From Jon Lamb Communications
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May 8, 2020

Wet weather set to continue

South Australia’s wet winter weather could continue through to the end of the year.
It’s all to do with warmer-than-average waters in the Eastern Indian Ocean, to the north and west of Australia.
This has resulted in the formation of what is known as a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).
Independent South Australian climatologist Darren Ray told ABC TalkBack Gardening listeners last Saturday, this year’s weather outlook is shaping up to be very similar to the very wet conditions experienced through 2016.
Darren is expecting wetter-than-average conditions to continue through winter and spring and possibly through to the end of the year.
He also warned gardeners that there was a strong possibility of early-season frost.

The ABC Saturday Morning TalkBack Gardening program is available as a podcast and you can hear full details of Darren’s latest three-month weather outlook here »

Rain is great news – but it may bring problems

Higher-than-average rainfall through winter and spring, following widespread soaking rains in April, should set the scene for above-average garden conditions in the growing season ahead.
But be aware constant showers early in spring invariably result in widespread problems caused by a range of fungal spots and rots.
Strategies to manage many of these problems will be featured in Good Gardening over the next few weeks.

Act now to prevent fungal problems in spring

Deciduous fruit trees that were troubled with fungal problems this season should be sprayed very soon with a copper-based fungicide such as liquid copper or copper hydroxide.
Wait until 80 percent of the leaves have fallen then spray the tree making sure the material soaks into the trees cracks and crevices.
This will play a major role in preventing the carryover of fungal diseases, particularly curl leaf on stone fruits, next season.

Aphids are back – both green and black

Don’t be surprised if small colonies of green aphids are starting to appear on your rose bushes.
Resist any temptation to wipe them out with an insecticide.
While it is too late in the season for aphids to cause damage to your bushes, they will provide a wonderful food source for nature’s predators and parasites, before they seek shelter over winter.
Black aphids are also appearing from nowhere and are starting to colonise on weeds – particularly milk thistles – where they will hide over winter.
Those that survive winter will breed rapidly in spring and are likely to cause significant damage to both ornamentals and early-season vegetable crops.
Just another good reason to wage war on winter weeds soon – particularly thistles.
Feature plant

Versatile Diascias provide winter colour

With delicate, prolific blooms reminiscent of open-face snapdragon flowers, Diascia is a great option for winter colour.
Diascias are sometimes referred to as Twinspurs because the flowers feature two spurs coming out of the back of the blossoms.
They grow best in fertile, well-drained soil with consistent moisture.
Diascias are well suited for bedding plants, hanging baskets and containers.
Diascias tolerate drought and perform best in full sun but also will grow in part shade.
They are available in Lavender Pink, White & Coral Rose in distinctive easy to recognize, Easy Colour purple packs with easy carry handles.

Diascias are available at good garden centres.

Bidens Rockstar – a splash of golden colour

Biden Rockstar’s big yellow blooms are twice the size of previous Bidens, although the plants were also  selected for their compact shape (25 x 40 cm) and ability to flower right through winter – giving almost year-round colour.
All Bidens are easy to grow and look great when mass-planted in front of a small garden bed or along a pathway.
The look is also effective when you mix varieties such as Rockstar with other colour plants in a large courtyard container.
Definitely a sun-lover.

Proven Winners
Look for Bidens Rockstar at your local garden centre.

Handy guide identifies mushrooms, toadstools

Mushrooms and toadstools are starting to appear in many gardens – particularly lawns.
If you are wondering what they are and would like to know more about them or view some great photographs of the different fungi that grow here in South Australia, take a look at the following ID Chart.
It’s called Fungi of the Adelaide Hills and has been published by Natural Resources, Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges.

Pictured is Little Bleeder (Mycena kuurkacea).

Download the identification chart »

A Moth orchid for Mums

For something exquisite, long-lasting and, despite their delicate appearance, easy to grow, consider giving Mum a Moth orchid.
These are the magnificent flowering plants you often see on the reception desk at your local doctor.
Moth orchids are happy to grow in conditions where Mum is comfortable to sit – not too hot and certainly not too cold.
Each set of flowers will last for many weeks and given bright light, regular watering and a little fertiliser, it should remain flowering for many months.

Autumn care for your soil's microbes

Autumn is a great time for soil and plants to recover from summer stress, as the soil temperature drops and there is an increase in moisture.
It’s important to remember when working with biological systems such as soil microbes, what you do in autumn and winter can have a marked influence in the coming spring, as microbe activity in autumn stabilises nutrients ready for plants in spring.
So how do start your soil and plant recovery program?

More information here »
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It's planting time for natives

Late autumn and early winter is a good time for planting out most of our native plants. 
Recent trials have shown that plants with a well established root system i.e. sold in 150mm containers, are more likely to succeed in the average garden than those grown in very small tubes. 
While tube grown plants are cheaper, they require a much higher level of establishment care, particularly watering. 
However, make sure the plants you buy are not root bound.
Ask your retailer to check this out.

A good time to grow rhubarb

Once established, rhubarb is capable of producing a year round supply of thick, juicy red stems – ideal for adding to apple pies and other culinary deserts.
Rhubarb stems emerge from the crown of thick chunky roots.
These grow close to the surface and are super sensitive to wet feet – usually the result of overwatering or poor drainage.
Before planting loosen the topsoil (half a square metre for each plant) to a depth of 20 to 25 cm and incorporate 2-3 litres of compost and a litre of organic pellets for vegetables.
If you are establishing more than one plant space them 60 cm apart.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

Soursobs, clover or medics?

Once temperatures drop and autumn rains fall, it doesn’t take long for the lawn to be invaded by a range of cool season weeds.
With early weed control in mind, how do you tell the difference between soursobs, clover and medics, particularly while they are small?
They all have the potential to cause mayhem in the lawn.
In this week’s lawn blog turf advisor Stefan Palm provides an easy-to-follow guide to help identify all three, along with some practical advice on how to keep them under control.

More information on Stefan's blog »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Persimmons are worth growing

Persimmon fruits certainly look spectacular hanging on trees late in autumn, after the leaves have fallen.
While the flesh on traditional varieties needs to become quite soft before eating, new non-astringent varieties like Fuyu can be eaten fresh from the tree like a crunchy apple.
The trees are quite large, 5-6 metres x 3-4 metres and slow to mature. 
Persimmons need a well-drained soil and for good sized fruit, should be watered regularly through summer.
Because the fruit buds appear towards the end of current branches, hard pruning can significantly reduce yields. 
Alternatively, light pruning can be used to improve the fruit size of high yielding trees. 
Persimmons don’t need cross-pollination to set although the newer varieties will produce larger fruit if there is a cross pollinator.
Trees are best established as container grown plants during winter, early spring or autumn.

   Orchid notes   
Cattleya care after flowering

By Trevor Garard, SA Orchid Society

Orchid growers are understandably feeling despondent with the cancellation of the 2020 Royal Adelaide Show, along with other major shows.
Plants will begin to suffer if we do not attend to their cultural requirements and for many May is our last chance before the cold of winter really sets in.
The autumn-flowering Cattleyas such as the large white Blc. Hawaiian Wedding Song will be in flower or maybe just finishing depending what area of South Australia you live in. Some of the Miltonias will also be in flower.
Earlier flowering Cattleya plants such as C.Valentine Day will need to have old flower spikes removed and made ready for next year’s flowering.
I tend to repot these straight after flowering , either potting up to a larger pot or dividing into two smaller divisions making sure there is at least one new growth and at least  three older canes on each division. 

More orchid information on Facebook »

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 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.

Slugs and snails in the garden
Snail entomologist Helen Brodie explains how they react to extreme heat in summer and very wet condition in winter.

Garden centre directory

Leading Adelaide garden centres recommended by Good Gardening newsletter.

Heyne's Garden Centre
283-289 The Parade, Beulah Park. (08) 8332 2933
Delight your mother with a gift from our online selection.
South Australia's oldest established garden centre. Huge range. Expert staff on hand for personal advice. Visit online »
Weekend gardening weather

Garden events and shows cancelled

The COVID-19 situation has forced the cancellation of numerous garden events and shows.
All current and coming events listed in recent editions of Good Gardening have been cancelled.

Regular garden attractions

Some of our listed regular attractions may have closed or have limited access, due to the COVID-19 situation.
Please check with the relevant organisation.

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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