From Jon Lamb Communications
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July 26, 2019

Rose pruning – time running out

Time is rapidly running out if you have yet to prune your roses.
Rose bushes in many gardens are still holding last season’s leaves but they are now starting to break bud.
While pruning after bud burst is possible, it is not recommended.

   Pruning Pointers   
Pruning roses - where to start

If you have never pruned a bush rose before, try the 50/50 method. 
This involves removing 50 percent of the existing branches and then cutting the remaining branches back by 50 percent. 
That’s it.  Clean up the mess and walk away. 
While the 50/50 method of pruning is not perfect, it will get you started.
If the bushes are healthy you can expect a magnificent display of blooms in spring.

Landscape roses

These bushes are very vigorous and will go berserk if pruned too hard.  Trim 20 to 30 percent of the top growth with hedge clippers.

Old fashioned roses

By nature, they are not usually very vigorous and only flower in spring.  Go easy, hard pruning will remove the flowers.  Try trimming lightly after flowering.


Start by removing any dead or weak branches.
Next, thin out branches cluttering the centre of the bush.
Trim the remaining branches by a third. If possible, cut to an outside bud.

Water shoots are not suckers

A healthy rose bush will often send out ‘water shoots’.  These are long, vigorous shoots that develop very close to the base of the bush but above where they have been budded. 
They should not be pruned now. Wait until after spring flowering and trim lightly.
Water shoots are easily confused with suckers.
Water shoots are valuable whereas suckers should be removed as soon as possible; otherwise they will divert energy and vigour away from the main branches.
Feature plant

Happy Wanderer flowering now

The Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea) is a great “look at me” plant with its bright purple, pea-shaped flowers appearing in long racemes through the winter months.
If you buy a plant now, it will happily remain in a container for a year or so.
Alternatively, it can be transplanted into the garden after flowering.

It's time to prepare for tomatoes

If you are serious about growing tomatoes this season, your likelihood of success can be increased considerably by burying compost and animal manures including chicken manure pellets, in a 30-40cm deep trench backfilled with 15-20cm of soil.
This will provide the plants with ready access to slow release nutrients over an extended period. 
The organic material will also play an important role in providing the plants with additional moisture during the summer months.

Colour your pink hydrangeas blue

How would you like to change the flower colour of your hydrangeas?
Hydrangea flower colour is largely determined by the pH of the soil around the plant’s roots.
In the Adelaide Hills the soils are generally acid and as a result the blooms are blue. Soils across the suburbs are mainly alkaline and so the blooms are pink.

To produce pink flowers:

Add half a cup of garden lime to the plant’s root system in late autumn and again in early spring.  If the plants are in containers, use one tablespoon of lime to 10 litres of potting mix (10 litres should fill a typical 30cm diameter container).
You may have to use three or four applications if the soil is very acid, but if the leaves start to turn yellow, stop the treatment and apply iron chelates - both to the leaves and root system as the change in pH is locking up the plant’s supply of iron.

For blue flower heads:

In neutral to slightly alkaline soil, use a proprietary hydrangea blueing product (from garden centres) mixed according to directions.
Changing flower colour is easily achieved if your soil is only slightly acid or slightly alkaline. 
However, it is very difficult when the pH is at either extreme.  Your best bet in this case is to grow your plants in containers. This way you are in charge of the potting mix and the materials you add.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm
Birds pulling up lawn

Big-bird lawn damage mystery solved

Are big birds starting to destroy sections of your lawn?
If the birds look like parrots, galahs or cockatoos, you are not alone.
Numerous reports received by SA turf advisor Stefan Palm indicate these birds are extremely destructive and their activities are quite relentless.
If you think they are searching for lawn grubs and other meaty critters, it’s likely you are quite wrong.
Stefan has followed up on many of the reports and you may be surprised at why the birds are so destructive and why they have a preference for Kikuyu lawns.

More information on Stefan's blog here »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Keep indoor cyclamen cool

Cyclamen can provide colour right through winter, given the right conditions. 
Choose a well lit room and place the container as close as possible to the window. 
The golden rule is to keep the plants cool, particularly at night time.  If you leave them inside at night time when the air conditioner or heater is turned on, they will quickly deteriorate.
It may sound strange, but if you keep your plants inside during the day, the best thing you can do is to put them outside on the patio or veranda at night. 
Keep the potting mix just moist, but not soggy wet.

Houseplants in winter

When the tips of your indoor plants turn black or brown, suspect overwatering.  If this is not the problem, then it is likely to be lack of humidity, particularly if there is a heater in the room. 
Misting the leaves with water once or twice a day can make a big difference.
Use tepid water on your house plants. 
Cold water may encourage root rots.  Wait until the top few centimetres of soil is completely dry before watering during winter.

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 Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday – phone me and Deb Tribe on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

Guest – Jon Hall, camellia authority.
Topic – Camellias for containers and small courtyard gardens.
Weekend gardening weather

Coming soon

Sunday, August 4
Northern Yorke Peninsula – Australian Plants Society
Community open day. Advice on plant selection, establishing a native garden.
10 am – 2 pm, 1866 South Terrace, Kadina. Free entry, free raffle, plant sales.

Saturday & Sunday, August 10, 11
Annual Camellia Show, Camellias South Australia annual show
Carrick Hill, 46 Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield. Sat. 12noon - 4 pm; Sun. 10. am - 4 pm
Quality plants for sale. Free admission to the show & Carrick Hill grounds.

Saturday & Sunday, September 7, 8
Enfield Horticultural Society Spring Show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Road, Klemzig. 12 - 5 pm Sat, 10 am - 4 pm Sun. Admission $2. More information 8251 2299.

Saturday, September 21
Spring Garden Festival, Mount Pleasant
Stalls featuring quality plants, garden furniture, decor and garden-care products.
Showgrounds, Melrose Street. 8 am - 3 pm. $5 entry, concession $3, child under 15 free.
More information »

Saturday & Sunday, October 12, 13
Spring Expo – Native Flower Display & Plant Sale
Australian Plants Society (SA Region). Adelaide Showgrounds. Sat.10 am - 4 pm; Sun. 10 am - 3 pm.

Saturday & Sunday, October 19, 20
SA Geranium and Pelargonium Society spring show
Payneham Library complex, corner O.G. Road and Turner Street, Felixstow. Plant sales & display. Entry $3.

Burra Spring Garden Expo and Open Gardens
More information »

Saturday & Sunday, October 26, 27
Rose Society of SA Spring Rose Show – Roses are Red
Burnside Community Centre, corner of Portrush and Greenhill Roads Tusmore.
To be officially opened by the President of the World Federation of Rose Societies, Henrianne de Briey, 3 pm Saturday afternoon.
Competitive rose classes in Australian Championships and World Federation of Rose Societies classes, lectures, floral demonstration,trading tables - gifts, plants, rose growing information, including “Identify your rose”. Entry $5.
Full program here »

Sunday, November 10
Art and Roses at The Cedars
Heysen Road, Hahndorf. An exclusive one-day celebration of  spring in the garden of the renowned father and daughter artists Sir Hans and Nora Heysen. Featuring reproductions with real flowers of the artists' still life works, display of heritage roses, talks on art and blooms.
10 am - 6 pm. $15 (children under 15 free) Includes entry to the garden, house and studios.

Regular garden attractions

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 »

The 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 »

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 »

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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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