From Jon Lamb Communications
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October 9, 2020

Planting dilemma as soil temperatures crash

Garden soil temperatures plummeted this week and, with constant showery weather, the planting of summer vegetables (and in fact most gardening) has come to a sudden halt.
Topsoil temperatures in Adelaide (10 cm) are currently hovering between 11 and 14ºC.
Sadly these temperatures are currently well short of the all important 16°C needed for healthy summer vegetable growth.
What we need is a sustained spell of warm weather. However, weather models suggest more showers late next week with only mild temperatures to follow.

Measuring soil temperatures   

Keen gardeners may care to invest in a steel tipped soil thermometer (available from larger garden outlets).
Traditional glass tipped thermometers are suitable – but take care as the tips are easily broken.

Daily soil temperatures for Adelaide are available from the Bureau of Meteorology »

   Citrus gall wasp alert   
Weekend spraying recommended

Citrus gall wasps are about to emerge and invade trees across Adelaide.
The wasps will begin emerging from their overwintering galls just after next weekend (October 21) and reach a peak around November 6, with the final wasps emerging mid November.
Gardeners with galls on their citrus trees will need to act quickly (i.e. this weekend) if they intend to prevent emerging wasps from re-invading and laying eggs.
Within 3 days of emerging, female wasps will mate and lay up to 100 eggs (in bundles), under the bark of soft new branches.
The wasp emergence dates are from the National Citrus Industry gall wasp control program and modified for Adelaide conditions by SARDI entomologist, Greg Baker.

Two effective control strategies

Both strategies involve spraying trees with products that will deter the wasps from laying their eggs and reinvesting their citrus trees. Timing of these sprays is critical.
Kaolin clay: This is a new product based on kaolin clay. It is mixed with water and sprayed over the trees canopy.
In citrus research trials kaolin clay has achieved 95 percent suppression of citrus gall wasp.
In South Australia kaolin based products are sold as Vasilis Citrus Gall Wasp Spray, available through many garden centres.

Horticultural oil: Available as eco-oil and pest oil is not as effective as kaolin. (Follow spray directions)
Feature plantsof the week

Have you discovered the Bacopa yet?

Bacopa is a versatile garden plant that can be used as a vigorous groundcover or as a trailer.
They look magnificent growing in a sunny or semi-shaded pots, hanging baskets or window boxes.
As soon as the weather warms up, these plants begin to grow quickly and cover themselves in buds and blooms.
Feed bacopas regularly to keep up with their rapid growth.
Yellowing foliage and the slowing of flower growth are signs that your bacopa plant is starting to get hungry.
It may take a few weeks for these plants to get back into gear—but once they do, you won't even notice that they took a break.
Bacopa are grown by Easy Colour and available in pink, blue and white.
Look for the distinctive purple Easy Colour four-cell packs.
These are bigger than traditional punnets, while the root system is more established to help reduce transplant shock.
Easy ColourBacopa are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.
Hemerocalis day lilies – Aztec Gold (left) and Red Rum.

Easy care day lillies – tough but colourful

Aztec Gold, Red Rum and Macia Faye belong to a great series of compact, dwarf day lilies selected for their large colourful flowers and an ability to continue blooming well after the main flowering season in spring.
These are Echo day lillies and they are one of the toughest and easiest colour plants to grow, with excellent tolerance to heat drought and rain.
These day lillies are ideal for creating easy-care colour in your courtyard and they will produce a colourful display when mass planted in gardens.
  • Aztec Gold, golden yellow 9 cm single blooms on 40 to 45 cm stems.
  • Red Rum, rusty red flowers (10 cm) with yellow ribs and gold throat.
  • Macia Faye, mid pink flowers, white ribs and yellow eye.
Proven WinnersDay lillies are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Open Gardens SA resumes spring season

Open Gardens SA can at last welcome visitors to its 2020 spring season, as the SA Health Department has now allowed the organisation to open as public gardens, avoiding the limitations placed on residential gardens.
OGSA will follow a Covid Safe Plan, with suitable distancing.
Details in our What's On This Weekend listings below.
Please check with the Open Gardens web site before visiting, in case there has been any change in Health Department regulations.

New season potted roses now available

Popular rose varieties bursting with new spring growth and beautifully presented in their pots, are now available for planting.
These are grown by Knight's Roses. They are very healthy and some are starting to bloom.
You can order online or contact the Knights Roses retail sales team by phone or email.
These are described as amazing roses – ideal for giving as a Christmas gift. You can also visit Knight's Roses and check out the current potted rose range.
Some of the roses available include Always Remember, Chippendale, Iceberg, Leonardo Da Vinci, Love You, Peter Brock Foundation Rose, Pink Moon, SACWA Rose and Winx.
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.
Knight's potted roses – Always Remember (left) and Iceberg.

Be wary of black spot on roses

After this week’s rain and with more showery weather to follow, don’t be surprised if the older leaves on your rose bushes suddenly develop black spots and start to turn yellow.
Black spot is a fungus disease that thrives in mild to warm showery conditions.  
A serious infection can cause significant leaf drop. 
Further infections may result in weakened growth and sometimes die-back. 
Where black spot is concerned, spraying as soon as the first telltale signs appear is certainly warranted. 
Sprays containing triforine, mancozeb or copper are all effective at preventing this fungus, but so too is milk – one part milk (any kind) diluted in 10 parts water.
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A good time to plant tasty herbs

Early spring is an ideal time to establish most of the popular culinary herbs. 
Herbs grow particularly well in a raised garden bed, although many gardeners are now making a selection of their favourites and placing these in a large attractive planter box located close to the barbeque or back door.
Combo packs that offer four or six different herbs in the one seedling container are also worth considering.

Family favourites
  • Basil –  Many different flavours but common basil is still the most popular.
  • Parsley – Two main types.  Curl leaf is popular, Italian flat leaf has sweeter taste.
  • Coriander – Warm peppery flavour.  Grows rapidly but quick to run to seed.  Worth planting regularly.
  • Chives – Traditional onion-like leaves (and flavour) that can be harvested over a very long period. 

These house plants have colour

House plants with variegated leaves are very useful when it comes to interior decorating. 
But be aware, there is less green in the leaves to react with the light.
These plants are best used in brightly lit rooms or placed as close as possible to a window. 
Those that do well as indoor plants include the variegated Devils Ivy or Pothos (Epipremnum) as well as variegated forms of Dracaena , philodendron, and Schefflera (dwarf umberella tree).
Yyayes possum repellent

New plant-based spray to repel possums

A new, scientifically-backed, plant-based possum repellent is now available.
The repellent is being presented as a spray and contains a combination of ingredients that have been shown to effectively deter possums from browsing on a wide range of plants.
The repellent, developed by University of Melbourne zoologist (and keen gardener) Prof Lynne Selwood, has been patented by the University and is now being manufactured and distributed by Yates.
Yates recommends the product should be sprayed thoroughly over target plants, particularly on new growth.
This should be applied every seven days or after rain.
Re-treatment timing can then be extended as possum behaviour changes.
The spray should be applied late afternoon or early evenings as most possum activity occurs at night.
Yates Possum Repellent Spray should now be available from most garden outlets.

More information »

Instant plant warmers for established tomatoes

Early-planted tomato seedlings can be kept warm by covering individual plants with PVC cordial and soda bottles.
Simply unscrew the lids, cut away the base (a serrated bread knife is usually effective) and place the containers over your prized summer vegetables.
In effect you’re creating a mini glasshouse.
During the day the sun’s rays will be trapped, heating both the air inside the container and the top few centimetres of soil.

Plastic tunnels

An alternative is to buy a few sheets of clear corrugated roofing PVC.
Place the sheet so it forms a tunnel over your seedlings, use wooden stakes to keep the tunnel in place.
At night time and on cold and windy days keep the ends of the tunnel blocked to help retain the heat.
Plastic tunnels can increase soil temperatures by 3-5ºC and are very effective in encouraging early spring growth.

Colourful iris best planted in a group

The secret of producing a great display of bearded iris is to grow a number of the same variety in a group. 
If space permits, vary your selection across early, medium and late blooming varieties to create an extended flowering period. 
Iris are very easy to grow. 
They will certainly survive considerable neglect but flower best when attention is given to meeting two basic needs – plenty of sun and free-draining soil.

Matching plants to containers

When selecting containers for courtyard and indoor plants , give thought to matching plant shape to that of the container ie tall with tall, round with round. 
Another useful guide is the one-third, two-third rule ie total height equals one-third container, two-thirds plant or two-thirds container, one-third plant. 
Both are simple rules but aesthetically they can make a big difference.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns
Sowing lawn seed

It’s a good time for sowing lawn seed

If you are planning a new lawn this season and looking to carry out this task as cost effectively as possible – consider starting your lawn from seed.
It may be showery at the moment but, as turf advisor Stefan Palm points out, there is now plenty of moisture in the topsoil, creating ideal conditions for germinating lawn seed and getting the lawn off to a good start.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan considers the important task of choosing the right lawn variety for your garden.
He also provides practical advice on how much it will cost and what you need to do to achieve success.

More information and Stefan's video guide here »
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Do your plants need repotting?

After growing in the one container for a number of years, many plants need re-potting.
Often, essential trace elements in the original potting mix have been used and, in many cases, you will find the volume of roots within the container are larger than the potting mix can sustain.

Small and medium sized containers: These can be checked by inverting the pot and removing it from the root ball. 
If the roots are tangled or matted around the soil ball, it needs re-potting. 
Simply trim or shave the excess roots carefully so the main root ball is not disturbed. 
Re-pot into a slightly larger container using quality potting mix.

Large containers: Reliable indicators to whether the plants need repotting include; pale green leaves, lack of vigour, or roots poking through the container drainage holes.

Composts and soil wetters worth using

The practice of incorporating organic matter into the soil before planting and the use of soil wetting agents is now a widely accepted practice by South Australia tomato growers.
A recent Good Gardening survey indicated 85 percent of all respondents incorporated organic matter into the soil before planting, while almost 74 percent improved their water management by using a soil-wetting agent.

How good are animal manures?

Many gardeners prefer to use animal manures in the garden rather than a manufactured fertiliser.
Animal manures usually supply most of the nitrogen needed but they usually lack adequate supplies of phosphorus and potassium.
This is often reflected in the garden when vegetables, flowers and even fruit trees produce lush vigorous growth but few or no fruits or flowers.

Go easy on camellia fertiliser

Camellias by nature are slow growing plants.  Trying to speed up their development with fertiliser will be counter-productive. 
Top dress newly established plants with a slow-release fertiliser and then renew application each spring. 
Alternatively, add blood and bone when planting and perhaps add chicken manure pellets with added potash when you mulch the ground in spring.

Orchids in October

October sees the end of flowering for many cymbidium orchids.
This provides an ideal opportunity to divide and repot the plants before the weather becomes too hot. 
The three Australian native cyms and their hybrids will flower in the coming months.
More information »
Despite the changeable weather, potentially damaging conditions did no harm to the wonderful plants on display at the recent Orchid Club of South Australia Spring Show, results can be seen here »
More information from Trevor Garard on 0414 807 634.

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, October 10 & 11
Bonsai Society of South Australia Annual Show
Goodwood Community Centre, 32 Rosa St. Goodwood. Sat 10 am - 4 pm, Sun  10 am - 3 pm. Bonsai and Ikebana display and demonstrations. Bonsai, tools and pots for sale. Admission - gold coin donation.

Sunday, October 11
Dahlia Society of SA sale of dahlia tubers
The Sanctuary, Adelaide Zoo, Plane Tree Drive, 1.30pm. $10 each. Cash or card. Social distancing will apply.

Open Gardens SA

Open GardensSaturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11
52 Sheoak Rd, Mylor
An inspiring, hardy and drought tolerant garden created over more than two decades by its artistic owner. Bold sculptures and installations made from stone, fallen branches and other materials gathered on the property have been carefully placed to provide focal points in an otherwise informal garden which sits peacefully in its rural surroundings.
More information on the garden and directions »

Working Persons' Garden
11 Ringmer Drive, Burnside
This garden ticks many boxes: how to live with eucalypts; how to have a beautiful garden if you are time-poor; gardening on a slope and using a palette of Mediterranean climate compatible plants to best effect.
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 »

Weather forecasts

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC Talkback Gardening podcastsABC 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.

Planting ideas for community gardens
An outside broadcast from Upper Sturt with guest, horticulturalist and garden historian, Trevor Nottle.

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
Spring has sprung! Now is the perfect time to freshen up your garden patch and pop in some tomatoes. Basil is also in store now. Come and check out our range this weekend!
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
The whole garden centre is looking exceptional at the moment – there is colour as far as the eye can see. We are bursting at the seams with a new drop of beautiful fruit trees. See you soon!
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
Lovely weather for planting after this week’s rain means now is a great time to get your garden summer entertaining ready.  Plenty of beautiful flowering annuals and perennials in store.
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »

Coming soon

Saturday, October 17
SA Chrysanthemum Society annual plant sale
10 Lucknow St, Marleston. 10 am - 1pm.  An opportunity to buy and to meet other growers.

Sunday, October 18
Urrbrae Wetland open day
Cross Road, Urrbrae,  1.30 - 4.30 pm. Explore and learn about the wetland.

Monday – Saturday, October 19-24
Spring 2020 virtual rose show
In lieu of the cancelled Spring Rose Show 2020. Results will be published on the RSSA Facebook page after judging has been completed. Winning entries published on the RSSA website, RSSA Facebook page  and in the Bulletin after that date.

Saturday, October 24
Begonia and Fern Spring Show 2020
Klemzig Community Hall, 242 North East Rd.

SA Plant Clubs' open day
Western Youth Centre, 79 Marion Rd, Cowandilla. African violets, cacti & succulents, carnivorous, cottage garden, orchids, pelargoniums & geraniums. Plants sales & supplies, tea & coffee. $2 entry fee.

Saturday & Sunday, October 24 & 25
Bromeliad Society Spring Show and Sales Extravaganza
Maltese Cultural Centre, 6 Jeanes St, Beverley. Sat 9 am - 3 pm, Sun10 am - 3pm. Free entry.

Rose Society of S.A plant stall
7 Bluebell Court, Flagstaff Hill.10 am -4 pm. Miniature roses, iris, geranium, campanula, society garlic, daisy, penstemon, portulaca, scabiosa, liriope, marigolds, succulents, ginger plant, salvia, euonymus, carnations, hebe, petunias and ground covers  and more.

Sunday, October 25
Open garden, Langhorne Creek
La Maison du Vigneron, 18 Bridge Rd. A formal parterre rose garden at the front with a cottage garden down the side and a large pond and vegetable gardens out the back. Entry $8. Tea, coffee, plants & raffle, proceeds to the Langhorne Creek Bowling Club. Enquiries 0412 138 348.

Sunday, November 1
Open garden, Millicent
Byamee Gardens, 88 Blackwood Road, Millicent. 10 am - 3.30 pm. A large garden on a 6-acre property with several themed garden rooms. Live music and live artists. All funds go towards public art in Millicent.

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, 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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