From Jon Lamb Communications
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February 12, 2021

Fungal spots running rife in the garden

Late summer rains, warm soil and two weeks of relatively high humidity have combined to activate a range of damaging garden fungal diseases.
Powdery mildew is running rife in many vegetable gardens, causing major problems to late maturing cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkins.
It is also likely to affect grapevines, apples, strawberries and ornamentals, particular hydrangeas.
Early reports indicate black spot is starting to appear on rose bushes – particularly where the bushes are growing in part shade or subjected to persistent showers.
Rose bushes in some gardens have also been affected by rust, while downy mildew is of major concern to many gardeners with grapevines.
Powdery Mildew
Downey Mildew
Powdery mildew: White powdery-like fungus on the upper side of leaves and sometimes  stems of late maturing summer vegetables and many ornamentals.

Black spot:  Black or grey spots on leaves particularly roses and apples.  Leaves often turn yellow and drop.

Rust: Small yellow spots on leaf surface with tell-tale  orange powdery pustules on the underside.

Downy mildew: Pale yellows patches on the upper leaf surface with white powdery material on the underside beneath the patches.

Control options

  • Powdery mildew: Spray plants thoroughly with eco fungicide (quick acting and organic).
  • Black spot and Rust: Spray plants as soon as detected with eco-fungicide, liquid copper or Manozeb Plus. Regular spraying with milk (one part milk – 10 parts water) is effective on black spot if the fungus is not well established.
  • Downy mildew: Consign affected leaves and fruit bunches to the green waste bin (not compost heap). Spray vines (or bushes) with liquid copper or mancozeb plus.

Is spraying needed?

An immediate return to dry conditions should see damage kept to a minimum. 
However, as fungal spore build-up within effected plants is now higher than normal, further rains could result in significant damage.

Citrus skins splitting – was it the rain?   

Don’t be surprised if the skin on maturing navel oranges starts to split.
This is a common problem in many gardens during autumn – particularly when heavy rain follows an extended dry spell.
As the crop approaches maturity fruit size increases steadily.  
However, if your garden soil suddenly changes from dry to wet, the trees sap flow increases rapidly and the fruits internal flesh grows faster than the outer skins - resulting in the rind splitting at the weakest point.

Fitting a modern pool perfectly into an old garden

In a picturesque rural setting, a recently built swimming pool has been sympathetically integrated into a delightful old garden around a stone cottage.
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.
Materials used blend with the existing garden and include stone collected on the property.
The recycled timber supports used in the pool fence give a cohesive feel and a connection to the site and the rustic buildings.
The old garden is a charming mix of shade-loving plants that thrive under the canopies of tall trees and there are pretty views of the creek in the valley below.

Nicki King Landscape Design and Elite Outdoor Design and Construct – Mylor

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 »

Big benefits by planting now

Right now Adelaide soil temperatures are tracking between 21 and 25ºC, an ideal level for planting and plant growth.
However, they will not remain like this for long, dropping on average 8oC between the end of February and early April.
As a general guide, most warm season vegetables, flowers and small shrubs need soil temperatures above 18oC to maintain strong active growth.
Temperatures between 14 C and 18ºC will see growth maintained - but at a much slower pace.

Average soil temperatures at Kent Town (10cm depth)
Jan Feb Mar April May June
25oC 25oC 21oC 17oC 13oC 10oC

It’s the preparation that counts        

If you are planning to establish trees and shrubs over the next few weeks, be aware they are growing in a soft, open potting mix.
When planted in the ground their roots often find it difficult to grow into the surrounding hard soil, particularly if it’s compacted.
Planting into hard soil is a major reason why newly established plants fail to thrive.
The answer is to loosen the soil before you plant, if possible to a depth of 20 to 30 cm and at least half a metre around the planting hole.
Before planting, check the roots are not root bound ie vigorous root growth surrounding the root ball. 
These should be removed. 
On the other hand, remaining roots within the root ball are best left undisturbed.
Feature plantsof the week

Cyclamens for long-lasting, charming colour

Cyclamens are grown for their long lasting distinctive nodding flowers with upturned petals.
These always look elegant, held high above patterned leaves which makes for stunning plants.
Cyclamens aren't fussy, but they do need some general maintenance.
When a flower is finished, Easy Colour recommend you don't rip it off, - pull the stem and twist at the same time to remove without damaging the core.
Cyclamens are often grown in pots indoors where they like plenty of natural light.
Find a well-lit, cool but draught- free spot – preferably with an hour or two of sunlight each morning – but not in strong sunlight. This also applies to plants on patios, decks and verandas.
When grown as an indoor plant cyclamens provide a good alternative to cut flowers.
Outdoors, because the flowers last so long (and they have attractive variegated leaves) they will add colour to the garden through autumn and winter.
Easy Colour provides well established cyclamens in various colours. These are easy to find at your local garden centre in their distinctive purple 4 cell packs.
Easy Colour
Cyclamens 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.

Old world rose with new rose benefits

The Notre Dame Du Rosaire rose - translated as Our Lady of the Rosary, has an unusual colour for a modern French variety.  (Rosa Generosa). 
While inheriting its Olde World shape, it has the contemporary styling of today’s modern roses.
This is a rose that flowers abundantly with beautiful bouquets of fragrant blooms  that feature attractive orange to pink colourings.
The blooms are borne on very healthy brilliant green foliage and will repeat flower throughout the season.
These also hold well in a vase.
Notre Dame Du Rosaire is a Guillot (French) rose and will make an impressive statement in any garden design. Grows up to 80 cm.
More information »
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.

Cosmos Choca Mocha – with real chocolate aroma

The aroma of chocolate on a neat, compact perennial plant that also flowers for many months of the year is a combination that is almost irresistible.
Needless to say, Cosmos Choca Mocha is often called the chocolate cosmos.
The flowers are star shaped with a distinctive chocolate aroma. (Spent flowers should be removed to encourage more flowers to develop).
While the plants are neat and compact (30 cm high) they are also multi-branched with the flowers appearing on very young plants.
In the warmer districts expect flowering to continue throughout the year.
This is an excellent perennial for mass planting in a sunny garden or displaying in containers in a sunny courtyard garden.

Proven WinnersCosmos Choca Mocha 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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Soil pH – why it’s important  

pH is simply a term used to indicate whether the soil is alkaline or acid. 
A soil that is neutral has a pH of 7.  Most plants prefer to grow in a soil that is slightly acid to neutral i.e. a pH of 5.5 to 7. 
Unfortunately, many of the soils in South Australia are alkaline with a pH of between 8 and 9.
The best way to determine the pH of your soil is to have it tested. 
Many garden centres provide a free testing service or you can buy your own easy to use soil pH testing kit.

Reducing soil pH is easy

The simplest and cheapest way to reduce the pH of soil that is not too alkaline (i.e. below 8.5 pH) is to add garden sulphur to the topsoil.
You will need to spread between 50-100 gm to the square metre and it will take 6-8 weeks for the chemical reaction to take place.

Slasher provides safe, quick-acting weed control

Slasher Organic Weedkiller controls a broad range of weeds, moss, algae and lichen.
It’s approved for use in organic gardens and works fast.
Expect to see visible results within 1 hour on most weeds!
Slasher is made from plant ingredients and is glyphosate-free.
It’s also non-residual and can be used safely around roses and even in the veggie patch (no withholding period).

OCP eco organic gardenSlasher is available from hardware stores, nurseries, supermarkets and online»

Heavy crops risk nutrient shortage

Late-maturing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and capsicum are all capable of producing very heavy crops and often run short of nutrients soon after producing their first flush of fruits.
When this happens, subsequent fruit set and fruit size is likely to be reduced.

Action: Provide crops with pale green leaves with a fortnightly application of a quick-acting foliar fertiliser.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Act now to control winter grass

At last there is an effective control for winter grass.
Until now control has relied fairly heavily on weedicides that are applied after winter grass has germinated –  post-emergent weedicides.
However, the management of these chemicals is not easy.
According to lawn consultant Stefan Palm, a better alternative is to control winter grass before it even starts to grow – using a pre-emergence chemical.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan explains how to use both pre-and post emergence weedicides as well as why pre-emergence chemicals should be applied right now.

More information »

Don’t lower the mower

Lawn growth following the past two rains has been prolific and in many gardens the stands are now quite rank.
Resist the temptation to lower the mower and cut the grass down to ground level, particularly on summer active grasses (couch, buffalo and kikuyu).
This will severely reduce their ability to store energy needed to get them through winter. 
If possible, remove no more than 30 percent of the stand in one mowing.

Start the mower

The essential message right now – while lawns are making rapid growth – is to mow and mow often.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Recent rains encourage prolific weed germination

Ignoring weeds while they are still small is not a good option.
Over the next few weeks they will develop an extensive root system and this will be followed by rapid leaf growth.
Once this happens competition between the weeds and your garden plants for moisture and nutrients will be intense.
Light cultivation while they are small is very effective, but If you don’t have time, give them a  squirt with a quick acting, organic knock down herbicide such as Slasher.

Orchid club meetings resume

One of South Australia’s largest garden clubs – the Orchid Club of South Australia is recommencing its monthly meetings at the Enfield community Centre.
Club communicator, Trevor Garard says new gardeners interested in growing orchids will be made most welcome. Covid 19 restrictions will be observed.
More information »

Avoiding bitter lettuce          

The secret to growing fresh tasty lettuce leaves is to grow the plants as quickly as possible.
Make sure the topsoil is moist at all times and the plants roots have plenty of water, particularly on very hot days.
A fortnightly, half strength application of a liquid fertiliser is also beneficial.

Quick colour   

For a quick splash of colour late in autumn and then through winter, try  growing cool season flowering annuals such as pansies and violas, alyssum, snapdragons, primula’s, poppies and possibly nemesia. 
Advanced seedlings available in cell packs should suffer little setback when transferred to the garden or placed in an attractive display container.
All being well they should be flowering by the end of March.

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 13 &14
Joe's Connected Garden
6 Argent Street, Elizabeth Grove.
Five amazing connected, productive gardens.
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.

After the rain – fungal spots and weeds
Join SARDI horticultural pathologist Cathryn Todd, weed agronomist Chris Butler and lawn consultant Stefan Palm as they solve a range of topical garden problems

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
Perfect for Valentine's Day! Your indoor plants will love you. So get your hands on one of these limited essentials plant care kit.
Now in store & online. Love, your plants!

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
Audrey the Alpaca has had a clip and is looking absolutely gorgeous and several kilos lighter. So if you wanted a piece of her fleece to take home come on in and grab some. We are giving it away. While you're,there immerse yourself into our beautiful garden centre and just enjoy the serenity as you wander through Semaphore Pets & Garden.
Always has 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
Thinking of your Valentine – think of Barrow & Bench Mitre10 and the beautiful pots and plants we have in store. 
Your lucky other will be impressed for sure.

Specialises 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, 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 »

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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