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It’s time to: Temperate Gardens in March

With the onset of cooler conditions we're planting, dividing and feeding up the autumn garden in March.

Elizabeth Swane has many more jobs for you to do now to get your temperate zone garden ready for Autumn


Echibeckia 'Summerina'. It's a cross between Rudbeckia and Echinacea. Photo - Plants Management Australia


It's Time To:

Plant autumn hues in gardens and pots.

Look for Echibeckia ‘Summerina’ which is an intergeneric cross between the perennial Rudbeckia and annual Echinacea. It flowers for a long period in a range of rich oranges, rusty browns and mellow yellows with dark centres. As a bonus, the flowers attract bees and beneficial insects. The one here is ‘Summerina Sunflare’.


Check out Rose Introducers Australia

Bury your nose in a gloriously fragrant rose at the Rose Introducers Australia display during Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Wednesday March 27 – Sunday April 2 at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. Meet the growers, see the latest rose releases and reserve your favourites for winter mail order.


Feed 'em up

Feed hedges, flowering plants such as roses, camellias and magnolias, and fruiting plants such as citrus using an organic based fertiliser to promote foliage, flowers or fruit. While you’re at it, boost the value of your mulches with a generous dose of milled cow manure. Water everything in well.


Choose a Camellia sasanqua

The hardiness of these beautiful shrubs is often underestimated. Once established these upright, steady growers are tough, reliable and handsome autumn-flowering screen plants. A light trim after flowering will keep them in shape.


Grow paper daisies

Sow a packet of everlasting or paper daisy seeds directly into sunny garden beds. Lightly cover with seed raising mix and keep moist. Liquid feed fortnightly from late winter for a glorious spring display.


Divide and conquer

Dig up and divide bearded iris and discard the large ‘mother’ rhizome in the middle as it is spent and won’t re-flower. Replant and top dress with a small amount of slow-release rose food.


Mail-order Bulbs

Select and order mail-order spring bulbs now, but delay planting until late April when the weather is cooler. Store bulbs in a cool dry place (or in the refrigerator crisper if there’s room) until then.


Spread the lime

Apply a dose of lime - a cup per square metre - around Mediterranean plants such as lavender and rosemary. A light trim will keep these plants bushy.

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Author: Elizabeth Swane