Autumn has arrived and along with it, some welcome rain and cooler weather. Now we are back to level 1 water restrictions people can water gardens using a hand-held hose fitted with a trigger nozzle before 10am and after 4pm.
Autumn is the perfect season for planting new plants because the weather is cooler and the soil is still warm from summer, meaning plants have a long time to settle in before next summer. Now is an ideal time to get back into the garden, prune back unruly summer growth, remove dead plants, dig in plenty of compost and get planting.
Banksias are an attractive Australian native plant with tough, often serrated leaves and large cones of stiff wiry flowers. They range from ground covers, to low growing shrubs and small trees, and are great plants to attract bees and nectar feeding birds to the garden. Banksias prefer a sunny spot with free-draining soil. They are quite happy in sandy soils, but will appreciate a little organic matter being added. If the soil is heavy clay based or poorly drained, add gypsum and fork in well to improve drainage and consider planting into a raised mound of well-drained soil. Apply seasol in the first few weeks after planting to help settle it in to its new home. Mulching around the base of the plant with organic mulch is also beneficial. Water regularly, once or twice a week, until established and then water as required. Feed them each spring and autumn with a specialised native plant fertiliser that is low in phosphorus. To help keep banksias tidy and compact, prune off the spent flower heads each year. However, limit severe pruning into older stems as this can reduce next year's flowers.
With the change of season, it's time to change over to cooler annuals and vegetables. Pull out your old spring/summer annuals that are dying off and replace with fresh autumn annuals such as, pansies, primulas, polyanthus, cornflowers, nasturtiums and marigolds. In the vegie patch it's time to put in brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Other vegies also to plant now include carrots, celery, English spinach, lettuce, onions, silver beet and beetroot. Why not plant some fresh herbs in your patch like parsley, basil, coriander, rosemary, oregano and thyme? Before planting make sure you dig over your old soil, add plenty of new compost, manure and or blood and bone. Finish off with a good layer of organic mulch.
March gardening tips:
- Plant spring flowering bulbs
- Trim and prune hedges and plants
- Give your whole garden a good feed with an all-purpose fertiliser
- Feed your lawns and top dress any bare patches. Look out for infestations of armyworms and black beetle and treat accordingly with a targeted granular insecticide.
- Plant new trees and plants. By planting now, plants will have time to establish before next summer.
Courtesy of Glenbrook Village Nursery, 20 Ross Street, Glenbrook.