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From Jon Lamb Communications
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July 5, 2019
citrus gall wasp

    Our citrus gall wasp photo competition    
Big, ugly and certainly unusual

Damage caused by the disfiguring citrus gall wasp this season appears to be much higher than normal.
Entries to the Good Gardening / ABC TalkBack Gardening competition to identify unusual shaped galls indicate they are bigger and more numerous than in the past two growing seasons. They also appear to be much larger.
In some gardens, galls – caused by the wasps – are more than 30 cm long.
Competition winners will be announced on ABC TalkBack Gardening tomorrow morning and a selection of photos will be published in next week’s Good Gardening newsletter.

The image above  was captured by Blair Athol gardener Julia Hlavati.
Feature plant
Primula Ooh La La

Ooh La La – a primula that is very different

The flowers of Primula Ooh La La are a delightful soft pink but much larger than traditional primulas.
They also appear in winter,when little else is blooming. You may be surprised at the number of flowers on a single plant.
These will continue to appear non-stop right through winter and spring.
The leaves also are quite large and have a pleasant felt-like texture.
Primula Ooh La La is an easy-to grow-plant that is ideal for garden beds and particularly garden pots and hanging baskets.
To keep the plants at their best, place them in a semi-shaded spot protected from the wind.
Keep the potting mix moist but not over wet. Good drainage is essential.
Because it is new, you could be one of the first in Adelaide to feature Primula Ooh La La in your garden.
Ask at your local garden centre.

Primula Ooh La La are available from leading garden centres.
More information »

Vegetables running to seed 

July is not a good month to plant a wide range of winter vegetables either from seed or as seedlings into the garden. 
Seedlings of silverbeet, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and bok choy established as seedlings, along with carrots, parsnips and beetroot grown from seed will make little growth during July, because the ground is so cold. 
However, if conditions in September are warmer than normal, these vegetables are likely to run quickly to seed.
The problem is easily overcome by delaying the planting of these vegetables until August.
 

Try these instead 

Vegetables that can be established during July include onions, potatoes, peas, dwarf beans and lettuce, along with crowns of rhubarb and asparagus.

   Pruning Pointers  
Careful pruning delivers autumn fuschia flowers

Fuchsias are often listed in garden books as “spring-flowering”.
However, in South Australia late spring blooms are often ruined by early summer heat.
Experience has shown that if fuchsia bushes are pruned correctly they will produce their best flowers through autumn and early winter.
Worth trying: During late July or early August, prune all main branches back by 20 to 30 percent. At the same time remove any weak and old branches. 
Early in spring, pinch new tip growth to encourage branching. 
Enjoy the spring flowering but towards the end of December, trim the branches (including flowers) lightly (10 to 20 percent).
This will force the plants into new growth that is more tolerant of the heat. 
Again, pinch new tip growth. This will delay flowering until March when most of the hot weather has gone.
 

Don’t prune ornamental fruit trees yet

July is an excellent time to prune deciduous fruit trees. But, hold the secateurs if your deciduous trees are ornamental, i.e. flowering apples, cherries, peaches or plums.
These are best pruned early in spring – soon after flowering is over.
If you prune now you remove a big percentage of the trees' flower buds and ruin their coming season’s display.
 

Pruning for fruit

Home gardeners wanting more detailed information about how to prune their fruit trees correctly will find an excellent guide in ‘Pruning for Fruit’ by former Botanic Gardens adviser, Bruce Morphett.
This should still be available at your local library or you could buy a copy from the bookshop at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
 

Turn your prunings into plants

Many deciduous plants can be grown easily at the moment from cuttings made from winter prunings. 
These ‘hardwood’ cuttings should include three or four buds or nodes and normally strike readily in the open in well drained garden soil or a pot containing coarse washed sand. 
The list of plants includes roses, fuchsias, hydrangeas, weigelia, abelia, abutilon, plums, vines and wisteria.
autumn leaves

What to do with autumn leaves

The colours of autumn are stunning, but when it’s over you end up with a garden full of dry leaves. 
There are a couple of issues with just leaving them on the ground.
Firstly, they can smother small groundcover plants, and when the leaves get wet, the plants underneath can suffer from a loss of light and start to rot.
Additionally, rotting leaves tend to draw nitrogen out of the ground.
There is a solution though, which is much better than in the old days when people simply burnt them.
The best way to use the leaves is to compost them. I know what a lot of people are thinking – they don’t rot down very well and they stick together, but there are solutions for this too.
By the time leaves drop from the tree, much of their nutrients have been removed, so they are essentially just carbon – or, put another way, food for microbes.
What is lacking though is some nitrogen and a few other trace elements.

For a practical solution to composting autumn leaves successfully,
click here to continue reading »
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Winter health program for your veggie patch

If you have abandoned the vegetable patch until next growing season, take the opportunity of improving the soil.
 

» Add some animal manure

Buy a bag or two of animal manure from your garden centre, combine it with a layer of compost or organic soil improver and cultivate it lightly into the top few centimetres of soil.

» Spread gypsum

If the ground is ‘heavy’ or hard to dig because of its high clay content, buy a bag of gypsum.  Spread this using one kilogram to the square metre. 
Gypsum can be combined with the animal manure and organic matter.
 

The secret to growing top tomatoes 

Experienced tomato growers have learnt the value of burying large quantities of organic matter in a trench during winter as a prelude to planting their tomatoes during mid or late spring.
The tomatoes are planted along the sides of the trench and, as the material breaks down during summer, it provides their roots with a supply of slow release plant nutrients. 
More important, it also acts as a great reservoir of readily available moisture during the warmer weather.  The trenches should be approx 40cm wide and as long as you like.

Fruit trees adapt readily to container growing

So, you have a small backyard or patio block or maybe you are renting and would like to take any fruit trees you grow with you when you move.
The solution is to grow your trees in containers.
While this is a great idea, because fruit trees are not usually grown in pots there are some important things to bear in mind.
First, these trees will need a good size root system if they are to support a decent quantity of fruit.
A large pot is required –ideally half wine barrel size.
Keep in mind the roots of plants in pots are totally dependent on the water they receive – they cannot reach deep into the soil profile to tap into underground water like in-ground trees.
This means watering needs to be regular, without waterlogging your tree.
The best way to assess moisture levels is to press you finger into the potting mix at the top of the pot and see where the moisture is.  Top up as required.
 

Potting mix and mulch

Covering the potting mix with compost or composted mulch can help significantly in keeping the potting mix moist. 
This has a double benefit – it keeps the roots moist and stops the potting mix from drying out.
You may have noticed how hard it is to re-wet very dry potting mix – the water just seems to run off.
A good quality potting mix will be free draining and long-lasting.
However, adding extra water saving granules and slow-release fertiliser to the mix can really help you achieve the best from your potted fruit trees.
Finally, expect to refresh your fruit trees around every 4 years. 
This involves removing the trees from their pots in winter, trimming a lot of the old root growth, pruning the top of the canopy and then re-potting, using fresh potting mix.
Do this and you are ready to roll again.

More information »

Premium locally grown stock from Balhannah Nurseries are available now.
Best time to plant bare-rooted trees is June to August. Look out for the green bag.
It's Balhannah Nurseries' guarantee of a premium fruit tree.

Hurry with garden entries for the Royal Show

The horticulture competition prize schedule for  this year’s Royal Adelaide Show is out now. 
If you haven’t entered before simply look for the area in the schedule you are interested in and you will find ‘Novice’ classes under that section. 
The novice class is for people who have not entered before or who have not won a prize before. 
This means that your entry will be up against others who are new to the completion as well. 
It is a great way to learn how to stage a competition entry while having a lot of fun and there is something really special about seeing your entry on the competition benches come judging day.
Entries close Friday, July 19.

More information on how to enter here »
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

Moss and algae invading wet lawns

After above-average rains through May and June, it’s not surprising to find the topsoil in many gardens is now waterlogged.
However, South Australian turf advisor Stefan Palm is starting to receive reports of moss and algae growing amongst the grass in locations where the lawn is constantly wet.
While it may look attractive, Stefan advises gardeners to get rid of it as quickly as possible –  it has the potential to take over your lawn.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan considers the different types of moss and algae that you are likely to find and provides the right kind of advice on how to get rid of them.
 
More information here »
 

Don’t lower the mower

The easiest and one of the most beneficial tasks you can carry out at this time of the year is to raise the mower blades by a notch or two. 
This will expose the longer blades of grass to additional sunlight and significantly increase the ability of the lawn’s slow growing roots to absorb essential plant nutrients.
More on managing winter lawns in my Advertiser column, tomorrow.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Tepid water best for winter houseplants

Indoor pot plants don’t grow much during winter when they are cold. 
Don’t aggravate the situation by pouring cold water from the tap onto their roots. 
Research has shown that lukewarm water will keep them growing or at least happier until the warm weather returns.
 

Frost protection for seedlings

If you are trying to prevent frost forming on seedlings or new growth just emerging from the ground, covering both the soil and the plants with a thin layer of straw, leaves or even compost will give you a few degrees of protection.

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.
Saturday & Sunday, July 6, 7
Orchid Club of South Australia's winter show
Enfield Community Centre, 540 Regency Road, Enfield. Orchid culture demonstrations 3 times daily. Plants and accessories for sale and expert advice from the growers. tea, coffee and food available. Entry $5.
Weekend gardening weather

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday – phone me and Deb Tribe on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

Guest –  BOM climatologist, Darren Ray.
Topic – Three-month weather outlook for home gardeners and will Adelaide’s above average rainfalls continue?

Coming soon

Wednesday, July 10
Woodville Academy of Floral Design workshop using bark and weathered wood

10 am at Kilkenny Community Centre, cnr Wilpena Tce & Tarcowie St, Kilkenny. Meeting alternate Wednesdays.

Saturday & Sunday, August 10, 11
Annual Camellia Show, Camellias South Australia annual show
Carrick Hill, 46 Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield. Sat. 12noon - 4 pm; Sun. 10. am - 4 pm
Quality plants for sale. Free admission to the show & Carrick Hill grounds.

Saturday & Sunday, September 7, 8
Enfield Horticultural Society Spring Show
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Road, Klemzig. 12 - 5 pm Sat, 10 am - 4 pm Sun. Admission $2. More information 8251 2299.

Saturday, September 21
Spring Garden Festival, Mount Pleasant
Stalls featuring quality plants, garden furniture, decor and garden-care products.
Showgrounds, Melrose Street. 8 am - 3 pm. $5 entry, concession $3, child under 15 free.
More information »

Saturday & Sunday, October 12, 13
Spring Expo – Native Flower Display & Plant Sale
Australian Plants Society (SA Region). Adelaide Showgrounds. Sat.10 am - 4 pm; Sun. 10 am - 3 pm.

Saturday & Sunday, October 19, 20
SA Geranium and Pelargonium Society spring show
Payneham Library complex, corner O.G. Road and Turner Street, Felixstow. Plant sales & display. Entry $3.

Burra Spring Garden Expo and Open Gardens
More information »

Saturday & Sunday, October 26, 27
Rose Society of SA Spring Rose Show – Roses are Red
Burnside Community Centre, corner of Portrush and Greenhill Roads Tusmore.
To be officially opened by the President of the World Federation of Rose Societies, Henrianne de Briey, 3 pm Saturday afternoon.
Competitive rose classes in Australian Championships and World Federation of Rose Societies classes, lectures, floral demonstration,trading tables - gifts, plants, rose growing information, including “Identify your rose”. Entry $5.
Full program here »

Sunday, November 10
Art and Roses at The Cedars
Heysen Road, Hahndorf. An exclusive one-day celebration of  spring in the garden of the renowned father and daughter artists Sir Hans and Nora Heysen. Featuring reproductions with real flowers of the artists' still life works, display of heritage roses, talks on art and blooms.
10 am - 6 pm. $15 (children under 15 free) Includes entry to the garden, house and studios.

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 »

The 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 »

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 »

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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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