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From Jon Lamb Communications
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November 5, 2021

Thundery weather to continue

It looks like SA’s unsettled thundery weather is set to continue.
Independent climatologist Darren Ray is expecting a significant showery system will pass across the state next week, with the possibility of a further strong system later in the month.
Both systems are expected to be thundery, possibly humid but with rainfall variable.
These conditions are sure to re-stimulate damaging fungal diseases that were activated following last week’s thundery conditions.
 

Target spot

Target spot is favoured by constant showery weather, such as the conditions we are now experiencing.
Look for brown circular-like spots, surrounded by yellow margins, usually on the lower leaves first. 
As the disease progresses, the leaves turn pale yellow before dropping. 
Target spot is best prevented by spraying established plants fortnightly with a fungicide such as mancozeb or wettable sulphur.


Powdery mildew

This is another damaging leaf fungus that thrives when conditions are humid and mild to warm (not hot).
Powdery mildew can affect a very wide range of vegetables and ornamentals.
Look for grey powder like material on both sides of plant leaves.
Powdery mildew can be controlled before it is well-established by spraying plants with milk (one part milk 10 parts water).
Also recommended, eco-fungicide and wettable sulphur.
 

Rusts

Keep a close watch on the leaves of roses, geraniums, snapdragons and a range of soft-leaved, evergreen shrubs.
Rusts are spread very rapidly by numerous brown, yellow or orange powder-like pustules that suddenly appear on the underside of plant leaves.
Seriously affected leaves quickly wilt and die.
Rusts are effectively controlled by spraying the foliage thoroughly with mancozeb,  triforine or zaleton  (ornamentals only).
However, you may care to try a relatively new organic fungicide containing potassium bicarbonate. This is now available commercially and sold as eco-rose or eco-fungicide.
 

Black spot on roses

Black spot fungus is normally activated following six to eight hours of continuous moisture.
However, by the time you can see the spots it’s too late – the damage has been done.
If the leaves are to be protected the bushes must be sprayed before the fungus is activated.
Effective fungicides include liquid copper, other forms of copper, mancozeb and triforine. Organic sprays include eco-fungicide or milk (one part milk, 10 parts water).
 

Downy mildew

Gardeners growing grapevines will need to keep a watch out for downy mildew when conditions are humid and remain wet for 24 hours.
Those with stone fruits may need to protect their crops at harvest from the brown rot fungus.

Repotting? Choose your mix carefully

There are two standards for quality potting mixes.
Black indicates regular grade. You need to add fertiliser to that at the time of potting.
Red is premium grade andwill have enough fertiliser to last for at least a month.
I can’t see the point of paying good money for healthy plants only to have them quickly ruined by an inferior quality potting mix just for the sake of saving a few dollars.
Choose a quality potting mix for the operation.
Potting mix that conforms to national industry standards is easily recognised by a series of ticks on the side of the pack. 
A quality mix contains fully composted finely chopped pine bark and gritty sand allowing air to move freely around the plant’s roots, ensuring excess moisture drains freely. 
Premium mixes also contain enough added plant food for the first six to eight weeks’ growth, whereas a standard mix will need fertiliser added. 
 
Beware of budget price mixes. Invariably particles in budget-priced potting mix pack tightly together, preventing the free movement of air and water.
Even worse, pine bark or organic material used in the mix is often not fully composted.
As a result, instead of nitrogen in the mix being available for your plants it is used to complete decomposition of the mix.  
 

A healthy precaution

When using potting mix, it is good practice to use a face mask, particularly when you are just opening the bag. 
It is also a good practice to wash your hands thoroughly after the operation, just in case there are harmful contaminants in the mix.
Feature plantsof the week
Acacia pycnantha
Carpobrotus rossii
Austromyrtus Copper Tops
Tetragona tetragonoides

Grow your own bush food

Why not add some Australian bush food plants to your garden?
At State Flora you will find a wide range of indigenous Australian food plants recognised for their edible fruits, nuts, seeds and leaves.
The following suggestions have been selected because they are easy to grow and look great growing in Australian garden.
  • Kunzea pomifera – Tastes like spiced apples. Great to eat raw.
  • Carpobrotus Rossii – Sweet but salty red fruit. Edible leaves – good for seasoning.
  • Enchylaena tomentosa – Small sweet fruits in many colours.
  • Atriplex nummularia - Eat raw or in a salad. Also great dried and used for seasoning.
  • Billardiera cymosa – Aniseed flavoured fruits.
  • Austromyrtus dulcis – Greyish-white fruits that taste great in deserts.
  • Tetragonia teragonioides – Leaves have similar flavour to spinach.
  • Acacia provincialis  – Collect seed, clean and grind into flour.
  • Acacia pycnantha –Collect seed, clean and grind into flour.
Billardieria cymosa
Kunzea pomifera
State Flora catalogue »

State Flora is South Australia’s leading Australian native plant nursery. It stocks more than 1,800 species of native plants for sale to the public at its Belair and Murray Bridge nurseries.

What’s not to love about vincas?

For continual colour that is quite spectacular through summer and autumn, it’s hard to go past vincas.
The latest vincas grown by Easy Colour are not only upright, their flowers are suspended over glossy, emerald green foliage.
These shed their flowers cleanly and rarely need trimming.
Upright vincas work well in mass plantings, particularly in landscapes where you are looking to make a big impact, but with little maintenance.
These plants are certainly sun lovers, although they can also perform in part shade providing there’s good air circulation.
Vincas are available in distinctive Easy Colour 4 cell purple packs and are bigger than those in traditional punnets. 
The plants are more advanced, reducing transplant shock and making sure the plants begin growing straight away.

Easy ColourVincas 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.
Apple Blossom

Compact Diascia with masses of flowers

Twinspur Diascias are delightful, low-growing, compact plants that smother themselves with brightly coloured blooms through winter and spring.
The colours include Apple Blossom (pink), Little Charmer (larger pink flowers) Orange and Snow (pure white, slightly smaller blooms). Each has an interesting darker coloured throat.
Diascias are sun-lovers but benefit from shade during summer and grow best in moist, free-draining potting mix or garden soil.
These are ideal plants for growing in containers, particularly hanging baskets and look great when spot planted alongside steps, pathways or mass planted in a small feature rockery.
The plants are fast-growing and respond quickly to a regular application of liquid organic fertiliser.
Removing spent flowers after the first wave of blooms will encourage another colourful performance.

Proven WinnersDiascias 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.
Ruby Ribbons

New spreading rose with dark red petals

Ruby Ribbons is a very interesting new spreading rose. The blooms are fascinating with very dark red petals with hints of black around some of the edges..
However, the dark colours of the petals are offset by bright centres that feature prominent yellow stamens.
Ruby Ribbons is a compact, but spreading bush that will trail down over a low wall or the side of a pot. When grown on a flat site the bushes produce an attractive mounding ground cover effect – without becoming too big.
This is an ideal rose for growing as a groundcover in garden beds or borders.
Great for growing in pots and tumbling over walls was well. Mildly scented. Very disease resitant
More information »
 

Bees Paradise – new-age landscape roses

Bees’ Paradise Roses® are dense, compact and bushy landscape roses with a low spreading habit to cover the ground, approximately 40-60cm in height.
These varieties feature continuous flowering in abundance and the spent flowers drop reasonably cleanly. The large clusters of single or semi-double flowers open fully to allow the pollen and nectar to be easily accessible to bees and other insects. The plants are surprisingly sturdy with healthy, disease resistant foliage and a high tolerance to summer heat and sunburn.
The four colours are: red, pink, white and a salmon pink-yellow bicolour
These award winning  roses are all available potted now and ready to go.
Bees' Paradise
Knight's RosesKnights' 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.
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Remove spent rose blooms

The first flush of flowering on rose bushes is coming to an end.
Flowering can be prolonged if the spent flower heads are removed regularly. 
Encourage strong, new growth by removing spent blooms and at least two sets of leaves immediately below the spent flower.

Tomato dust a multipurpose pest fixer

Intermittent showery weather just as summer vegetables are making strong healthy growth is not what vegetable gardeners are looking for right now.
With the showers come a range of damaging fungal diseases, while mild, dry weather will encourage a build-up of caterpillars, aphids and other biting and chewing insects.
Working on the assumption that prevention is better than cure, make sure you have Yates Tomato Dust standing by.
Often referred to as “the garden vegetable fixer” Yates Tomato Dust contains copper and sulphur to prevent a wide range of damaging fungal diseases.
These include target spot (particularly on tomatoes) as well as leaf spots, powdery mildew, downy mildew and rust.
YatesHowever, this product also contains Spinosad, a new-age insecticide that provides very effective control for other biting / chewing insects.

More information »

Big selection of garden herbs           

A visit to your local garden centre this weekend will reveal a remarkable range of ready-to-go herbs already well established in 60-100mm containers. 
When you buy, move your selections into larger pots containing quality potting mix. 
A 15cm diameter pot will provides plenty of room for future root growth and won’t need to be watered as often as a plant in a smaller container.
 

Meet the basil family   

If you’re beginning a herb collection why not start with basil? 
Apart from being very easy to grow, there are so many different types and flavours to try. 
Basil flavours are very intense and include cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, citrus, sweet, spicy and minty.
Most of the common basils are widely used in pasta, tomato dishes, salads and pesto.
Basil is a sun-lover but in South Australia, grows best under 50 percent shade during the summer months.  It needs to be kept on the dry side during winter and is frost tender.
Sweet basil is the most common form grown and has a very pleasant clove-like scent and flavour.

Other herbs worth adding to your collection include, chives, parsley, oregano, coriander and rocket.

Plant-based insecticide with many targets

If you’ve got pests attacking your plants then reach for OCP eco-neem botanical insecticide.
eco-neem controls a broad range of chewing and sap sucking pests, including caterpillars, grasshoppers, curl grubs, aphids, whitefly, mealybugs and more.
You can even use it indoors on house plants to control those pesky fungus gnats!
eco-neem is approved for use in organic gardens and is friendly for bees and other beneficial insects.
 

How it works

eco-neem works in multiple ways with the two main actions being suppression of insect appetite (they starve to death) and restricting growth.
Plant damage stops as soon as the insect ingests eco-neem.

eco-neem is available from hardware stores, nurseries, supermarkets and online »
The full range of eco organic garden products and advice is here »

Just the tonic for vegetables

Leafy vegetables should be kept growing steadily at this time of the year with a liquid fertiliser. 
A weak solution (half strength) every two weeks will give better results than a full strength application once a month.
 

Making changes to the soil   

If you would like to make your soil a little more acid so you can grow acid-loving plants such as camellias and azaleas, then now is a good time to try. 
Use garden sulphur and sprinkle around 30 gm to a square metre over the soil, working it into the top few centimetres. 
Apply a second dressing in autumn. 
Organic mulches also help increase soil acidity.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Are black beetle larvae eating your lawn?

It's not too late in the season to treat black beetle larvae in your lawn. Black beetle larvae can cause major problems in lawns – especially if left untreated.
Around this time of year and again in March, adult beetles land on your lawn, dig a hole and lay eggs.
These eggs hatch into larvae and it's these larvae that can damage your lawn as they feed on its roots.
In this way, the adult black beetle does very little damage to your lawn other than to dig a hole and lay eggs.
This means you should always target the larvae rather than the adult.
How can you tell if you have beetles?

Stefan explains here »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Yellow plants                                        

When the leaves on your favourite tree or shrub turn yellow when they should be bright green, suspect either a nitrogen deficiency or lack of iron due to too much lime in the soil. 
Try an application of nitrogen fertiliser first and if the plant does not respond within 2-3 weeks, spray the foliage with iron chelates. 
These are available from most nursery outlets.
 

Good growing advice

Small trees should not be planted directly into a very large container, as the potting mix outside the root ball will remain wet and inhospitable to new root growth. 
In this case, repot your plant into a container twice the width of the existing rootball and then bury this within the large container.
 

Trim time for late-season performers

Ornamental shrubs that do not normally flower until after Christmas will benefit from a trim in the next week or so, particularly if they are already producing vigorous spring growth. 
The list includes oleander, plumbago, crepe myrtle, frangipani and hibiscus,
However, the operative word is trim, removing no more than 10 to 15 percent.
Hard pruning late in spring is likely to reduce summer flowering and also result in exposed branches and leaves becoming burnt by the sun during summer.
 

. . . and a light trim for topiary and hedges

With topiary and hedging plants, the aim right now should be to remove tip growth (only) along with individual branches that extend well beyond the rest of the canopy.
Tip pruning will encourage the plants to cover their canopies with attractive new leaves but at the same time reduce excessive vigour.
More importantly, trimming now will avoid the need for hard pruning in autumn, a practice that invariably results in an untidy woody appearance.
 

From dust to mist      

It is surprising how much dust accumulates on the leaves of indoor plants. 
A build-up of dust can reduce the plant’s ability to breathe. 
Wipe the leaves with warm water and get into the habit of misting them in the morning during summer.
You may be surprised at the difference it makes.

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 advice please give me a call on ABC Radio Adelaide's Saturday morning Talkback Gardening  or ask at your local garden centre.
Saturday to Monday, November 6-8
Sophie's Patch spring open garden
Sophie Thomson's Adelaide Hills garden emerged from a cow paddock just over 10 years ago and many visitors visit annually, finding further inspiration as it develops into a beautiful, productive and sustainable garden to enjoy.
Prior bookings required under Covid-safe regulations. Book here »
More information »

Saturday, November 6
SA Plant Clubs' Open Day
Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Rd, Cowandilla. Plant sales & supplies. African Violets, carnivorous, cottage garden, scculents, pelargoniums and geraniums. Covid-safe cafe and sausage sizzle. $2 entry.

Saturday, November 6
Show me your garden: Private gardens of Medindie
Meet the Women of Walkerville at the corner of Briar and Willyama Avenues to be given the directions to explore three unique and inspiring Medindie gardens, within easy walking distance of each other, and not normally open to the public. Open 1pm - 3.30 pm. $10 entry.
The Women of Walkerville is a fundraising committee that holds events to raise money for domestic violence causes.
More information »

Sunday, November 7,
The Heritage Garden open day & book launch
Walter & Kay Duncan’s rose garden at Sevenhill, 12 McCord Lane, Gillentown, via Clare. 10 am - 5 pm. $10 admission, children under 15 free. Proceeds to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Book launch "A Tapestry of Shared Passions" at 11 am.
Tickets »  |   More information »

Sunday, November 7
Herb Society of SA – Herb Day Market
Fullarton Park Centre, 411 Fullarton Rd, Fullarton, 10am – 3pm  
Our biggest event for the year. The largest selection of potted herbs for sale, this is an event not to miss if you love gardening! Great selection of herb seeds and books. Herb identification – bring your plant sample along and let our experts help you to identify.
More details »

Open GardensOpen Gardens SA

Saturday & Sunday, November 6 & 7
Botathan
51 Hunt Road, Mt Barker

Tweed Cottage
54 Woodside Road, Lobethal

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.

South Australia's independent climatologist Darren Ray provides his three-month weather outlook for home 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
It’s hydrangea time!
A timeless, tradition favourite, shrub that will dazzle with flower colours of blue, pinks and whites!!! Now in-store & online.

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
Well we've all had a taste of spring weather this last week. Mother nature can take us on a roller coaster ride sometimes.
We hope all your gardens fared well with the recent hail. We are all about organic this week.
We've got organic South Aussie-made fertilisers, pest spray, mulches and beneficial bug-attracters. See you soon!

Always a great selection of plants, pets and giftware – all under the one roof. Open 7 days.
Facebook »

Barrow & Bench
Barrow & Bench Mitre 10
321 Unley Rd, Malvern. (08) 8272 8566
Plenty of advanced clipped topiary in store this week, perfect for dressing up your front entrance for the festive season, and for colour you can’t go past our fabulous range of spring-flowering perennials.
Specialising in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »

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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