From Jon Lamb Communications
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March 5, 2021
Autumn garden guide

So, that was summer

Not a single heatwave was recorded in Adelaide this summer.
Even the heat spikes were limited – just two days with a maximum temperature over 40° C and only 12 occasions when the thermometer exceeded 35° C.
As for rainfall, while an La Nina brought copious falls to the eastern states, in South Australia Adelaide’s rainfall (West Terrace) was only 9 mm above the summer average.
Weather observations, BOM West Terrace (2020 – 2021)
Month Rain (mm) Maximum ºC Minimum ºC
  Average Actual Average Actual Average Actual
December 26.2 18.8 26.9 26.3 15.2 14.4
January 19.8 30.6 28.6 28.9 16.6 16.7
February 20.6 25.8 28.5 27.1 16.9 16.0

Good gardening weather

Overall, it was a good growing season for ornamental trees, crops and fruit trees.
However, periods of well below average temperatures (day and night), particularly during December, affected the pollination, fruit set, size and maturity of many vegetable crops, particularly tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini.

Time to get growing

Early autumn is one of the best times in the year to plant ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit trees, along with a range of cool weather vegetables and herbs.
It is also an ideal time to re-establish the lawn, plant bulbs, propagate softwood cuttings, trim hedges and unruly shrubs, feed winter-flowering plants, establish a splash or two of colour and of course, set up the vegetable and herb garden for a productive winter harvest.

Don’t wait for autumn rains

Traditionally the seasonal break in SA does not occur until the middle of April and often not until mid or late May.
By this stage, soil temperatures have plummeted by around 12oC.  At this level, the growth of many plants has virtually comes to a standstill.

Little chance of heatwaves now

Independent climatologist, Darren Ray believes the likelihood of Adelaide receiving heatwave conditions now is very, very low. 
While temperatures may spike occasionally into the low 30s, newly established plants are easily protected with temporary shading.

Clever landscaping complements an old home

With creative thinking and a wish to re-use plants and materials, garden beds have been shaped around existing trees, creating an informal cottagey feel that is perfect for the old stone home with its rustic verandas and outbuildings.
The garden and its professionally-designed landscape is one of 11 which will be open to the public during the SA Landscape Festival on the weekend of April 10 and 11.
Low hedges are used to edge and add definition to the flower-filled beds. Recycled red brick is used for paving and as a feature to create and frame different areas including a small circular herb garden. 
A pretty garden created on a budget.

Caroline Dawes – Norwood »

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 »


Incorrect plant labelling – is it still a problem?

Last season 56 percent of gardeners taking part in a Good Gardening/ABC Radio TalkBack Gardening survey reported experiencing an incorrect labelling problem with plants they had purchased in the previous season.
To help identify if this is a continuing problem, the survey is being repeated.
If you have purchased plants this growing season your participation in the following survey would be appreciated.
The survey will close next Tuesday, March 9, with the results summarised in Good Gardening on Friday, March 12 and analysed on ABC TalkBack Gardening on Saturday, March 13.

 ✦ Complete the quick survey here »
Feature plantsof the week
Pink Ayoba

More 2021 new-release roses listed

More new roses have been added to the Wagner's Rose Nursery new release list for 2021.
Wagner's is one of Australia’s largest rose growing nurseries.
However, because of the current demand for new roses they recommend gardeners pre-order their selections for delivery during winter,while the roses are dormant.
Two exciting new varieties are:

Pink Ayoba a tough almost evergreen bush rose with striking pink single blooms. This is a great plant for attracting bees and an ideal statement rose when mass planted. The bush is free-flowering with healthy foliage, while its growth is vigorous, disease-resistant and heat-tolerant. Height 120cm.
Pumpkin Patch – The unique colour of this rose almost looks good enough to eat!
The buds are a rich copper, opening into clusters of beautiful orange flowers. Light fragrance.
The bush is upright (125cm) with shiny green leaves. A rose that will always bring joy.
Pumpkin Patch
WAagners Rose Nursery

Good reasons to grow Abelia Lime Splice

Abelia Lime Splice is a small eye-catching shrub that is sure to win hearts.
Its foliage features soft green and cream leaves that sit compactly on bright red stems – with the leaves changing colour with the season.
Small, softly- vanilla- scented, trumpet like flowers appear late in summer, attracting butterflies and other beneficial insects.
Lime Splice produces attractive bushy growth (60 cm high by 90 cm wide) without the need to trim.
This makes it ideal for planting in a rockery, along borders or as a low hedge. Also great for growing in pots or garden beds.
Happy in full sun to part shade and responds well to moderate watering.

Abelia Lime Splice 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.

Blueberries – fresh from your own garden

If the thought of producing sweet ripe blueberries fresh from your own garden has appeal – Blueberry Sunshine Blue is for you.
Sunshine Blue is a compact, hardy blueberry bush that produces masses of full flavoured medium-sized fruits from October through to March.
The fruits are very high in vitamin A and C and they are full of antioxidants.
While the bushes are self fertile, group planting will improve pollination, fruit size and yield.
Blueberries need an acid soil however, Sunshine Blue has reasonable tolerance to high pH in the garden and adapt readily to growing in large containers.
The bushes also have a very low winter chill requirement.

Blueberry Sunshine 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.
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It's change over time            

In many gardens, summer vegetable crops have faded and the strategy is clear – simply remove all spent plants and reinvigorate the soil with well-aged compost and a quality vegetable fertiliser.
You’re now ready to start planting crops that will mature through winter and early spring.
Vegetables planted in March while the ground is warm are likely to produce twice the yield of those established in May when the soil will be much colder.

Out with the old

When removing spent vegetable plants, take as much of their main roots as possible as this will help reduce the carryover of disease.
If your plants include tomatoes, mark their exact growing location.
This will ensure next season’s tomato crop can be grown in fresh soil not contaminated by soil borne diseases.

When the tomato season ends                      

Before removing spent tomato bushes, check their roots for signs of nematodes. 
If there are large numbers of small galls along the roots, you have a problem and tomatoes should not be planted in that spot next year.

Renovate or remove 

There comes a time in most gardens when established trees and particularly shrubs need to be removed or renovated.
There is no hard and fast rule about when a tree (or shrub) is past its “use by date”.
As a general guide, removal is warranted when more than 50% of the branches or canopy is dead, dying or damaged.
Removal is best carried out soon, particularly if the area is to be replanted in winter or early next season. This provides plenty of time to renovate the soil by incorporating large quantities of animal manures and compost.
Irrigation Guide – Antelco

Take control of water flow in the garden

Wanting a simple solution for water diversion and flow control in your irrigation system?
South Australian made Green Back® Valves are perfect as they allow you to control where water goes in your garden.
Green Back® Valves makes it possible to have multiple irrigation systems connected to the one water source.
By installing Green Back Valves at the beginning of your system, you can easily control which section of your garden is being watered.
It also means you can control how long each section receives water.
The end result is much greater control over watering times and this leads to less water wastage.

More information »

Preventing annoying leaks    

The problem of annoying leaks from snap-on and snap together hose and tap fittings is easily solved by replacing the ‘o’ring (readily available from hardware stores). 
If this fails, check the internal plastic lugs.  If they’re bent or broken, it’s beyond repair – buy a new one.

Delay hard pruning

Renovating trees and shrubs by hard pruning is best delayed until winter (deciduous) or spring (evergreen).

Try making your own compost

If you don’t have a compost heap, now while there’s plenty of organic material around is the perfect time to start. 
The secret of making good compost is to make sure the material added to your heap is moist but not soggy wet.
If the material is dry, it should be hosed before it is added to the heap.  Sprinkle a spadeful of soil every 10-15 cm and if it is available you can also add 2-3 cm of soil and litre or two of either animal manure or chicken manure pellets.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Chemical free lawn weed control – is it possible?

Lawn response to the recent rains has been quite rapid.
Lawn grasses are growing vigorously but if you look closely in many lawns a new crop of weeds is starting to appear.
This raises the question – is it possible to control lawn weeds without using chemicals.
In this week’s lawn blog turf consultant Stefan Palm says the answer is yes.
Stefan considers the various alternative strategies but he also points out achieving satisfactory control is not easy.

More information »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Bigger better rose blooms

Trimming rose bushes at this time of the year will stimulate new bud bearing branches into life. 
While each branch that grows is capable of producing a new bloom, the size and quality of these blooms, can be increased significantly by stimulating the plant’s roots with a combination of fertiliser and water.

Time to sow sweet peas

Many gardeners hold back sowing sweet peas until late April or May.
However, if you wait until then soil temperatures will 8 to 10ºC lower, resulting in slower germination, much slower early growth and a significant reduction in the number of early blooms.

Healthy, happy house plants

As summer fades and autumn takes its place, a little TLC will keep your houseplants healthy and looking happy.
Don’t drown them with love. Use the “finger test” and only water if they the soil is dry down to the second knuckle.
Refresh the look of your indoor plants with a quick shower (or outside under the hose) to remove any dust, unclog leaf pores and keep them looking green and glossy
Repot plants that look tired by removing any old brown leaves, get rid of the old potting mix and trim dead or damaged roots.
Then repot them (into a larger pot if need be) using good quality potting mix.
Settle them in with Seasol. Give your indoor plants a boost with PowerFeed Indoor & Potted Plants.
This easy-to-use trigger pack is a convenient ready to use liquid fertiliser and soil conditioner designed for indoor and potted plants. No mixing required, just spray it onto the soil.
More information »

Parsley and friends

Where would we be without garden-grown parsley?  
Most garden centres offer at least two different types of parsley.  These are biennial i.e. grow for two years and then should be replaced. 
Parsley is very easy to grow in a semi-shaded well-drained position. It needs plenty of water during summer. 
Best varieties include
  • Forest green (30 cm). The best of the curly leaf forms.
  • Italian (30 cm).Best of the flat leafed sweet varieties.
  • Native. Spreading ground cover with intense parsley and celery flavours.
  • Japanese (1 m). Strong celery flavour.Ideal for soups and stews.
When buying look for well established plants and repot into a larger container. Harvest stems regularly even if they are not for eating.

Non-hearting lettuce worth a look

Take a look at the wide range of non-hearting lettuce now available as seedlings.
As the name suggests these plants don’t produce a solid heart – simply lots of leaves.
Top lines include Butternut, Cos and Mignonette. (All available with green or red leaves).
At this time of year select seedlings that are well established but not overgrown.
These should be planted (15 cm apart) into a raised bed or planter box.  You should be able to begin harvesting the outer leaves 3 to 4 weeks after transplanting.

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 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.

Independent climatologist Darren Ray provides his special three-month weather outlook for gardeners.

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
In love with variegated plants? Why not consider these stunning beauties that just landed. #Calathea ‘White Fusion’ # Dracanea # Peace Lily
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
While the week heralds autumn, our spring-flowering bulbs have arrived and are ready to plant.  And for those experiencing curl grub issues, we have plenty of Yates Grub Kill & Protect available in store.   
Specialising in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »
Weather forecasts

Coming soon

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 »

Saturday & Sunday, May 8 & 9
Enfield Horticultural Society Autumn Show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Road, Klemzig.  Sat 12 noon - 4 pm. Sun 10 am - 4 pm, Admission $2.  Competitions in cut flowers, bonsai, fruit, home produce, junior sections and floral design.  Plants for sale and a trading table.

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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