From Jon Lamb Communications
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February 14, 2020

Incorrect plant labelling problem identified

Incorrect plant labelling may be a significant problem for South Australia’s garden industry.
Just over 56 percent of gardeners who responded to the Good Gardening newsletter/ABC radio TalkBack Gardening plant labelling survey indicated they had experienced incorrect labelling problems with tomato plants purchased this season.
While the survey focused on tomatoes, 35 percent of respondents indicated incorrect labelling had also occurred on a range of other plants, particularly vegetables but also fruit trees, roses and bulbs.
More than a quarter of those responding had also experienced incorrect labelling problems in previous seasons.
Survey results have been forwarded to representatives of the garden industry for information and comment.


Were your tomato plants incorrectly labelled this season?
Yes      56 pc
No       44 pc
What did you buy?
Plants in single containers     66 pc
Seedlings in a punnet             43 pc
What was the name of the tomato variety on the label?

Very big variation with the more popular varieties named frequently.
Did this problem occur in previous seasons?
Yes      25 pc
Have you had problems with incorrect labelling on other plants?
Yes      37 pc
What other plants were a problem?
Over 20 plants identified.
Most frequent included curcurbits, capsicum/chilis, herbs, broccoli.
Also citrus, roses, fruit trees.

Cool conditions to continue

What a difference a few degrees drop in the temperature can make both to gardens and heat-stressed gardeners. 
Weather models suggest our present run of mild to warm weather should continue for a further week, with a short heat spike towards the end of the month. 

Good time for salad vegies

The current weather outlook is great news for gardeners who have already established a late planting of summer vegetables.
However, it also provides an opportunity for barbecue lovers to start growing lettuce and other salad greens.
Take a look at the wide range of non-hearting lettuce now available as seedlings.
These don’t produce a solid heart – simply lots of green and coloured leaves.
Popular lines include Butternut, Cos and Mignonette.
Tip: Because lettuce have a shallow root system it is important that the topsoil is not allowed to dry out.
This may mean watering daily during hot weather.

Temporary protection

Experienced gardeners planting vegetables late in summer often have strips of shade cloth standing by – just in case there is a sudden spike in temperatures.
Feature plant

Spectacular summer snapdragons

For a spectacular addition of continuous colour in your garden consider growing Summer Snapdragons, also known as Angelonias.
If you look closely at the summer snapdragon flowers, you'll see how this plant got its nickname.
The blooms are reminiscent of the wide-open mouth of a monstrous dragon.
But unlike true snapdragons, Angelonia flowers present as one fused petal with no hinges.
When planting Angelonias, look for sunny spots with lots of airflow.
When situated in the shade the plants won’t produce many flowers and they are also more disease-prone.
Don't worry about too much sun or heat, as Angelonias have good drought tolerance and cope well with hot summer days.
Easy Colour produce Angelonia in lavender, purple and white. These are easy to recognise in their distinctive four-cell, purple packs and will give you instant colour.
Easy Colour

Angelonias are available at good garden centres.

Salvias that never stop flowering

Rockin is the name of recently released salvias that never stops flowering.
Rockin sends up showy flower spikes that, in SA, cover the plant all year round.
The plants are extremely hardy with excellent tolerance to dry conditions.
However, they perform best in well-drained soils and keeping the soil moist will increase their flowering potential.
Rockin salvias normally grow 1.2 m high and 60 cm wide and they are happy to perform in either full sun or semi shade
Proven Winners
Rockin salvias are available at good garden centres.

Ants are everywhere - tackle them now

Ants are on the move in many gardens.
Long lines of small black and brown critters are busy moving insects such as scale and aphids from one plant to another.
At this time of the year (when populations often build) they may need to be controlled by treating nesting areas with one of the new nest bait products.
If you do nothing don’t be surprised if you find problem insects, particularly aphids scale and psyllids, attacking your plants in a few weeks.

Feeding fruit and veggies in summer

Neutrog GyganicMost soils during summer are likely to be pretty dry, which has a major influence on the soil microbes in your garden.
Very dry soils can lead to some microbes and bacteria to die off.
Many of the species which are most sensitive are those that are involved in rapid nutrient cycling – in other words, those that break down organic matter.
This decline in nutrient cycling means that your plants don’t have ready access to these nutrients.
To improve the soil biology and provide nutrients for your plants, soil moisture is required.

NeutrogYou can read more information about this relationship and the role of products such as Gyganic for Vegies, Fruit and Citrus here »

Powdery mildew makes a comeback

Cooler days and humid nights have seen a return of the fungus disease, powdery mildew.
Vegetables, vines and many shrubs are susceptible at this time of year.
Milk, (1 part to 10 parts water) is effective when spraying is thorough and carried out before fungus is established.

Kitchen herbs suite to containers

Most popular herbs perform best when shaded from afternoon sun during summer.
They also grow best in soils that drain freely.
Container-growing allows you to move the plants in or out of the sun according to their needs.
More on growing kitchen herbs in containers in my Advertiser gardening column tomorrow.
Slasher organic weedkiller

Fast control for emerging weeds

Following widespread rains weed germination in many gardens has been rapid.
Now, before they grow and get out of hand, is the perfect time to get on top of them.
Use Slasher – it’s an organic weedicide that controls weeds fast – and you’ll see results within hours.
Slasher is made from plant ingredients and contains no glyphosate.
It is non-residual and can be used safely around roses, pathways and even in the veggie patch.
Be sure to thoroughly spray weeds for the best results.

Available from Bunnings, other hardware stores, nurseries and online at

More imformation on Slasher here »

Houseplants – water rather than extra fertiliser

Resist the temptation to force houseplants into extra growth by feeding with extra fertiliser. 
More attention to correct watering will give a better result. 
Wait for the top few centimetres of soil to dry out and then give the plant a good watering.

Iris need attention now

Late February and March is a good time to dig and divide old or congested clumps of bearded iris. Alternatively you may care to establish some of the new colourful varieties now available from specialist plant sellers.
Flowering performance can be improved considerably by adding plenty of organic matter along with a small amount of organic fertiliser to the area before the bulbs are planted.
Bearded iris thrive in full sun (but out of the wind) where the bulbs can literally bake.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

Running over or soaking in when you water?

The appearance of irregular brown patches in the lawn – particularly during summer – can also be a good indicator of water repellent soil.
This is where rain or water from a sprinkler runs over the surface rather than soaking into the topsoil.
Water repellence is established by a fungus that coats top soil particles with a non-moisture absorbing waxy like material. It is more likely to occur in sandy soils and particularly where top soil particles are allowed to dry out in between watering.
You’ll find a lot more useful information about water repellent soils in a lawn blog that I wrote recently »

How to handle a rank lawn

Many lawns have responded to our current weather conditions by producing extremely long vigorous growth.
In lawn mower contractor terms, when a stand grows more than twice its normal mowing height, it has become rank.
When this happens the worst thing you can do is cut the stand short as it exposes and also damages (often seriously) the plants soft crown growth.
This is the area that produces new tillers, runners and blades of grass and is responsible for quick grass recovery after the lawn is mown.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Orchid care in changeable weather

By Trevor Garard, SA Orchid Society
Orchid growers returning from summer holidays should thank their plant carers and then inspect their plants.
If the bark has dried, repot into new material. Wetted dry bark will not retain moisture and will have a detrimental effect on your plants.
Check also for heat damage, removing any damaged leaves and roots.
Next, check the pot for damage as plastic pots will eventually break down or the plants will outgrow their pots.
Make a decision to either put the plant into a larger pot or if too large, divide it.
Break it into smaller pieces and repot into smaller containers.
When choosing pots allow for about two years growth.
Try to divide and repot in the coolest conditions possible.
Plants in flower will be some of the Cattleyas , Epidendrums and their Cattleya hybrids (Epicatts).
Some of the Zygopetalum alliance plants that have Promenaea in the breeding can still be in flower or about to.
Australian native Cymbidiums should just about be finished their flowering season although some Cym madidum plants may still be flowering.

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

Saturday & Sunday, February 15 & 16
Joe's Connected Garden

6 Argent Street, Elizabeth Grove
A group of five gardens where boundary fences haven’t stopped neighbours banding together to share their land, expertise, friendship and a vast and varied selection of produce. Around 500 types of productive plants are grown, many of them rare, unusual and exotic.
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 2020 season »

Weekend gardening weather

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC 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.

Geoff Prettejohn, major SA wholesale seedling supplier. Incorrect plant labelling. Why it can be a problem.
Rick Moran, plant manager, Heynes Wholesale Plant Nursery. Garden plants for a changing climate.

Coming soon

Saturday & Sunday, April 4 & 5
National Rose Trial Garden ‘People’s Choice Rose Judging’ weekend
Cast your vote for your favourite roses and view those new roses most likely to be released in the coming seasons.  In the Adelaide Botanic Garden, near the Hackney Road entrance, 10 am - 4 pm both days. More information »

Barossa Rose & Flower Show
Competition and displays for roses, dahlias, cut flowers, floral art and children’s section.
BBQ and other refreshments available. Free entry. Sat 12 noon - 5.30 pm, Sun 9 am - 5 pm. Barossa Nursery, Barossa Valley Way, Nuriootpa. email for more information »

Cactus and Succulent Society of SA Autumn Show and Sale
Purchase plants from 26 different growers/sellers, books and other gardening craft. Advice on growing cactus and succulents, water-wise planting advice.
Payneham Library and Community Centre, corner of Turner Street and O.G. Road, Felixstow. 10 am - 4 pm both days. Admission $3
More information »

Enfield Horticultural Society autumn show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd Klemzig. Sat 12 noon - 4 pm, Sun10 am - 4 pm. Admission $3 includes cup of tea or coffee.

Saturday April 18
Fern Society of SA annual sale
9 am - 2pm, Adelaide High School, West Tce, Adelaide.

Saturday & Sunday, April 18 &19
Autumn Rose Show, Rose Society of South Australia
Burnside Community Centre, cnr Portrush and Greenhill Roads, Tusmore. Sat 12 noon - 5 pm, Sun10 am - 4 pm. More information »

Regular events
Woodville Academy of Floral Design
Meeting alternate Wednesdays at Kilkenny Community Centre, corner Wilpena Tce & Tarcowie St, Kilkenny. Visitors welcome. Details »

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 »

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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