Radio Round Up September 12-1312 September 2015 Linda Ross & Sandra Ross
The early birds, Sandra and Linda, are back in the seat this weekend on the Garden Clinic with another jam-packed show.
So put the kettle on, climb into your favourite boots and get out into your garden. Spring is here and it’s time to get busy - so let’s get straight into it.
September: It’s time to…
Feed garden beds with an organic fertiliser such as Dynamic Lifter and apply a layer of cow manure or compost. Water it all in well.
Feed and water gardenias well. If old leaves are yellowing, water the soil with one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a watering can. For yellowing young leaves apply iron chelates or sulphate of iron.
Apply liquid fertiliser to bulbs as they finish flowering.
Prune spring-flowering shrubs, including native plants, as soon as they finish their spring show.
Prune hibiscus, oleanders and poinsettias before they start to put on spring growth.
A good haircut is just what the doctor ordered - and you get cut flowers! Photo- Dan Wheatley
Look after the lawn – aerate and feed, dig out weed infestations, particularly bindii, and then top dress any uneven areas.
Protect stone fruits by hanging fruit fly lures nearby.
Control scale and leaf miner on citrus trees by spraying with Eco Oil regularly. At this time of year Eco Oil is also effective against young bronze orange bugs.
Separate suckers from bromeliads and pot up to create new plants.
Blowing one’s own trumpet is not generally a routine for me, although my husband might beg to differ. But it’s hard to be humble when I look out on my coastal garden. And most of what I’ve planted, believe it or not, are natives.
Barely room for another flower! Photo - Linda Ross
Interspersed between the drumstick allium, statice, and perennial grasses the kangaroo paw are just poking their heads up through the foliage. The butterfly-shaped petals of the wall flower are the perfect little accent against the old timber posts of the potting shed. And my dutch iris are about to erupt in an explosion of lilac.
Wallflower, Dutch iris, Statice, Eremophila and Rosa Mutabilis, with the native hibiscus in the background. Photo - Angus Stewart
But the star of the show is the soft mauve-coloured, prolific flowering native hibiscus known as Alogyne. It rapidly grows to a medium sized shrub about 1.5m high and wide, and prefers a sunny spot. Try it as a specimen shrub, a hedge or even an espalier. Feed it with a low-phosphorus native fertiliser and water during dry times.
Once it starts it will just keep flowering flush after flush after flush. Photo - Dan Wheatley
My striped beetroot is ready to harvest now. We have been loving it in salads and around a roast chicken in the oven. We’re also eating the leaves with butter and garlic. Yummy!
Yummy! Stripey beetroot for dinner tonight. Photo - Hanna MacCowatt
Of course, it’s all about tomatoes in the veggie patch now, and you’re probably sick of hearing us harp on about them, but a little effort now will ensure you’re in tomatoes all summer long.
We’re giving away 'Hillbilly' seeds that I’ve saved over the past 6 years with Garden Clinic Platinum Membership this weekend, and these seeds you can’t buy at nurseries. ‘Hillbilly’ is a beefsteak tomato and has been known to grow as big as a grapefruit. Take note and give your tomatoes a fighting chance.
Plant your tomatoes deep because they will root all the way up the stem, then keep the water up to them. Water roots can grow down to a meter long. The only way I can ensure the water goes all the way down is to bury a perforated pipe, or an ‘agg’ line, down to about a meter deep before you plant. That way I can put my hose down in the pipe and water those roots.
Get your structure in first, don’t drive your stakes through the roots of your fledgling tomatoes. Set your beds up before you plant. Feed the soil first. Blood & Bone, cow manure, potash, Eco-hydrate, cover with a good mulch like Sweet Garden sugarcane mulch, then get the structures in. Once you plant your tommies water them with a seaweed solution like Eco seaweed and deep water through your ‘agg’ pipe to get those deep water roots down.
Pick off the early flowers so the plants put their energy into growth, not fruit. Get them up to about 1 meter before you let them flower, or feed them too much. Just water with seaweed in the early days. Once they’re a meter high, or there-abouts get the Harvest or comfrey solution onto them.
All this talk of tomatoes is making me hungry.
I've been serving up my cauliflowers whole, roasted and with a lemon, mustard and caper dressing (thanks for the recipe Neil Perry). Even my kids, who will not eat boiled cauliflower, will devour this dish and ask for seconds every time.
Whole Roasted Cauliflowerwith Lemon & Mustard. Photo - www.goodfood.com.au
Beecroft in Bloom is on again this week. And the ornamental pear lining each side of Hanna Street in Beecroft have come to the party, snowing petals delightfully all over town.
Also blooming beautifully at present the crab apple, Malice floribunda, with its blushed pink, voluptuous blossoms.
Wisterias are again coming to life, twining themselves around gum trees in my neighborhood (not so good for the gum tree, i know)
And my old favourite, Jasmine, is out now too. My daughter brings a little for her teacher each morning (teacher’s pet). To my surprise some people don’t like it, but I just love it.
It doesn’t take long in the garden to find powdery mildew. It’s a fungal problem that can be an indication that the plant isn’t doing so well, or perhaps isn’t liking its current position. Make sure the plant has good airflow about the foliage. Feed the plant back to health, as this is one of the most effective remedies for powdery mildew. If you are watering overhead and making their foliage wet, make sure that you water in the morning, which allows the leaves to dry out before the evening. Alternatively, try applying the water via drip or soaker hoses at ground level only. Use an organic fungicide like Eco-fungicide, because it won’t harm the beneficial insects.
Potted Garden: Potty about Pots
It’s all about the pot today. A nice pot contributes to the ambiance of the room and there’s lots of great pots on the market. Check out ‘Angus & celeste' pots in Melbourne.
Check out Gardenlife in Petersham, they have a great range of pots, including very interesting felt pots.
I’ve got my husband busy putting hooks in all over the house for my hanging pots (thanks Dan). I’ve planted them up with rhipsalis and let them cascade over the edge. Just spectacular.
Dan is hanging pots for me today. If I keep Dan busy he stays out of trouble. Photo - Luisa Brimble
Golden Wheel Buddhist Retreat will be open this weekend, it’s the first weekend it’s been open for years. Go to 405 Galston Road. You don’t have to book. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go to charity. There are just loads of blossom trees in full bloom right now.
Travel with us in 2016
We are looking forward to the launch of our 2016 tour programme this month at the Wesley Centre, Pitt St, Sydney.We can’t wait to see all of our travellers and lots of new faces. In 2016 we’re bringing some new destinations to the Ross Tours stable, like Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ireland. But we’re not about to forget some of our old favourites like the Chelsea Flower Show, France, and China. Join us at the Wesley Centre on Wednesday 16 September. Bookings are essential, so call Royce or Roslyn at Ross Tours to reserve your place on 1300 233 200.
Kevin called to raise the alarm, his daughter had her garden maintenance business trailer stolen from Richmond in the early hours of the morning with all of her gardening tools and equipment inside. If anyone knows anything about this grey-coloured, large box trailer, rego number V65603, please call police. We sincerely hope that its found with all her tools still inside. Good luck Kevin. Let us know how things pan out.
We had a caller on Sunday searching for a purple flowering wattle. We know that there is an Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’ but we are less familiar with the Acacia purpureapetala, which has striking purple blossoms. Its quite rare and is, in fact, listed as critically endangered on the Department of Environment website. This little wattle exists in a tiny pocket of the North Queensland coast and is estimated to only be as numerous as 500 plants. We don’t yet know if anybody is producing this pretty little flowering wattle. But watch this space – we’re putting the feelers out and will let you all know.