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Garden Radio Round Up February 11 - 12

Extreme heat conditions for Sydney and Brisbane today and the garden will certainly need some care

A good early morning watering will help. While you're out there have a look for plants that can be moved into the shade

Dappled shade is a godsend in the garden when the weather is extremely hot. And nothing beats a jacaranda for providing just the kind of shade plants need.

This weekend on the Garden Clinic I spoke to 11 year-old, Dan Pickles about his fantastic initiative to save jacaranda seedlings popping up in public spaces in his local area from the council mowers. Dan has collected and raised over 100 small jacarandas and is selling them at Tim's garden centre in Campbeltown. Don't just take my word for it, listen to Dan talk about it in this web interview he did with his dad, Tim Pickles.


Watch out Graham - here comes Dan Pickles, gardening's newest rising star! Photo - Tim Pickles


It's time to:

Hold off feeding plants during hot weather. Many go dormant and fertiliser will only force them into growth, the last thing they want.

With temperatures predicted to soar during the next few days, many gardeners need to give their gardens some instant shade! The scorching sun will be intense. Just-burst foliage and just-planted seedlings or vegetables will be most at risk and in desperate need of 30+ protection. Firstly get up early and water plants most at risk.

Here are some quick strategies we use to protect them from scorch and sunburn.

1. Delicate Plants

After last week’s hailstorm many plants like begonia and fuchsia have been stripped off all their leaves leaving bare internal stems at the mercy of the sun’s rays. These plants are at the highest risk of blistering with high temperatures predicted. These plants need protection from beach umbrella now. Make sure it’s anchored securely.

2. Tomato fruit

40C+ days are a real killer causing tomato fruit to blister and scorch. Protect developing fruit with squares of muslin or light hessian (available on the roll from hardware shops) pegged up to your tomato stakes or framework. Take care to protect the western sides in particular.

3. Leafy greens

Getting leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach, to grow through the summer months is an uphill battle as they are prone to ‘bolt’ to seed before developing a good heart. Avoid this by choosing a shadier patch during summer (under a tree is perfect). Or build a bamboo structure and string up bamboo fencing above the crops giving them even dappled light. Ensure the western side is more thoroughly screened.

4. Potted plants

Bring all your potted plants over to the south side of your house, fill their saucers with water and give them a long cool morning drink. The exception is succulents and cactus – they’ll weather the heat. Bring all your indoor plants away from windows as they can also burn with the morning sun.


A little shade goes a long way! Photo - Linda Ross



Tea tree Web Moth

This insect attacks Melaleucas and Leptospermums, the tea trees.

The insect starts out as a moth who lays eggs that hatch into caterpillars or larvae. They collect in large groups sheltering protected inside a mass of webbing.

The webbing pulls the leaves and small twigs together for food and additional protection.

They generally come out to feed on surrounding leaves at night.

To control the insect prune off the webbing and discard.

Spray with a horticultural oil, Yates Naturasoap or similar insecticide


Melaleuca affected by tea tree web moth. Photo - Graham Ross


Come away with us

Gardens of Canada coast to coast, 23 July – 9 Aug 2017

Do you know Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday?

May 17, 1642 was the day when French settlers came ashore to found a missionary colony that would become Canada’s second-largest city.

So the city will spend millions of dollars in these celebrations.

Every evening at dusk you can see images from the past coming to life on city walls. Their majestic Jacques Cartier Bridge will be illuminated in coloured lights. And there’s a homage to Leonard Cohen at the Contemporary Art Museum. There’ll be street parades and outdoor concerts in summer, ice canoe races in winter.

What a party and we’ll be there in early August on our Ross tour of Canada Coast to Coast.

Michael McCoy will be your tour leader, host of Dream Gardens on ABC TV

Check out the full itinerary, Canada Coast to Coast, or call Ros and Royce at Ross Tours on 1300 233 200


The beautiful capital of the french-Canadian province of Quebec, Montreal.


Garden News

Eucalyptus limb drop

Brett Summerall and I discussed the phenomenon where perfectly healthy gum trees drop entire branches during extended periods of hot weather. I have noticed two branches falling from what looked like very healthy trees in my street just this week. This is a frightening and potentially dangerous habit big gum trees have that we all need to be aware of.

As Brett explained, in extremely hot weather large eucalyptus may jettison branches as a means of reducing demand for water and nutrient drawn from the soil.


Join VSGA as they Celebrate their 40th Anniversary!

Celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2017, the Victorian Schools Garden Awards (VSGA) continues to grow and spread the message of the benefits that gardens play in respect of student learning, health and well-being.

Last year the VSGA grants and awards programs distributed $50,000 worth of vouchers to be redeemed at NGIV retail member nurseries to successful schools across the state and provided another $19,000 in in-kind products. This year VSGA is hoping to expand its offering to Victorian schools, making 2017 their biggest year yet and is looking for industry support to join them by sponsoring one or both programs.

For more information about the Victorian Schools Garden Awards and our programs head to their website,