From Jon Lamb Communications
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January 8, 2021
Tourmaline Intense Fuchsia (left) and  mandevillea Orange Coral.

Coming soon: Mandevilleas with orange blooms

New mandevilleas with iridescent orange blooms will soon be available in South Australia.
Mandevillea Orange Coral is currently being trialled at Poplar Grove wholesale nursery at Sellicks Beach and is expected to be released later this season.
This is a Jade or non-climbing mandevillea and is ideally suited for growing in hanging baskets and display containers.
The bushes are compact, very vigorous with excellent tolerance to weather extremes, pests and disease.
Poplar Grove Nursery is also trialing a new form of mandevillea, Tourmaline Intense Fuchsia.

Extreme weather delays tomato harvest

Tomato growers can blame temperature extremes during November and December for current poor fruit-set problems and slow fruit ripening.
While early spring bush growth has been described by many gardeners as the best it has been for many years, a short 40°C heat spike late in November had a devastating effect on fruit-set.
This was followed by run of below average temperatures during December, resulting in slow fruit growth and ripening.
According to Virginia-based, Complete Ag and Seed Supplies vegetable agronomist Dominic Cavallaro, when temperatures climb beyond 35°C, tomato fruit-set is disrupted.
The plants respond by producing new growth at the expense of flowers.

More tomato-growing advice from Dominic on ABC Radio Talkback Gardening tomorrow morning.

Tomato growers have their say

Dominic Cavallaro’s advice follows an avalanche of “tomato fruit set problem” comments sent via text from home gardeners during ABC TalkBack Gardening last Saturday.
In summary, the majority of texts indicated early-season tomato plant growth was generally better than normal.
However, almost 60 percent reported little or no fruit-set after flowering.
A further 25 percent said their plants had not yet started to flower.
While just over 40 percent of the texts reported good or satisfactory fruit-set, generally fruit growth and ripening was much slower than normal.

Good gardening weather to continue

SA’s independent climatologist Darren Ray is expecting milder-than-normal weather conditions during late summer and autumn.
He suggests any high temperatures are likely to arrive in spikes rather than waves.
Rainfall through late summer and early autumn is likely to remain below average.
Best bet for good rains – mid February.

Late summer vegetables

A summer without heatwaves is what experienced home gardeners long for.
They know much-prized summer vegetables (including tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis  and lettuce) can be planted during such seasons and their seedlings will not be burnt to a crisp or severely heat-stressed before they are well-established.
As a rule, well-established plants with healthy roots and adequate water will come through a short heat spike with little damage.
The biggest challenge is managing your plants as seedlings during heat spike weather.
Feature plantsof the week

A leafy tropical showpiece plant named Hope

Hope is a philodendron – a tropical plant with extra large glossy green, wavy edged – elephant ear-like leaves.
Hope evokes the exotic lushness of a tropical jungle, but it is more compact and neater looking than traditional philodendrons.
As it grows, it produces lush clumps of stems and foliage making, it an ideal showpiece plant for the home or office or growing as a statement plant in a shady garden.
Grow philodendron Hope in bright filtered light to full shade and in fertile, moist, well-drained soil.
It also appreciates a warm, humid environment and a moderate amount of water and light.
Water regularly but avoid wet or soggy soils.

Hope philodendron are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

New mandevilleas ready to go

Traditional non-invasive climbers but with increased vigour. This results in more blooms, larger leaves and a much longer flowering season.
Colours include scarlet, soft pink and pure white (with a golden throat).
Unlike traditional mandevilleas, the Jade series are naturally branching, resulting in a neat, bushy shape (60 x 40 cm).
These look great growing in containers or in small gardens.
Jade mandevilleas thrive in SA’s hot dry climate, but they also have increased tolerance to cold allowing them to flower earlier and longer than earlier varieties.
Colours include scarlet, pink and white.

Agathe and Jade mandevilleas are in stock at Heynes Garden Centre, Norwood, Semaphore Pets & Gardens and Barrow & Bench, Malvern and should be available at other good gardening centres.

Best dressed citrus

Citrus love warm weather but their moisture absorbing roots are near the soil’s surface. 
These trees should be watered regularly (7-14 days) at this time of the year, applying 100 to 300 litres (according to size) each time.
Make sure there is a thick layer of mulch over their root system through summer.

Your first raised vegetable garden   

If you received a raised vegetable garden for Christmas resist any temptation to plant the entire vegetable plot at the one time. 
It may look good, but you’re likely to end up with too many vegetables maturing at the same time. 
Try to estimate the quantity you are likely to need over a two to three week period and plant accordingly.

Garden soil is quite unsuitable for growing plants in containers and particularly in raised garden beds.
Garden soil particles are very small and don’t hold nearly enough air to encourage healthy growth.
Quality potting mix is ideal for most containers. Look for the five-tick quality symbol on the side of the package.
For raised garden beds consider blending three parts quality potting mix with one part quality compost (available from garden centres).
The compost will help improve the ability of potting mix to retain moisture.

Roses listed for 2021 now available

Great excitement at Wagners Rose Nursery – they have just released their list of roses that will be available during the coming year.
These have been carefully selected by Brian Wagner for their colour and suitability for growing in South Australia.
Included in the latest list are two great David Austen roses.

Batsheba: This is a beautiful climbing rose with apricot-pink, soft yellow, shallow cups that have many petals turning cream towards the outside. Fragrance of myrrh.

Roald Dahl: A 2020 silver medal and Irwin Trophy winner. Produces an attractive well-rounded healthy bush.  Soft orange red buds open to medium-sized, perfectly cupped, leaf rosettes in classic apricot. Fragrance, fruity tea.

The full catalogue of 2021 releases is here »
WAagners Rose Nursery
Roald Dahl
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Why some plants are waterwise

Plants that get by with minimum water usually have an extensive root system capable of seeking out moisture well below the topsoil. 
In some cases waterwise plants also come with leaves that have been modified to reduce moisture lost through transpiration.
  • Avoid plants with large, soft green leaves. Invariably these have a high transpiration rate and are generally classified as waterholics.
  • Look for plants that have long, thin leaves or those that have grey or hairy leaves, as these are factors usually associated with low water use.
  • Select plants with similar water requirements for grouping together. This makes it easier to provide individual plants with the correct water needs.

Save water in the garden when summer is dry

With the likelihood of below-average rainfall this season, give high priority to applying mulch. Mulching is very effective in reducing evaporation and moisture loss.
Weeds should be removed as they compete for moisture and nutrients.
Where possible water early in the morning. This gives the plants an opportunity to use the water during the day when they are most active.
You can check if the plants need water by putting your finger into the soil. If it is wet, wait and recheck the next day. If it is dry apply water.
Check also that water is soaking into the soil. If it’s pooling on top or running over the soil, it may be hydrophobic – repelling water.
Applying a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner to the soil will help overcome this. 
If your soil is extremely water repellent, apply 100 ml of Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner to 9 litres of water (standard watering can) every 2 weeks until it improves.
More information »

White flies still a potential problem

Swarms of small, white flies are still being reported in some gardens. 
Adult insects often cause little, if any damage to plants despite the numbers.  But check the backs of leaves of soft tissue plants, particularly tomatoes and cucumbers for small, scale-like green insects. 
These are the juvenile, sap feeding stage of the white fly. 
If spraying is necessary, use a non toxic insecticide such as Ecofend ,containing potassium-based salts. 
Horticultural oil sprays (eco oil or Pest oil) are also efficient.

Stop the rot in tomatoes

Blossom end rot, a problem that causes the bottom end of the tomato to turn black is sure to be a big problem this season. 
It is associated with uneven watering, particularly letting the plant’s roots dry out. 
Water regularly, giving the plants a soak, not a squirt and keep the plants well mulched.

More on blossom end rot next week.
Irrigation Guide – Antelco

Not all micro irrigation fittings are created equal

Installing a drip or micro irrigation system must be one of the best ways of reducing water use in the garden.
But there is nothing worse than investing in a water efficient drip or micro irrigation system, to find you are wasting water when the fittings leak or blow apart.
SA based Antelco produces a full range of quality poly fittings and ratchet clamps. These are Australian-made, using only high quality plastics.

More information »
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm, Paul Munns

Soil pH – what is it and why is it important?

Sometimes, despite regular fertilising, watering and mowing, the grass in your lawn fails to respond.
While the grass is still green it’s lost its usual lustre and is no longer producing vigorous growth.
Lawn consultant Stefan Palm suggests when this occurs the problem may be linked to soil pH.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan considers soil pH. What is it and why is it important.

More information »

Protecting lawns from hot weather

Adelaide is about to receive its first sustained period of mid thirties and above temperatures.
Considering our current dry weather, applying a liquid wetting agent to the lawn this weekend may be well worthwhile.
This should be applied during the cooler part of the day and followed by a deep watering.
According to Stefan Palm, this should do wonders for protecting your lawn from heat.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Vegetable tonic

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

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 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.

Discover why home garden tomato crops are not setting and fruit growth is slow.
Virginia-based Complete Ag and Seed Supplies vegetable consultant, Dominic Cavallaro, joins the program to discuss this season’s vegetable growing 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
Loud and proud tropical colour! Nothing says "look at me" more than a vivid hibiscus bloom. Full of fun and summer, these happy plants are a wonderful addition to your garden. Check out the selection in the garden centre or 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
The trucks have been rolling in full of loads of fresh fruit trees, beautiful indoor plants and a scrumptious range of indigenous edibles. We are full of fabulous things to see and buy. Unpacking new indoor pots as we speak. See you soon. Happy New Year!
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
The heat is on – we have your garden covered!  From shade cloth, mulches, wetting agents to Drought Shield, we have the solution for you.
Specialises in providing quality plants and expert garden advice. Follow the Instagram feed »
Weather forecasts

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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