliser applied on a monthly basis through the main growing 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 advice please give me a call on ABC Radio Adelaide's Saturday morning Talkback Gardening  or ask at your local garden centre.
Saturday, October 9
Port Augusta Garden Club Show
A non-competitive exhibition by Garden Club members and friends, with native plants, flowers, produce on display. 10 am to 1 pm.  Port Augusta Garden Club, Elizabeth Terrace. Plant sales, raffle, sale of cakes and jams etc.

Saturday, October 9
SA Chrysanthemum Society annual plant sale
Goodwood Community Centre, 32-34 Rosa Street, Goodwood. 10 am - 2 pm.

Saturday, October 9
Fern sale, Adelaide High School
West Terrace Adelaide, 9 am - 2 pm.

Saturday & Sunday, October 9 & 10
Bonsai Society of  SA annual show
Goodwood Community Centre, 32 Rosa St. Goodwood. Sat 10 am - 4 pm, Sun 10 am - 3 pm.
Bonsai and Ikebana display and demonstrations. Bonsai, tools and pots for sale. Gold coin donation.
Saturday & Sunday, October 9 & 10
Dalveen open garden fund raiser
173 Dalveen Rd, Woodchester. 10 am - 4 pm
A young informal garden dependent on rainfall, with shelter-belt of old trees and sweeping lawns around a historic homestead, enjoying panoramic views of the family sheep and cropping property established in 1853. $10 entry includes Devonshire Tea. Proceeds benefit St Andrew’s Strathalbyn Uniting Church restorations.

Sunday, October 10
Spring Open Day
Glenelg North Community Garden, Kibby Reserve, Alison Street, Glenelg North. Plant sale, seedlings, homemade produce. 10 am - 2 pm.

Open GardensOpen Gardens SA

Saturday & Sunday, October 9 & 10
Crabapple Cottage
1 Jean Street, Leabrook
A colourful cottage garden surrounding a picture-book pretty straw bale house designed for sustainable living. There are ornamental and productive plants, including 13 fruit trees, a frog pond, small lawn and entertaining area packed into the 700m block.
More information on the garden and directions »

Denise's Garden
99 Burnbank Way, Mt Barker
Nearly an acre jam-packed back and front with colourful flowering plants, hedges, topiary, vegetable beds, a covered orchard, a chook yard and a collection of lush potted ferns on the veranda.
More information on the garden and directions »

ElderHood House
2 Prospect Road, Pt Lincoln
ElderHood House and its terraced gardens are set in a prime position on a gentle slope overlooking Boston Island, the town jetty and the beautiful bay of Pt Lincoln. The house was built in 1906 of local Duck Pond stone and named for the original owners of the property.
More information on the garden and directions »

Tickle Tank
24 Hill Street, Mt Barker
Cottage perennials, self-seeding annuals mixed with Australian native plants and succulents, many planted in innovative containers, are packed into the compact 450 square metre block.
More information on the garden and directions »

Gardens open 10 am to 4.30 pm.
Entry $8 - OGSA members; $6 - Government concession card holders; children under 18 free.

More information on the 2021 season »
Weather forecasts

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.

TalkBack Gardening tomorrow will be presented by horticulturalist and garden centre manager, Brett Draper.
Guest – Robyn Powell, Tupelo Nursery. Robyn is recognised as one of the state’s top garden and landscape plant authorities.

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
It’s all about citrus now – get them ready for spring!
We’ve got you covered with all that you need. 

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
Well, the grounds are just perfect for planting everything, we have 3 great garden gurus who can help you plan and pick out plants suitable to your area.
We take the guesswork right out of choosing plants for your garden. We are Specialists in Native, cottage, well were experts in it all heheheheeee! so pop on down to Semaphore Pets & Garden Home of Audrey the Alpaca.

Always a great selection of plants, pets and giftware – all under the one roof. Open 7 days.
Facebook »

Barrow & Bench
Barrow & Bench Mitre 10
321 Unley Rd, Malvern. (08) 8272 8566
It’s time to be thinking of citrus gall wasp control.  Plenty of control measures in store, including kaolin clay & horticultural glue.  Joining us in store on Saturday with a fabulous trading table will be the Stirling CWA ladies.  We cant wait to see you.
Specialising in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »

Coming soon

Saturday, October 16
Spring Show, SA Geranium & Pelargonium Society
Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Road, Cowandilla. 9.30 am - 4 pm.
More information »

Saturday & Sunday, October 16 & 17
Goyder Gardens - Burra & Beyond
Stallholders and presenters, workshops, food and music will be a feature in these open gardens, all within an hour's drive of Burra. This year will again focus on amazing diversity in often challenging environmental conditions.
More information »

Saturday & Sunday, October 16 & 17
Anlaby Open Garden
829 Anlaby Road, Hamilton (near Kapunda). With 10 acres to wander, you will be able to immerse yourself in history, Anlaby Station being the oldest Merino sheep studs on mainland Australia.
Web site »  |  Bookings »

Sunday, October 17
North Brighton Community Garden Spring Open Day/Plant Sale
Bowker Oval, 61 Bowker Street, North Brighton. 10am – 2pm. Parking at end of Brimble Street or off Bowker Street. Plant & bake sale, BBQ, coffee van, garden tours, wicking bed demo, children’s workshop. Free entry.

Saturday & Sunday, October 23 & 24
Spring rose show, Rose Society of South Australia Inc
Garden Grove, 1150 Golden Grove Road, Golden Grove. Sat 11 am - 5 pm, Sun 9 am - 5pm.
More information »

Saturday & Sunday, October 23 & 24
Bromeliad Society spring  show and sales extravaganza
Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeanes St, Beverley. Sat 9 am - 3pm), Sun 10 am - 3 pm. Free entry both days.

Saturday, November 6
SA Plant Clubs' Open Day
Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Rd, Cowandilla. Plant sales & supplies. African Violets, carnivorous, cottage garden, scculents, pelargoniums and geraniums. Covid-safe cafe and sausage sizzle. $2 entry.

Saturday, November 6
Show me your garden: Private gardens of Medindie
Meet the Women of Walkerville at the corner of Briar and Willyama Avenues to be given the directions to explore three unique and inspiring Medindie gardens, within easy walking distance of each other, and not normally open to the public. Open 1pm - 3.30 pm. $10 entry.
The Women of Walkerville is a fundraising committee that holds events to raise money for domestic violence causes.
More information »

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 » Facebook »

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 and 2 pm.
More information »

Old Government House, Belair National Park
The former vice-regal summer residence of some of the early governors of South Australia.  An excellent example of Victorian architecture, set amongst one acre of magnificent gardens. Features cottage plants and flowers cultivated in Victorian times, heritage roses and mature trees.
Tours and  afternoon tea on the first and third Sundays each month and public holidays, 1 pm – 4.30 pm. Free entry into Belair National Park if you are visiting OGH - tell the info office staff as you drive in.
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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