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It's time to: temperate gardens in September

Spring has sprung and Elizabeth Swane is excited about the promise of new growth in the garden and stunning spring floral displays.

Here She has a swag of jobs, tips, tricks and things to look out for in the temperate garden this September


Dendrobium speciosum in full flower in September is a spectacular treat to look out for. Photo - Robin Powell


Admire the Rock Orchids

Spectacular displays of the rock orchid Dendrobium speciosum, pictured above, are at their best in early spring. These undemanding orchids grow on rocks, trees or in well-drained pots and have impressive long flower spikes covered in numerous blooms.


Get into those spring jobs

Boost spring growth above and below the ground by nourishing garden soil with a layer of compost 35 mm thick and a dose of organically based fertiliser.

Tip prune camellias once flowers finish to maintain size and bushiness. Apply a controlled-release fertiliser to boost growth and water deeply during spring to improve next winter’s bloom production.

Tough, hardy, evergreen Rhaphiolepis, Indian hawthorn, is terrific for hedging or as mounded garden shrubs with pretty pink or white spring flowers. It tolerates extremes of cold and heat as well as salt-laden winds.

Bait or trap the snails that hide in the base of strappy-leaf plants such as agapanthus, hippeastrum and kangaroo paws.

Shear congested ornamental grasses such as swamp tails (Pennisetum), Miscanthus, native flax lily (Dianella) and tatty lilly turf (Liroipe) right to the base. They respond quickly, producing fresh new growth.

Tip-prune cold-sensitive fuchsias and hibiscus then follow up with a dose of fertiliser for flowering plants to boost growth and encourage summer flowers.

Plan ahead for summer colour by planting heat-loving perennials, including hummingbird mint (Agastache), long-blooming yellow sage (Phlomis), spreading feverfew (Achillea) and generous dahlias.

Rejuvenate potted plants by repotting into a blend of two-thirds quality potting mix and one-third compost. Apply a controlled release fertiliser to the soil surface and water in thoroughly.

Attract birds and beneficial insects into the garden. Plant bottlebrush, Callistemon, which blooms brilliantly through spring.

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Author: Elizabeth Swane