In The Garden This Week10 February 2018 Dan Wheatley
Summer is beginning to wane and special plants starting to bloom like the incredible rare and beautiful Empress of Brazil. Late summer gardens are lush with growth and heady with fragrance.
Spend the evening outside to make the most of the evening perfumes of frangipani, brugmansia and night-flowering jasmine.
Like most Brugmansia, 'Butter Bomb', pictured here, never stops flowering.
In the garden right now
Take time to admire
Pink Belladonna Lilies on dark stems send light fragrance into the air.
Ligularia shines with spires of yellow flowers atop jagged green leaves.
See if you can spot the tubular white-tipped red flowers of Epacris on morning walks near the bush.
Time to prune
Tidy up Geraniums, trim, shorten and pot up those prunings to make new plants.
Clear up spent summer annuals.
Keep deadheading your roses to encourage more autumn blooms.
Prune spent Lavender flowers and take the foliage back by one third to prevent woodiness down below.
Beat the heat with trees
In a summer season of extreme heat trees planted around your home, street, local park and urban environment is the most efficient way of reducing the temperature inside your home. Not having trees exposes your home and your family to harmful excessive sun, unnecessarily increasing the heat around your home and street.
When your home heats up you turn on the air conditioner increasing your power bills to keep cool. But trees planted on the western and northern side of your home can reduce that heat by a minimum 5-8C and more.
For smaller home blocks ask your local garden centre for narrow upright trees ideal for small ground space but providing elevated shade and shelter. There are dozens of perfect trees for those spots.
Graham recently discovered a small block with a flowering Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton) and an Ivory Curl Tree (Buckinghamia) growing in the garden. The trees create great shade, a spectacular flower display for us to enjoy, for bees to forage in and for the birds to feed on. Both trees tick all the boxes.
Expect the summer heatwaves to get more frequent and to last longer. Trees are the best solution to the heat problem in and around your home.
Illawarra Flame Tree. Photo - Graham Ross
Ivory Curl tree. Photo - Graham Ross
This disease is common in many crops and vegetables when warm temperatures are combined with high humidity. The white powdery threads occur on cucumbers and its relatives, squash, pumpkins, melons and watermelons. Beans, peas and other legumes are also attacked but the fungus is not just one but a number of fungal species.
Don’t overcrowd planting’s as this can reduce air movement increasing both the occurrence and spread of the disease. In the last quarter of the fruit or vegetables life keep the plants well fertilised and healthy and water on the ground avoiding overhead.
Previously very dangerous and even toxic fungicides were recommended controls. Today organic horticultural oils reduce the incidence of attack but Eco-fungicide will safely kill the fungal spores and stop it spreading.
Repeat applications are recommended.
Powdery Mildew. Photo - Graham Ross
In the Veggie Patch:
If you're lucky Zucchini Flowers are still plentiful at this time of year. Linda loves to pick armfuls of especially the female ones with the small fruit attached and stuffing them with as many cheeses as she can fit in, placing them on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil, it’s just a bit healthier than batter and deep frying, don’t you think?
Zucchini plants grow like triffids in this weather so long as they get enough water. Keep them up off the soil to prevent rot and fungal disease.
Linda picking zucchini flowers. Photo - Luisa Brimble
On the road: Come away with us
Just released: South Australia & Kangaroo Island
Hot off the press, we have just released an itinerary touring South Australia and the coastal wilderness of Kangaroo Island. We'll see gardens at their peak, roses mingled with iris and other favourites in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. Natural wonders of Admirals Arch and the Remarkables at Flinders Chase National Park.
Tour departs 12 November 2018. email [email protected] to register your interest.
Ross tours guide, Libby Cameron with the group on Kangaroo Island.
Heading north: Queensland Tropical Gardens
Fast becoming one of the best short get-aways, the Queensland Tropical Gardens tour will help beat the winter chills this August. We'll re-discover Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge and visit the amazing Botanical Ark. Come with us and see heliconia, lipstick palms, miracle fruit and palms in tropical glory.
The tropical fruit bounty at the Botanical Arc.
Ross Tours International Morning Tea
Join us for morning tea and a Tours Talk on the 2018 program including The Gardens of Italy & Sicily, Japan at cherry blossom time, Japan’s spring flower festivals, Grand Gardens of Europe, England & The Chelsea Flower Show, Rose Gardens of England & Hampton Court Flower Show, Singapore Garden Festival & our Australian Tours.
Where? 83 Beecroft Rd, Beecroft NSW 2119 ( a 5 minute walk from Beecroft Station ) at 10.30am, on the Ross Tours website Ross Tours website. Stay in touch by subscribing to our monthly postcards and print out any of our tour itineraries. Can't find the destination you'd like to travel to? Send us an enquiry - we may have a tour going there later.
Call Ros or Royce at the Ross Garden Tours International office for further details and to book your seat.