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Spring garden guide - download
September 4, 2020

Where are you rain?

Apprehension is growing that predicted above-average spring rainfall may not materialise.
Weather models suggest Adelaide’s rainfall during the first half of September will be quite light but is likely to build during the second half of the month. 
Meanwhile, the latest BOM Climate Outlook is still confidently predicting the formation of La Niña, resulting in above-average spring rains. 

For the record: If you thought winter was dry – you’re right. Adelaide only recorded 125mm compared with its winter average of 199 mm.
Day temperatures were very close to average (15.6° C), but if you felt cold at night that’s not surprising, minimum temperatures were a good half a degree below average (8° C).

Soil temperatures are starting to rise and are currently fluctuating between 13 and 14° C – an increase of 2° C on last week.

When tomato planting simply can’t wait 

If you can’t wait to plant a tomato or two, buy a few well-established seedlings in small containers, re-pot into slightly larger containers and encourage early growth by placing in a warm, protected location.
You should be rewarded with strong vigorous plants ready for planting into the garden (or large planter containers) by the end of September.

Big benefits in mulching young roses

As temperatures start to rise, many gardeners are starting to think seriously about mulching.
As an avid rose grower and manager of one of Australia’s largest rose growing nurseries, Brian Wagner is a strong believer in the benefits of mulching, particularly new roses as they become established.
However, Brian is also aware of the problems that can confront gardeners when mulching is not carried out correctly.
In this short video Brian considers the different types of mulch available for spreading around roses, explains how they should be applied and provides some excellent tips on mulching newly established roses so you avoid some of the potential problems.

View video now »
WAagners Rose Nursery

Fertiliser program for roses 

If you haven’t fed your roses since autumn, do it soon.
Choose a fertiliser blended specifically for roses or one that contains a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash.
This information will be in fine print on the side of the product container.
Fertilisers with a high potash content are very effective in reducing disease problems, while improving flower quality.
Feature plantsof the week

Lavenders make a sensational display

Sensation Lavenders are stunning – they produce magnificent flower spikes adorned with showy bracts or “wings”.
The flower spikes are held high above aromatic, silver grey foliage through autumn, winter and spring.
The plants are bushy but compact and upright, growing to around 75 cm.
Sensation Lavenders were bred in Australia to thrive in our hot, and at times, humid weather.
Tolerance to dry conditions is excellent, they are very water wise while and their need for maintenance is low.
Sensation Lavenders are ideal for group planting in the garden.
However, they adapt well to container growing and would be a good choice when used as a low garden hedge.
Colours in the Sensation series include; blue, pink and purple.

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

Great colour from Elite Ivy Geraniums

For a long-lasting display of colour on big, bold, double blooms, consider the latest series of Elite Ivy Geraniums.
The blooms appear in clusters and are held well above attractive glossy green, ivy-like leaves.
Elite Ivy Geraniums have a pleasant spreading or cascading habit (75 cm), making them ideal for growing as a small climber or a mounding groundcover.
Plant them in full sun or part shade in pots, hanging baskets, window boxes or in garden beds, using a small trellis to give them support.
They also look great flowing over the edge of a rockery.
Elite Ivy Geraniums respond well to regular watering – but allow the plants to dry out a little in between.
Use an organic fertiliser at the beginning of each growing season and trim off old flowers to allow new buds to push through.
Colours in the Elite Ivy Geranium series include, pink, burgundy, dark red, lavender and white.

Elite seriesElite Ivy Geraniums are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood , Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.
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Try growing vegetables and flowers from seed      

Growing your own vegetables or flowers from seed is not difficult. 
Apart from being cheaper than buying seedlings, you also have a much wider range of plants to select from.
Germinating seed in spring is usually not a problem. 
In fact, you may be surprised at how quickly and how readily the seeds germinate and begin to grow.

Sowing seeds in containers

The key to good seed germination, particularly in a container, is to keep the potting mix moist but not wet. 
To achieve this, fill your containers with a quality seed raising mix or, even better, buy a small block of seed raising coir (premium grade coconut coir blended specifically for seed raising). 
These materials (once moistened) retain their moisture but allow large quantities of air movement in between the particles.
Garden soil should not be used as it drains poorly and may contain root-destroying diseases. .
When only a small number of plants are required, it is worth growing your plants in individual containers i.e. small 10 cm plastic pots. 
Small yoghurt containers with drainage holes added are quite suitable.
Irrigation Guide – Antelco

Time to check your garden's irrigation system

As we come out of a cold winter it is time to start thinking about the warmer season ahead and preparing your irrigation system for watering your garden.

Follow these simple steps to check out your irrigation system »

Try adding some soil magic  

Simply adding compost to your container plants over the next few weeks can revitalise them for the season ahead.
At the same time compost, which is essentially decomposed plant materials, will dramatically boost the population of beneficial soil microbes and significantly improve the health and structure of the soil they are growing in.
The benefits are many:
  • Stronger plants: Greater tolerance to heat stress, plant disease and attack from insect pests.
  • Healthier potting mix: Stronger root growth, better plant growth, reduced need for water and fertiliser.
  • Plus: For those growing fruit and vegetables in containers or raised garden beds there is also the potential for higher yields, with a significant improvement in harvest quality.

Putting compost to work

The key to revitalising container grown plants using compost is to spread the material over the surface of the container and then incorporate it into the top centimetre or so of media.
This repositions the humus and, in particular, the microbes they contain so they are closer to the plant’s root zone – where they can be of maximum value.
While many gardeners make their own compost, thanks to a very effective green waste recycling program it is now possible to buy quality composts and soil improvers in 25 to 30 litre bags from your local garden centre or by the trailer load via landscape supply yards.
Seasol Gold

New Seasol Gold delivers extra punch

Seasol Gold is a unique new, patented formulation of Seasol, with calcium and other essential elements added to boost the efficiency and benefits of seaweed to plants, lawns and garden soils.
Seasol Gold is a premium liquid that goes to work immediately, promoting healthy, robust growth while stimulating flowering.
This results in better blooms, improved fruit development and delicious bumper crops.
Seasol Gold helps provide an extra boost to plants during the growing season by rapidly promoting stronger root development and plant establishment.
It also improves the ability of plants to cope with environmental stressors, such as heat, drought, frost, pests and diseases.
The release of Seasol Gold into the home garden market follows the company's research and development in the commercial field, involving Seasol plus calcium.
In the field, Seasol Gold/Seasol plus calcium has shown to benefit a range of fruiting crops, especially vegetables particularly tomatoes vegetables, bananas, nuts and cereals.
These trials showed improvement in plant growth, fruit yields and quality and soil properties.

More information »

Remedy for oranges with thick skin

If the navel oranges you harvested this season had a thicker than normal skin, it is likely your  trees were suffering from a nutrient imbalance, probably too much nitrogen (often from animal manures) and not enough phosphorus.
Consider starting a fertiliser program this spring using fertilisers blended specifically for citrus.
These contain all of the main elements citrus need, but in the right balance. 
Establish a feeding program where you apply three applications of citrus fertiliser through the main growing period i.e. September, December and March.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns
Spraying spring lawn weeds

Spring lawn weeds are on their way

Winter may have been cold and showery but for cold-season weeds these conditions have been ideal, resulting in Triffid-like growth.
It raises the question – what can we expect in the season ahead, particularly for weeds that are likely to invade the lawn?
Turf advisor Stefan Palm expects winter grass and soursobs will soon disappear.
But their place is already being taken by a range of warm-season weeds.
In this week’s lawn blog, Stefan provides some great information that will help you identify which type of weed is invading your lawn, along with some practical advice on their control.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Beer attracts slugs and snails

Because slugs and snails are attracted to the smell of beer, they are easily trapped.
Position a straight-sided container (half filled with beer) so that 2 cm remain above ground level.
This will prevent beetles, spiders and other predatory insects from falling into the brew.  
However, to be effective you need to remove drowned snails and top up the beer regularly.

Grow your own sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are quite easy to grow but they need full sun, plenty of room and they have a very long growing season (five months).
Start early in September by putting tubers (from greengrocers) in a sandbox filled with just moist sand covered with glass.
Place in a warm position to sprout new “slips”.
When the slips are 15 cm long remove the top 5 cm.
Plant out into the garden when soil temperatures are 16 to 18° C

Skimming a cure for early spring weeds

It is only the beginning of spring but in many gardens weed growth is already quite rampant.
However, the plants are very soft and easily removed. 
Try skimming affected areas very close to the surface with a spade. 
A paint scraper with a long narrow metal blade (15cm long and 4 to 6 cm wide) works well if you don’t mind working on your hands and knees.

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

Talkback Gardening podcastsABC Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday, 8.30 am to 10 am – phone me and Deb Tribe on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

The weather outlook:

Can SA gardeners still expect above-average rains this spring?
Make sure you listen to what SA’s independent climatologist Darren Ray has to say, when he presents his three-month weather outlook for gardeners.
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
Seeds are for sowing! Check out our gorgeous seed packs that have just landed!
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 are saying thank you to all the dogs and cats out there for being amazing companions and helping us humans stay sane through COVID.  Send your human companion in to collect a yummy sample of Ivory Coat food.
We always have 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
Springing into spring with colour and edible favourites this week.  Plenty of flowering annuals, dahlias, potted perennials, summer veggies and beautiful citrus trees all available.
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »

Coming soon

Saturday, September 12
Port Augusta Garden Club plant sale
10 am - 12 noon, Garden Club Hall,  Elizabeth Terrace, Port Augusta.  A display of 'Garden in a Bag' will be on show.

Saturday & Sunday, September 12 &13
Australian Native Plants Sale
Jubilee Pavilion, Adelaide Showgrounds. Sat 10 am - 4 pm; Sun 10 am - 3 pm.
A list of plants available will be on the Australian Plants Society website the week before the sale »

Saturday, September 19
Orchid Club of SA Spring Show
Plants and acessories for sale, potting demonstrations. 10 am - 4 pm, $5 entry. Enfield Community Centre, 540 Regency Rd, Enfield.

Sunday, September 20
Marino Community Garden annual fundraiser
5 Newland Avenue, Marino. 10 am - 2 pm.

Saturday, October 24
Begonia and Fern Spring Show 2020
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd.

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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