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In The Garden This Week

A glorious mild spring weekend on the way with the chance of light showers. Perfect weather to spend some time in the garden.

Peak Jacaranda flowering in Sydney now and glorious clouds of violet are visible across the city, harbour and throughout the suburbs. Get out there and enjoy it while it lasts.


Sydney harbour framed by purple haze. Photo - Hamilton Lund


Begonias are back!

We love cane stemmed begonias. The flowers look like angel wings. Perfect in light shade or under magnolias. No troubling pests or disease. And they grow new roots quickly in small jars of water on your kitchen bench. Too easy!


Begonias are looking great right now, and they're easy to propagate from cuttings. Photo - Linda Ross


Mulch ado about nothing?

Mulching is all about making the most of the rain. If you were fortunate enough to receive the rain over the past days, consider sealing in that moisture by laying a mulch over and around plant roots. Check that the rain has indeed penetrated through to roots by digging down several inches and checking for moisture. If sufficiently moist, fabulous, water in a liquid feed and then put down a generous layer of sugarcane, bark or pebbles of your choice and then water in well. Should you find the soil dry, apply a wetting agent such as Eco-hydrate, followed by a liquid feed, a thorough soaking and then finally the mulch of choice. Remember that whilst mulch will assist in keeping the moisture in for longer, the moisture does need to be applied and re-applied regularly. A good soak once a week is generally sufficient for most gardens over summer.


In the bush garden

Waratah season is here

A swag of waratah cultivars available mean this much-loved beacon of spring can be found in any garden. The unique red torches of the New South Wales waratah flower in spring, attracting nectar-loving birds, as well as admiring friends, into the hearts of our gardens. Spring is the time to fully appreciate these flowers, and the perfect time to plant one.

Many different colours and sizes are now available including white and yellow.

Angus Stewart tells us that passionate plant breeder, Graeme Downe of Melbourne has used a rare yellow form of the Tasmanian waratah (Telopea truncata) to create a hybrid with the NSW waratah (T. speciosissima) called ‘€˜Golden Globe’€™. Graeme has been breeding waratahs for about twenty years and his dedication has been rewarded with the ‘holy grail’ of plant breeding a new colour.

Check out the wide and growing variety of new waratah cultivars at your local nursery this weekend.


Waratah 'Golden Globe'. Photo - Angus Stewart


What's on my vegies?

Recent rain means powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a widespread fungus that is carried by the wind. It multiplies rapidly in high humidity so thrives in overcrowded garden beds where the air circulation is poor. Identify it by the characteristic grey-white, powder-like mildew on infected leaves. Affected foliage withers, become distorted and dies.

To control its spread start by choosing disease-resistant cultivars, avoid overcrowding plants in shady areas of the garden, don’t use overhead irrigation late in the afternoon, and keep the area clean of plant debris that may carry the spores. Also try Yates Fungus Gun or OCP’s Eco-fungicide.


Watch out for powdery mildew after rain spells. Photo - Linda Ross