From Jon Lamb Communications
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September 24, 2021

Cherry tomatoes a safe bet for beginners

If you’re planning to grow tomatoes for the very first time this season, choose a cherry tomato.
Use an organic fertiliser, both before and after you plant, and be prepared to shade your plants from hot weather during the heat of summer. 
These three factors are important findings from successful gardeners who took part in last season’s Good Gardening end-of-tomato-season survey.

Hot weather ahead

Cherry tomatoes are highly prized for their ability to produce a constant supply of bite-size, sweet tasting fruit over an extended period.
They also have excellent resistance to disease.
However, during the past two seasons, summer heat waves have had a devastating effect on tomato crops and it has been the cherry tomatoes' tolerance to extreme heat that puts them at the top of the variety performance list.
Top rated cherry tomatoes include:
Sweet Bite, Tommy Toe, Black cherry, Green Grape and Lemon Drop.

Other top-rated tomatoes:
Traditional: Mighty Red, Roma, Apollo.
Heritage: Black Russian, Tigerella, Green Zebra and Aimish Paste.
During October Good Gardening will publish short summaries from recent end-of-tomato-season surveys, highlighting essential elements needed to achieve a successful tomato harvest.

Soil temperature update

Topsoil temperatures across Adelaide yesterday were only 1ºC below the recommended tomato planting temperature of 16ºC.
Don't be surprised if we pass this level next week. But will temperatures remain there?

Mystery rose aphid invasion

In some gardens there is not an aphid to be seen, while in others rose bush tips are completely smothered.
In most years, small numbers of these soft-bodied, green, sap-sucking insects move onto bushes during September.
Once established they quickly multiply, completely covering new tip growth and often developing flower buds.

Aversion to rain

Aphids don’t like the rain and during a wet spring, each time they move onto a bush, they are often washed away before they have timed to colonise.

Possible fertiliser link

Observation indicates there could also be an important link to the way roses are fertilised.
Evidence is suggesting bushes that are fertilised organically – or not overstimulated with nitrogen fertiliser – are less likely to be seriously infested with aphids.
If aphid populations do build rapidly, they are easily dislodged by squirting the tip growth with water. 
Garden predators should then take control.  These include ladybirds, hover flies and particularly a parasitic fly that turns each aphid into a bronze-coloured mummy.
Where spraying is warranted, spray (tip growth only) with Pest Oil or eco-oil but not an insecticide.

New season roses starting to bloom

Roses growing across South Australia are starting to bloom, stimulating many gardeners into thinking seriously about planting new potted roses in the season ahead.
At Knight's Roses the sale of bagged roses is now complete. However, potted roses will be available from mid-October.
Meanwhile, Dan Knight has selected two very different roses for this week’s newsletter.


This is a top shrub rose or compact climber. The flowers are dark copper-orange, large and appear in small clusters.
These are long-lasting, with the blooms varying in color from dark copper orange to bright peach.
The blooms also have a moderate fruity fragrance while the bush has outstanding disease resistance. Height 250cm.

Dan Poncet

Plump and chubby flowers painted in crimson pink grow at the base of its bushy branches, covered with various shades of dark green foliage.  
Pointed petals could nearly be mistaken for dahlias lost on unusual stems, although the illusion disappears as soon as you approach this rose, as the scent of its flowers remind us of its noble origins.
Height 80 -100 cm.
Dan Poncet
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.

Season for slugs and snails   

Slugs and snails are enjoying a very favourable breeding season and over the next few weeks damage in many gardens is likely to be high.
Fortunately, both are attracted to the smell of beer and are easily trapped (50 – 50 beer and water).
Position a straight-sided container half filled with beer so that 2 cm of the container remains above ground level.
This will prevent beetles, spiders and other beneficial insects from being caught.
Remove drowned critters and top up the beer regularly.

Trap and collect  

A timber plank placed where slugs and snails feed, raised 2-3 cm off the ground, will provide a hiding place for slugs and snails. 
Removing the critters regularly for two to three weeks is a very effective way of reducing the population.
Feature plantsof the week

Sedums are quite amazing

Gardeners joke that only a stone needs less care and lives longer than a sedum.
Sedums are available in an amazing range of shapes, colours and sizes. They are extremely drought tolerant and quite suitable for adding to almost any garden design.
Whether you’re looking for a creeping or groundcover type of sedum or an upright plant to attract bees and butterflies, they offer an amazing range of leaf colours, flowers and forms.
Sedums are hardy, easy to care for and thrive in poor, free-draining sandy soil. But they can be susceptible to root rot in soils that hold too much moisture.
The best time to plant sedums is in spring – after the threat of frost but before the heat of summer kicks in.
During summer check plants are not too dry and water sparingly if needed.
After flowering, cut back the plants to maintain their shape or contain them in one area.
You will find Easy Colour’s selection of “easy to care for sedums in distinctive 4 cell purple packs.

Easy ColourEasy Colour sedums 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.
Calceolaria Sunny Walker Orange

What an amazing flower

It’s called Calceolaria Sunny Walker Orange.
The flower colours are vibrant, the petals are ball shaped and it is one of the few plants that are more than happy to produce their blooms in shaded or semi-shaded gardens.
Calceolaria Sunny Walker Orange has been selected for its ability to perform in decorator pots or hanging baskets and is ideally suited to growing in a protected courtyard or patio.
While the flowers are striking, they are backed by a canopy of deep green leaves.
Calceolaria are cool weather plants but adapt well to South Australian conditions, given protection from afternoon sun during hot weather.
Keep the potting mix moist, particularly during warm weather but don’t over water

Proven WinnersCalceolaria Sunny Walker Orange are in stock at Heyne's Garden Centre, Beulah Park, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other centres.

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.

Growing vegies in a courtyard garden

Before deciding on which vegetables you would like to grow, consider two critical factors – sun and shade.
Take particular note of how the position of the sun is continually changing.
It is likely the locations available for growing vegetables are in full sun for part of the day and shade during other times.

Sunshine is essential

Summer vegetables that produce edible fruits (or seeds) need a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day if they are to produce worthwhile yields.
On the other hand, recent South Australia experience has shown that most sun-loving summer vegetables will suffer less heat stress if they are protected with some form of light shading – 50 percent white shade cloth during January and February.
The amount of both sun and shade these locations receive will have a big bearing on the type of vegetables you are able to grow.

No need to rush         

Tomatoes, cucumbers and other warm season vegetables planted as seedlings during mid-October will mature as quickly and often out-yield those established early in September.
Mid October planting will also reduce the risk of your plants being attacked by early season fungal diseases.
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Reducing seedling transplant shock

When next you buy vegetable, herb or flower seedlings in punnets take a little time out to reduce the trauma of seedling transplant shock before you start planting.
Soak the plants while still in their punnets for at least 10 minutes in a seaweed solution.
Then allow them to drain in the shade for an hour or two.
Seaweed (liquid or powder) stimulates plant activity and increases their ability to cope with stress.
How you treat seedlings just before and immediately after planting can have a big bearing on their success.

Moving evergreen plants without stress

Moving small and medium size well-established, evergreen trees is quite possible, although it runs the risk of transplant shock.
If possible, move your plants soon (over the next 2 to 3 weeks) as this will keep damage to the existing root system to a minimum.
It will also mean the developing network of roots beneath the tree's canopy will have plenty of time to expand before having to cope with the stresses of summer.

Moving small and medium trees

  • Determine the size of the root ball and mark out a circle around the plant’s trunk
  • Use a spade to cut around the circle to the required depth
  • Work around the circle, a spade width at a time, to loosen the root ball
  • Lift the root ball (carefully) without disturbing the roots and place it on a large piece of shade cloth or material suitable for moving to its new location

Also worth considering

  • Reduce the canopy of your plant by 20% after moving.
  • Consider forming a basin around the plant to improve watering.
  • Add a seaweed solution (fortnightly) when watering.
  • Cover the root ball with a 2 to 3 cm layer of mulch.
  • Spray the plants foliage after pruning with an anti-transplant (Drought Shield).
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns
The chart illustrates how these two forms of fertiliser act on your lawn »

Fertilising the lawn – liquid or solid?

Lawns have started to produce their normal flush of spring growth and soon it will be time to set them up for the season ahead with an application of fertiliser.
While it has been traditional to use a solid or granular fertiliser on the lawn, a visit to your local garden centre will reveal a growing range of liquid lawn fertilisers.
This raises the question – what’s the difference between a liquid and solid fertiliser – particularly in terms of their value to the lawn.
As lawn consultant Stefan Palm points out in this week’s lawn blog, liquid and solid fertilisers both contain the right blend of nutrients.
But there is a very big difference in how they affect your lawn's growth.
Stefan also comments on which type of fertiliser you might choose to use.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Small weeds easier to control

Time is rapidly running out if you want to control weeds in the garden while they are small and easy to remove.
While weed populations in many gardens are much higher than normal, cold, showery weather has slowed their growth, resulting in weeds with relatively shallow root systems.
This makes them much easier to control by either cultivation or spraying.
However, a sustained period of warm weather in the next two weeks will stimulate rapid growth making the weeds much harder to control.

If you use a weedicide choose a calm day, as spray drift may cause serious problems to neighbouring plants.  If possible, spray in the morning.

Mulch now to save soil moisture

Covering the ground with a 2 to 3 cm layer of an organic mulch after planting out vegetable or flowers seedlings can reduce soil moisture lost (through evaporation) by 60% (often more).
It also means every time the garden receives more than a few millimetres of rain (needed to soak through the mulch) most of it will stay in the topsoil, where it is readily accessible to the roots of garden plants.
Even better, when you irrigate the garden, water you have paid for is not wasted.

Orchids on show

Its peak flowering season for popular orchids and this Saturday members of the SA Orchid Club will have some of their best blooms on display.
This is a one day only show and will be staged at the Enfield Community Centre, 540 Regency Road, Enfield.

Re-potting orchids            

Cymbidium orchids should be re-potted as soon as flowering spikes have died down.
Established plants that did not flower should be re-potted or divided in the next few weeks. 
Use a chunky bark or very coarse potting mix to ensure very good drainage.

Removing deadwood from citrus        

Citrus often become woody as they mature, particularly near the centre of the tree. 
Now is a good time to remove this deadwood and at the same time thin out some of the branches. 
This will allow more light to penetrate and increase the tree’s cropping potential. 
Hold off a few more weeks if you’re in a frost-prone area.
Saturday, September 25
Gawler and Districts Orchid Clubs spring show
Hollywood Shopping Plaza in Parafield Gardens. Trading table with mixed genera of orchids for sale
Open shopping centre hours, 7.30 am - 9 pm, Saturday 7.30 am - 5 pm.

Orchid Club of SA spring show
Enfield Community Centre, 540 Regency Road, Enfield.
Plants, accessories  & potting demonstrations. Entry $5

Saturday & Sunday, September 25 & 26
South Coast Orchid Club of SA spring show
Seaford Central Shopping Centre, Commercial Rd, Seaford. Shopping centre hours. Trading table with a range of orchid plants for sale – cymbidiums, Australian natives, phalaenopsis. Fact sheets available.

Sunday, September 26
Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide plant sale
Chris Steele Scott Pavilion, Mt. Lofty Botanic Garden, just south of the lower carpark off Lampert Road, Piccadilly, 10.30 am - 2.30 pm.
Details of the plants available will be on the website »

Stangate Garden open days
3 Edgeware Road, Aldgate. Open every fourth Sunday of the month.
September 26, 10 am – 4 pm (to coincide with Camellia Society open day); Sunday, 24 October 24, 10 am – 2 pm; Sunday, November 28, 10 am – 2 pm.
More information »

Open GardensOpen Gardens SA

Saturday & Sunday, September 25 & 26
Working Person's Garden
11 Ringmer Drive, Burnside
Belonging to landscape architect James Hayter, the Working Person's Garden is a chance to see a professional at play as he experiments with signature materials like corten steel and natural timbers to create a modern outdoor living space suited to our climate and the character of the location.
More information on the garden and directions »

Sunday, September 26
Marybank Farm
404 Montacute Road, Rostrevor
Marybank Farm sits on the hills face with views through massive old red gums to Adelaide. Both the picturesque Georgian style house, built in 1842, and the very old garden are heritage listed.
Please note: opening Sunday only.
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.

Ian Tolley, Riverland citrus authority will focus on “Citrus for beginners” and “Bringing old citrus trees back into full production”.  
Plus: Advice from Trevor Garard, SA Orchid Club, on expanding your orchid collection.

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
Spring has sprung! Now is the perfect time to freshen up your garden patch and pop in some tomatoes. Basil is also in store now.
Come and check out our range 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
Does anyone hear Jingle Bells?....hehehehe! Well believe it or not it's closer than you think. Let's focus on shopping locally, we have so many amazing Christmas gifts that have arrived early. 
We have everyone in the family covered and we even have lots of groovy gifts for Dad. So before you press the online button check out your locally family-owned garden centres – you'll be surprised at all the goodies you will find.

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
For citrus gall wasp control think Barrow & Bench Mitre10.  Good supplies of kaolin clay in small and large containers; plenty of eco-oil and horticultural glue, as well as caged insect traps.  
If pretty blooms and lovely edibles are your thing you will find loads in store this week.

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

Coming soon

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. Site of a magnificent mural painted by artist Joel Plevin. All welcome.

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

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 »

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.

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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