Garden Radio Round Up March 18 - 1918 March 2017 Graham Ross
It's a tale of two countries with Sydney receiving yet more rain whilst most of Queensland is dry as a potato chip!
We're hoping to get some of our march jobs done in the garden today in between showers.
Essential gardening kit in Sydney at present!
It's Time To: Order your bulbs
In the temperate zone
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.
In the sub-tropics
Select bulbs from catalogues wisely. For warm areas choose Crinum, Cyrtanthus, Habranthus, Hippeastrum, Hymenocallis, Rhodophioala, Scadoxus, Sprekelia, Tuberose, Tulbaghia and Zephyranthus. All of these are reliable and will provide decades of enjoyment, bulking up quickly to allow for breathtaking mass plantings.
Time to order your spring bulbs and get ready for planting in April. Photo - Schippers/Shutterstock.
Free draining soil for grevillias
Growing your grevilleas in well drained soils is the key to success. In areas with clay soils you will need to build up the soil to knee height to improve the drainage before the grevilleas will do well. Feed with a specialised native plant food like Bushtucker from Neutrog. Prune lightly from day one and often after every flush of flowers to avoid legginess. Pruning a little and often will extend the length of your grevilleas life and create a handsome compact bush. You may need to sacrifice some flowers for the sake of pruning, but they'll quickly bounce back with more.
Good old 'Peaches and Cream' is one of our all-time favourite grevillea varieties. Photo - Linda Ross
Callistemon 'Harkness' grows into a round shrub to about 5 metres high and 3-4 metres wide. Its leaves are oblong and lanceolate, up to 13 cm long and light green, bronze coloured when young. It has large bright red bottlebrush flowers, which are most prolific if the plant is in full sun. Flowers are borne in spring, from late August to November, and often again in autumn. They flower most profusely after two years' growth.
Find C. 'Harkness', and lots of other bottlebrush varieties at the Sydney Wildflower Nursery, or at their stall at the Collectors' Plant Fair, April 8 & 9 at Hawkesbury Race Club in Sydney's west.
Moss and lichen
Trees covered in moss and lichen are no less healthy than those without. In fact growth of lichen on trees is an indicator that the air in your garden is fresh and clean.
Lichen is a symbiotic opportunist. That is, it lives in harmony with the tree. Photo - Graham Ross
Back when every back yard in the suburbs had an incinerator moss and lichen was uncommon unless you lived in the country, but now, particularly after long periods of rain, moss and lichen will grow on just about anything in a shaded, slow drying position.
....And quite pretty too! Photo - Graham Ross
Come away with us
Mexico's giant agave
Mexico has given us some fabulous plants - many produce a few of Linda's favourtite things like Chocolate, vanilla and tequila. Linda was always going to love the place. The giant agave that produces Mexico's most famous spirit in the west has a relative in the east that built an empire.
It’s called Agave sisalana after Sisal, the port town in Spain where the agave was taken to make rope, and and where the rope factories established. Agave sisalana powered the Spanish armada of the 16th and 17th centuries and Spanish haciendas still dot the landscape here as a reminder that sisal was a vital resource until it was replaced by plastic fibre rope after World War II.
Fibre from the Agave sisalana drying to make rope or carpet.
And the thing that makes a visit to these hasiendas today so wonderful is the incredible cenotes.
A cenote is a giant circular limestone sinkhole filled with crystal clear water. Hasiendas were always built near one, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula has more that 7000 cenotes and some you can swim in! Sunlight illuminates the blue water, small waterfalls create rainbows between hanging vines. Jump in, then float on your back and watch the rainforest circling the sky. It’s an amazing experience and Linda can’t wait to do it again on the Mexico and Cuba tour later this year.
The stunning cenote at 'Ik Kil' near Chichen Itza, Mexico. Photo - Linda Ross
GardenReleaf this weekend
GardenReleaf is an industry initiative to help get more people out in the garden to improve their physical and mental health. And there are loads of things happening this weekend to promote it.
Gardeners have known forever that they feel better when they spend time in their gardens, now there is scientific proof to back this up. We can work all day in our gardens but we don't think of it as work. It's this interaction with the outdoors and nature that our bodies crave. It just makes us feel better and the physical activity keeps us alive.
We encourage you to get involved with GardenReleaf, which is celebrating National Blueberry Day tomorrow, March 19. Head into your nearest participating Garden Centre for ideas and inspiration on how you, your family or your loved ones can get involved with gardens and gardening. The day will also be used to raise funds to support the work of beyondblue. Go to the GardenReleaf website to find your nearest participating store.
Tim's Garden Centre in Campbelltown is getting in on it this weekend. Check out their facebook page for more info.