Summer is just around the corner and there are some wonderful things happening in the garden.
Hydrangeas are now coming into bloom after their winter dormancy. Best suited to the southern side of your house and garden, they can tolerate morning sun but protect them from any hot afternoon sun, which will burn their leaves.
Hydrangeas look good in garden beds but do well planted in pots. Plant in well drained, composted soil and keep the water up to them in the warmer months.
Prune them in late winter, and remove any old wood. They come in a range of colours such as pinks, blues, whites and red. Their flower colour can be changed by dressing them with aluminium sulphate for blue and lime for pink/red.
Another plant that features in gardens at this time of year is the NSW Christmas Bush, (Ceratopetalum gummiferum). An Australian native, this plant adds some red-pink flowering colour to your garden and is synonymous with an Australian Christmas. It can be grown as a tall shrub or small tree and grows to between three to six metres. Preferring well-drained soil and a full sun to partly shaded position, it makes great cut flowers.
Look out for Albery’s Red which has red-pink flowers, and Red, Red, Red Christmas as well as a new dwarf variety called Johanna’s Christmas that only grows to around 1.5m.
Kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos) are also looking their best at the moment. With their strappy leaves and tall, long flowering stems they add a sculptural element to your garden, and the birds love them. Available in shades of green, gold, pink, reds and oranges, they also make a good, long lasting cut flower.
Plant in a sunny position with good drainage, and feed with a native slow release fertiliser. Water well in the warmer months, but once established they can be drought tolerant. Good drainage is essential so be aware you can run into problems if there is too much moisture and humidity.
In the vegetable patch it’s time to plant your summer crop of tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumber, beans and chillis. If you would like some herbs, thyme, oregano, basil, coriander and parsley are all good for planting now.
As the weather starts to warm up the prevalence of pests and problems in your garden will be on the increase. Watch out for powdery mildew on your zucchinis and squash. To help keep this at bay avoid watering late in the day and water directly into the soil, avoiding the leaves. A solution of milk and water (ratio 40:60) sprayed onto the leaves may help.
- Article courtesy of Glenbrook Village Nursery, 20 Ross Street, Glenbrook. See the website: www.glenbrookvillagenursery.com.au