From Jon Lamb Communications
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February 26, 2021

Dry weather prevents serious fungal diseases

A quick return to mild, dry weather has averted serious fungal disease damage, activated following widespread rains earlier this month.
Early reports indicated fungal disease on vegetables (powdery mildew), grapes (downy mildew) and roses (black spot).
However, damage appears to be light, particularly where gardeners were quick to apply protective fungicides.
Because fungal spore build-up within these plants is now higher than normal, further rains could result in significant damage.
Gardeners concerned about these diseases should be prepared to apply a protective fungicide as soon as possible after a significant rainfall.

Good Gardening plant label survey

Plant label surveyIncorrect plant labelling was identified in a Good Gardening survey last season, as a significant problem.
Just over 56 percent of gardeners who responded to the survey indicated they had experienced incorrect labelling problems, particularly with tomato plants, but also with  other vegetable seedlings, fruit trees and ornamentals.

Is incorrect plant labelling still a problem?
If you have purchased plants this growing season, particularly tomatoes, your participation in the following Good Gardening survey would be appreciated.
The survey will close on Tuesday March 9, with results summarised in Good Gardening on Friday, March 12 and analysed on ABC Takback Gardening on Saturday, March 13.

 ✦ Complete the quick survey here »

Elegant backyard landscape delivers sustainablity

A mix of water-efficient Mediterranean plants, natural, recycled and local materials blend beautifully to create this classy, yet sustainable back garden.
The garden and its professionally-designed landscape is one of nine which will be open to the public during the SA Landscape Festival on the weekend of April 10 and 11.
The slight slope of the land has been used to advantage to introduce interest through different surface levels with Willunga slate drystone walls retaining the garden beds.
A patio is paved with recycled red brick bordered with the softly toned slate and the meandering brick path leads to a circular stone seat and feature fire bowl.

Dowie Designs – Port Willunga »

Open Saturday & Sunday , April 10 & 11 – 10 am to 4 pm

 ✦  More information and the complete SA Landscape Festival program and ticket purchase here »

Learn how a professional landscaper
can help you »


Not too late to plant tomatoes

Summer is about to merge with autumn but there is still 10 to 12 weeks of good vegetable-growing weather before falling temperatures bring the summer growing season to a close.
If you have a sunny spot, protected from the wind, there is just enough time to grow a select range of quick-maturing, warm-season vegetables.
  • Tomatoes: look for healthy, dark green leaves on established plants that are already producing flowers.
  • Cucumbers and zucchini: plants that have 2 to 3 sets of leaves are ideal. Avoid those where you can see their roots are starting to grow through the drainage holes in their container. (overgrown).
These plants must be grown in full sun and be prepared to protect them from fungal diseases, particularly powdery mildew, that often flare late in autumn.
• Next week a rundown on why winter vegetables should be planted early in autumn.
Feature plantsof the week

A pretty posy of pansies

Pansies are just about the sweetest little flower you can grow.
And why not? They come in a spectrum of vibrant colours awash with patterns and stripes, giving them faces and personality.
Good gardeners know pansies grow best in a sunny position.
However, in warm locations Easy Colour recommend a spot protected from the hot afternoon sun.
In such cases, ensure they have sun for at least half the day, as they can become spindly and won’t flower well in full shade.
At the same time keep the soil moist and well mulched, as their shallow roots can dry out quickly during hot spells.
Mulching also helps insulate the roots and discourages weeds.
Once established, keep the plants moist and well fed.
Pansies look great growing in the garden or in pots, hanging baskets or window boxes.
 Easy Colour Pansies they are easy to identify in distinctive purple cell packs.

TIP: Picking a pretty posy every few days will keep your pansies flowering and in good health.

Easy Colour pansies 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.
Easy Colour

New spreading rose with very dark red petals

Ruby Ribbons is a very interesting new spreading rose.
The blooms are fascinating with petals that are very dark red, with hints of black around some of the edges.
However, the dark colours of the petals are offset by bright centres that feature prominent yellow stamens.
Ruby Ribbons is a compact but spreading bush (60 cm high X 80 cm wide) that will trail down over a low wall or the side of a pot.
When grown on a flat site, the bushes produce an attractive, mounding ground cover effect – without becoming too big.
This is an ideal rose for growing as a groundcover in garden beds or borders.
Mildly scented. Very disease resistant.
Ruby Ribbons is a new release rose that has just been listed at Knights Roses for pre-ordering with delivery during winter.

You can order online here »
Knight's Roses
Knights' 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.

Discovering a sky blue beauty

Blue My Mind is a much improved evolvulus – just waiting to be discovered.
This is a relatively small (30 cm x 30 cm) compact perennial that literally flowers its head off.
The dark sky-blue blooms are quite large (1 to 1.5 cm in diameter), and appear continuously, covering silvery green foliage.
Blue My Mind is happy to perform in sun or semi-shade, while adapting to either container growing or group planting in the garden.
Good drainage is important, as the plants respond quickly to regular watering.
Mulching is recommended as well as a seasonal application of slow release fertiliser.
Frost sensitive.

Proven WinnersBlue My Mind evolvulus 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.

Watering a priority for fruit trees and ornamentals

Despite late January and early February rains, you may be surprised to find how little moisture is left 10 to15 cm below the surface of fruit trees and closely planted ornamentals.
This is where these plants have most of their moisture-absorbing roots.
In many gardens an effective watering program is needed.

As a guide: Fruit trees close to harvest will need 100 to 500 L of water weekly (dwarf 30 to 60 L). Mature ornamentals 100 to 200 L. Roses 20 to 25 L.

Improve the way you water

A recent survey indicates more than 30 percent of home gardeners are still watering recently-established trees and shrubs by bucket or trigger operated hand-gun.
Irrigation trials have shown this is both inefficient and time-consuming.
A better way to improve watering efficiency around relatively small trees (fruit and ornamental) and roses is to surround each plant with a water containing moat that holds 5 to 10 L of water.
This way the water is channelled to the plant’s root zone rather than wasted as it runs across the surface of the soil.
On the other hand, micro irrigation systems were shown to be the most efficient way of watering trees and shrubs once they were well established.

Don’t neglect fruit trees after harvest

Deciduous fruit trees don’t stop growing simply because their crops have been harvested.
As the fruit matures and soon after harvest these trees should be busy establishing fruit buds for the following season.
However, if this season’s crop was heavy it’s likely nutrients stored in the trees, as well as those in the soil, will be at a much lower level than normal.
Unless these are replaced immediately, the quality and size of next season’s crop will be affected.

Action: Spread fertiliser blended specifically for fruit crops under the tree's canopy.
Make sure the fertiliser is not applied to dry soil and after spreading, ensure it is soaked into the top 20 cm of soil.
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Sap-sucking pest populations higher than normal

If you have noticed a significant increase in the number of sap sucking insects in your garden this summer you’re not alone.
Relatively mild conditions over summer have allowed insect pests normally contained by hot weather to survive.
Top of the problem list is scale followed by white fly and mealy bug.
All of these problems are easily contained by spraying affected plants with horticultural oil.

eco-oil is organic, safe and effective

eco-oil is a certified organic insecticide that controls sap-sucking pests like scale, aphids, mites, whitefly, mealybugs and citrus leaf miner. 
It’s made from natural plant ingredients and can be safely used on edible plants with no withholding period. 
Importantly eco-oil is safe for bees and other good insects. 
In fact, the special formulation will actively attract predatory insects, like ladybeetles, to feast on any residual pests.

eco-oil is available from hardware stores, nurseries, supermarkets and online »
eco organic garden
The full range of eco organic garden products and advice is here »

Make room for a lemon

Lemons are deservedly SA’s most popular home garden fruit tree.
A healthy tree will produce fruit all year round if it is trimmed regularly.
Apart from severe frost, lemon trees adapt well to a wide range of climates and soil conditions.

Good time to grow daphne   

Some people find propagating daphne difficult but cuttings taken in the next few weeks should have a good chance of striking.
Place 5-7 cm length cuttings in a mixture of three parts coarse sand (or perlite) to one part propagating coir.
Place in a shady, well lighted location.
Keep the mix moist to prevent the leaves from dehydrating by covering the container and the cuttings with a ventilated plastic bag.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

When kikuyu invades your lawn

In South Australia kikuyu grass is recognised for its ability to produce a vigorous, hard-wearing, heat and drought-tolerant lawn.
But because of its vigour it can also be invasive, particularly if it begins to grow in a couch or buffalo lawn.
When this occurs lawn consultant Stefan Palm says trying to get rid of kikuyu grass can pose major problems.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan explains how kikuyu grass can end up in your lawn and why it is so hard to control.
Stefan also considers the options available to control or at least contain the invasion.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Tip prune vigorous fruiting vegetables

In many gardens, cucumbers, melons and pumpkins are making strong, vigorous growth, but the fruits they have produced are small and growing slowly.
Try removing 5-10cm of tip growth from the main runners. 
This will encourage the plants to divert much of their tip growth energy into increasing fruit size.

Light levels critical for healthy house plants

The secret to growing your own houseplants successfully is closely linked to selecting plants suited to the available light. 
New houses with large living room windows usually provide enough light to grow most popular indoor plants. 
On the other hand, the light shining through traditional small windows (usually found in older houses) is often restricted. 
While most indoor plants will grow within half a metre of a traditional windowsill, plants located away from this light will need to be selected from a small group recognised for their low light tolerance.

Two stand out performers for both bright and poor light include:
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum). Large glossy dark green leaves. In bright light, it produces a white sail-like flower. Very tolerant of poor light.
  • Dracaena (green leaf forms). Often called Happy plant. Large long strap-like leaves. Tolerates good and poor light. Very easy to grow but don’t overwater in winter.

Try splashes of autumn colour

Autumn and winter-flowering annuals don’t have to be planted in endless rows to create a spectacular effect.
Try planting three or five seedlings close together but scattered around the garden.
Look for gaps between shrubs that receive 4 to 6 hours of sun during the day.
If you work away from home, consider a small planting of long-flowering pansies or violas in a large container or planter box,  located just inside the front gate.
This way you will have a splash of colour to brighten your day as you leave for work and say welcome on your return.

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.

Open GardensOpen Gardens SA

Saturday & Sunday, February 27 & 28
Tropical Barossa
5 Third Ave, Tanunda
A series of individual yet connected spaces decorated and planted to create an oasis-like, tropical-style garden.

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.

Stephen Hoffna from Wagtail Urban Farm provides good reasons to plant winter vegetables early in autumn and how to reward fruit trees after harvest.

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
Sometimes choosing garden décor can be daunting – not anymore!
Check out our gorgeous new range of your favourite Australian native animals. There is something for everyone.
See you this weekend!

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
CONGRATULATIONS to  all our sensational Semaphore Pets & Garden crew.
We won the Nursery and Garden Industry's award for Best Boutique Nursery in SA.
Thank You, Christina, Martin, Deb, Sarah, Alice, James, Will and Jaquie. We do what we love and we love what we do and it shows! What a great team. Thanks from Nadine & Steve
Always 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
New season's garlic cloves available in store and ready for planting in their forever homes.  These quality cloves are grown right here in SA.   
Pop them in now and harvest later in the year.

Specialising in providing quality plants and expert garden advice.
Follow the Instagram feed »

Coming soon

February in the Botanic Gardens
Including Sunday and Tuesday gardening workshops.
Full details »

Saturday & Sunday, March 27 & 28
Bromeliad Society Annual  Show and Sales Extravaganza
Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeanes St, Beverley. Sat 9am - 3pm, Sun 10am- 3pm. Free entry both days.

Saturday & Sunday, April 10 &11
Autumn Plant Sale - Australian Plants Society (SA Region)
Adelaide Showgrounds, Wayville. More information »

Saturday & Sunday, April 10 & 11
Barossa Rose & Flower Show
Rose Society of SA. Sat noon to 5.30 pm, Sun 9 am - 5.00 pm.Barossa Nursery, 3186 Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa.

Saturday & Sunday, April 17 & 18
Rose Society of South Australia Autumn Rose Show
Sat 10 am - 4 pm, Sun 10 am - 4 pm. Noel Lothian Hall, Adelaide Botanic Garden.

People Choice Rose Trial Gardens 2021
Adelaide Rose Trial Gardens, Adelaide Botanic Garden, 10 am - 4 pm both days.

Saturday & Sunday, April 24 & 25
Festival of Flowers
St Pauls College, 792 Grand Junction Road, Gillies Plains.
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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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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