April in the Garden! Happy Easter 2021!

Hello Hello, dear gardening friends!

April usually marks the unofficial beginning of Autumn and the beginning of the longest season of the Kulin nation; ‘Waring’ or Wombat season! Unlike autumn, which lasts from March-May, Waring lasts from April to July. It marks the beginning of misty mornings, low temperatures and higher rainfall. Days begin to get shorter and brilliant fungi start to appear. And how can we forget the stunning change of foliage colour amongst Melbourne’s gorgeous deciduous plants!

All over the city, our giant trees are putting on a display of reds, oranges and yellows, their spent leaves colouring the footpaths and streets. Golden Elms and Ash are shining gold beacons, Scarlet Oaks and Maples produce vibrant lipstick reds and Japanese Maples start to really shine with varying colours, all on a single tree. This time of year is not only about colourful foliage. Camellia’s are beginning to flower, Native Violets are covered with upright purple flowers that the bees adore, Salvia’s and Gazania are continuing their summer flower display along with newly budding flowers of Pimeleas, Daisies and Alyssum.  

Free Weeping Cherry offer with Garden Designs!

Make sure to check out our Free Advanced Weeping cherry offer that comes with our Free Garden Design service by Chris! Click here to read more!

Preparing the Garden

Autumn is a very busy time of the year for gardeners. Soils still retain their summer warmth and become moist with more rainfall, making it a great time to plant and prepare garden beds. Free mulch literally falls from the sky with autumn leaves, which can be turned into the soil or compost, making your soil fluffy and rich, ready for planting. It is also a good time to turn in any aged compost and mulch, and remove spent summer vegetables, ready for your next crop. You may have already begun this process following our ‘March in the Garden’ article, but if you haven’t, you definitely need to get onto it now! It may not seem like it but this can take some time to do, but boy is it worth it.

What to Plant

Your garden is now becoming prepped for new planting. Deciduous trees, are best planted in autumn. The soil needs to be soft, well-draining and have minimal nutrients in it. Make sure you haven’t added any extra fertilisers into the soil before you plant a deciduous tree or shrub as this can give it a rude awakening. Deciduous plants are going into dormancy for winter and won’t require any fertiliser until late winter-early spring. Birches, Elms and Ashes make for great planting now. Weeping Cherries and Japanese Maples are ideal feature trees for a small suburban garden and are beginning to put on quite a show!

For the non-deciduous plants that are ready for autumn and Winter flowering, they will require some food to produce their beautiful blooms. Beautiful autumn and winter bloomers such as Camellia’s and Azalea’s will need a fertiliser such as Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser: Roses, Gardenia’s, Azalea’s and Camellia’s. The right balance of nutrients and minerals coupled with the correct soil pH produce the perfect blooms. If your flowers aren’t forming correctly or the colours aren’t right, it could be a pH or fertiliser problem so this is something to keep in mind when they first start to form.

It is not commonly known but autumn marks the start of the best planting time for natives. It is ideal to plants natives from autumn through to spring when the temperatures aren’t so harsh. And there are some absolutely iridescent natives that put on a spectacular show during this time of the year. Victoria’s floral emblem, Epacris impressa or Common Heath is currently putting on quite a show throughout the Wombat State and other forests. Though usually flowering in late autumn, it has decided to start early this year. Other stunning flowering natives include Banksia’s, which are much loved by cockatoos, Crowea and Correa. Click here to see all our Native plants!

Get your spring-flowering bulbs in the ground by the end of April. Refrigeration or cooling of bulbs in the soil during winter help produce taller flowers with better blooms in the spring. Some of the best producing bulbs are Daffodils, Tulips and Iris.

Fungi and Mushrooms

As the days get cooler and the nights longer, autumn provides a fantastic opportunity to throw on some warm clothes, get outside into the fresh air, and go mushroom foraging.

Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health. Riboflavin is good for red blood cells. Niacin is good for the digestive system and for maintaining healthy skin.

The mushroom season in Victoria depends on many factors, however, as from April to June are fairly ideal for foraging, with many tours operating during these months.

Important note about wild mushroom safety: While Victoria has a good variety of edible, wild mushrooms, the region is also home to a number of mushroom species that can cause illness and/or death. These include the yellow stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus) and death cap (Amanita phalloides). The Victorian Government’s Better Health website has further information on the risks of consuming wild mushrooms in Victoria.

You can also visit Facebook groups such as Australia & New Zealand Fungus Identification But always be cautious with online advice.

Mushroom foraging guided tours

Instead, look into mushroom tours offer a great chance to learn how to correctly identify edible mushrooms (and avoid the poisonous ones). Here are some tours that you could join:

-Mushroom Foraging & Lunch at lil’ acres,Woodend, Vic 3442.
-Maxs May Mushroom Meander- Red Hill, Victoria.
-Mushroomtours, Moorooduc.

Growing your own mushrooms!

There are several great workshop and mushroom growing suppliers in Melbourne that can assist you in this fun adventure.
-Milkwood (Online)
-The Mushroomery (In Person)

What to do if mushrooms pop up in the garden or pots?

Mushrooms growing in your garden beds or pots are an indication of healthy soil. The mycorrhizal/fungal network connect individual plants together and transfer water, carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients and minerals. The actual mushroom is only the fruiting body of that network and is responsible for spreading spores to colonise new places. They also assist to decompose organic matter and make it available to other plants. So if you see mushrooms or fungus growing in your patch or pots, you can safely leave them there. Inform your children that these are poisonous and not to eat them. Pets usually are not interested in mushrooms, but if you have a curious pet, it would be better to pull them out. 

Mulch

Mulch that was laid down in spring or summer last year should still be thick enough to protect your plants this Autumn, so you do not need to top it up. As a matter of fact, if your mulch has not broken down much and is still quite thick, i.e over 4 inches, you might want to remove some of it to keep about 1-2 inches tops. A thick mulch layer will retain too much humidity over in the cool and wet Autumn weather and create the perfect environment for a host of diseases, especially fungal ones, that will spread to and affect your plants. Excess mulch can be saved for later or be added to the compost heap.

The Vegetable Patch

Most summer crops that have provided a bounty of fresh veggies are now looking a bit scraggly, reaching the end of the lifecycle. They can be pulled out, chopped up and composted as long as they are disease-free. Some chillies, capsicum and eggplant can be left a little longer in the ground until they are done fruiting. You can try to keep your chillies and capsicum going over winter by having them in a pot, protected from the cold and frost over the coming months.

  • Harvest most of your summer crops because the cool weather prevents them from growing any more or ripening. There are many great ways to preserve excess produce such as Fermenting, Canning, Snap Freezing, Pickling, and Drying. You can also donate the excess to charity associations such as Foodbank and Fareshare. You can also look into swapping produce at swap meetups, which you can find via Local Food Connect.
  • Before planting Autumn and Winter veg, enrich your soil by top dressing with some compost and manure and let it settle for a week. If the soil is too hard from being baked by the summer heat, you can gently turn it over to incorporate some organic matter into it, which will make new crops grow better. If you have hard or clay soil you can also add some soil wetter to make water penetrate more easily and retain moisture.
  • Give new seedlings a good boost with an application of liquid fertiliser after a week and they will reward you later on.
  • If you are not too keen on Autumn or Winter veggies you can plant some green manure crops to allow your soil to improve while waiting for Spring and Summer planting. But if you are, here is a little list of what can be grown right now:
    -Greens such as silverbeet, leeks, celery, watercress, lettuce, rocket, spring onion.
    -Herbs such as  parsley, thyme, oregano, coriander etc
    -Asian greens such as Pak Choi, Kailan, Choi Sum
    -Brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts.
    -Root veggies such as beetroot, turnip, radish, parsnip, onions, carrots and garlic.
    -Legumes such as sugar snap peas and broad beans.

Check out our available range of vegetables and herbs.

How to ripen up your green tomatoes!

You can either ripen your tomatoes indoors or on the vine. You can coax the ripening process from green to red when tomatoes are taken indoors—a much better plan than leaving them to wither on their vines. The key to ripening tomatoes is a warm, enclosed and dry environment. Tomatoes need warmth to ripen.

  1. In the bag: To ripen a few green tomatoes, put them in a paper bag, close it up, and store them in a warm location in your home. Kept enclosed together, the ethylene they emit will stimulate ripening. You can add a ripe banana or apple as well to speed things up. Once a tomato is ripe, remove it from the bag and enjoy it right away. Check the bag daily for mould or rot and remove any spoiled pieces.
  2. Box method: If you have several green tomatoes you want to ripen, consider using a cardboard box. Place them in the box so they do not touch one another. You can add a ripe banana as well. Close the box and, as with the bag-ripening method, check daily for mould and rot, or full ripening, and remove those tomatoes.
  3. The windowsill approach: Try this if your tomatoes have already started to show some ripened colour. Simply put them on the sill of a window that gets sunlight. Inspect them daily for progress. You can also remove tomatoes you have ripening in a bag or box once they start showing signs of colour and continue their ripening on the window sill.

To ripen tomatoes on the vine you can try:

  1. Removing flower clusters. Pluck new flower clusters from tomato plants that have already set fruit. Removing flowers will direct the plant’s energy into ripening the fruit already maturing on the vine.
  2. Removing small or excess fruit. Pick small or excess fruit off of the tomato plant. Removing immature fruit or fruit you will not use will allow the plant to divert energy into ripening larger, already maturing fruit. Tomatoes that reach “mature green” size and have their first blush of colour can be ripened off the vine at room temperature.
  3. Removing some leaves. Pinch away suckers and lower leaves. Tomato plants almost continuously produce new shoots–called suckers–between the main stem and lateral branches. Pinch or prune away this new growth so that the plant can channel its energy into producing and ripening fruit rather than producing new leaves. Leaves just above fruit or fruit clusters should be left in place to protect the fruit from sunburn. Leaves low on the plant that turns yellow or brown or diseased leaves should be removed. These leaves are taking energy away from fruit ripening.
  4. Reducing water and food late in the season. Reduce water and fertilizer to encourage “mature green” fruits to ripen. Fertilizer–especially excess nitrogen–encourages new leaf growth at the expense of fruit growth and maturation. (Use fertilizer low in nitrogen 4-8-4 for tomatoes.) Reducing water as fruits reach mature size will enhance ripening (and concentrate flavour) and direct the plant’s energy away from new fruit set to ripening fruit already on the vine
  5. Some gardeners swear by feeding their tomato plants unsulfured blackstrap molasses, saying that the molasses not only provides tomato plants with energy but also makes ripening tomatoes sweeter and increases microbial activity in the soil. Use about a cup of molasses per two gallons of water, applying no more than once per week.

Pests and Disease

Humid and cool conditions can cause a proliferation of pests and diseases in the garden. Identify them early, treat them, and keep your plants healthy all through Autumn and Winter.

  • Leaf Miner and Citrus Leaf Miner. These are small nocturnal moths that lay their eggs on the underside of soft fresh leaves of citrus and other seedlings. The eggs hatch and the larvae rapidly burrow under the surface of the leaf, and it is these larvae that cause all the damage. The larvae feed on the epidermal cells of the leaf, creating a silvery snake-like ‘mined’ damage to the leaf, which eventually curls up. The best way is to control them is using eco oils, sprayed fortnightly above and below the leaf of plants.  This will also deter many other pests. A chemical/biological control is Spinosad (marketed as Success by Yates) is also reputed to be effective against leaf-miners.
  • Cabbage Butterflies and Moths. White Cabbage butterflies lay their eggs on our Brassicas, such as broccoli and cauliflower. Little green caterpillars hatch from these eggs and then get to work chewing holes through the plants. There are several ways to control them.
  • Netting- You can protect your young crop by covering them with netting that would prevent the butterflies from reaching them.
  • Companion plants- Plant some strong-smelling herbs such as lavender, sage, and rosemary seem to discourage cabbage moths from settling and laying eggs. Try planting them around the edges of your patch to form an odour barrier. You can also plant decoy plants such as nasturtiums, dill, and mustard, which will draw egg-layers away from your main crops.
  • Using decoy ‘Scarecrows‘- Cabbage moths are highly territorial and will avoid laying eggs where there’s already competition for food. Use little decoys around brassicas to send them somewhere else. Here is a great little printable template that you can use. Click Here to see the template. This template was created by the Australian Butterfly Conservation.
  •  Dipel – An organic biological insecticide which is based on Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, which is an insecticide derived from beneficial bacteria found in soil, on plant surfaces and also in insects. It specifically targets caterpillars and is safe for beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees.
  • Other Pests. Thrips, Mites, Scales, Aphids, and Whiteflies are other bugs that cause a lot of damage to our plants. Here is a very natural way of controlling them by using nature itself. Bugs for Bugs is a company that specialises in integrated pest management (IPM) and is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of biological control agents. Here is a great little chart for controlling bugs by using bugs.

Click here to see their website. Or visit their Facebook page!

  • Blackspot and Rust commonly affect Rose plants. If you notice any of those on your roses, you can cut them back lightly, remove the diseased leaves, spray the remaining leaves with some organic copper-based fungicide, and also fertilize them to encourage new growth and blooms.
  • Powdery mildew is one of the most commonly occurring plant problems at this time of the year. It is a fungal disease that affects plant leaves and stems, coating them in what looks like a white or grey powder-like substance. In severe cases, powdery mildew can even spread to the buds, flowers, and fruits of plants. A simple remedy is a good spray of the following mix: 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon dish soap in 1 gallon of water. Another option is a mix of 1 part milk with 10 parts of water. If this natural remedy fails to get rid of it, you can look into Sulphur based fungicides.
  • Root rot and Wet Feet are the most damaging ailments our houseplants can suffer from, and one of the most common. An infection can destroy a plant literally from the ground up. It spreads quickly, and without prompt action, it’s soon too late. Roots of plants affected by root rot may turn from firm and white to black/brown and soft. Affected roots may also fall off the plant when touched. The leaves of affected plants may also wilt, become small or discoloured. Affected plants may also look stunted due to poor growth, develop cankers or ooze sap. Once root rot is identified, you must determine if the plant can be saved. If the entire root system has already become mushy, it is too late to save the plant. However, if some healthy, white, firm roots exist, try to bring the plant back to good health by replanting in fresh soil with good drainage.Click here to read more about wetfeet.

 

Here are our top Specials for this month!

Feature Trees

Tall Hedges and Screening

Borders

Colourful

SUPER CHEAP!!

Indoors

Edibles

Modern

Natives

Climbers

Groundcovers!

We will update this list with more specials during the week, so check back in! 🙂

Click here to see even more Specials!

That’s all for this month! Thanks for reading our Gardening in April Article. 🙂 

See you in-store here at 1477 Sydney Road, Campbellfield!

Gardening in Autumn, April in the Garden. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Egg-citing Easter Sales 2021!

Hello Hello and Happy Easter dear gardening Friends!

Easter celebrates the defeat of death and the hope of salvation, commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus. The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

To celebrate Easter, some of us might go to church, organise an Easter egg hunt for the kids, have family over for lunch, or maybe just drive off for a long weekend getaway. Gardeners will undoubtedly make the most of the long weekend tidying up the garden, planting some Autumn/Winter flowers and veggies most certainly come down to the nursery to get some amazing deals!

If you want to do a complete garden makeover, now is the perfect time of the year with cool temperatures and generous rainfall. Plants get established very fast, growing big and healthy. Over the next two weeks, we are having an Egg-Citing Easter Sale! There are lots of fantastic specials in each and every category for your every garden needs! Take a look at our top specials for Easter! How EGG-CITING!

Easter Egg Hunt !

Click on the photo below to see this post on our Facebook page!

Conditions: The prizes are not exchangeable or redeemable for cash. Blob Succulents are only one per person until stocks last. Only 3 Golden Eggs to be found, with 3 Prizes. A Golden Egg Finder can choose 1 of the 3 Top prizes! We will request a photo of the winners with their prize for our social media. If there are no finders for one of the Golden Eggs, we will do a random lucky draw for everyone who liked, commented and shared this post, which is on our Facebook page! The prizes can only be collected from our store. If you wish to have it delivered, there will be a delivery cost.

Feature Trees

Tall Hedges and Screening

Borders

Colourful

SUPER CHEAP!!

Indoors

Edibles

Modern

Natives

Climbers

Groundcovers!

We will update this list with more specials during the week, so check back in! 🙂

Click here to see even more Specials!

 

Top 10 Autumn Trees

Top 10 Autumn Trees!

When we think of Autumn, the first thing that comes to mind is the magical transition of lush greenery to hues of red, purple and gold, which eventually drop from the tree and cover the ground like a mosaic carpet. This creates an atmosphere of warm, vibrant impressionistic colours that we all love. And it only lasts for a couple of months before it vanishes into the cold depths of winter.

Why do the leaves of trees change colour during Autumn?

As autumn approaches, trees begin to break down the green chlorophyll in their leaves into nutrients and then they redistribute these nutrients to their trunk and roots to store over winter. This keeps them going throughout the winter when sunlight is sparse.

The yellow colour seen in some autumn trees results from the loss of chlorophyll simply unmasking the yellow that was there all along. But red colouration comes from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has to be made afresh as autumn takes hold. Click here to read more about the science behind leaf colour.

Autumn colour garden

Four seasons gardens, UK

Here are the top 10 most beautiful Autumn Foliage Trees.

  1. Nyssa Sylvatica ‘Tulepo’ Tree
  2. Pistacia chinensis ‘Chinese Pistacio’
  3. Acer Palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ Japanese Maple
  4. Acer Freemanii ‘Jeffers Red Maple’
  5. Sweetgum – Liquidambar Styraciflua
  6. Claret Ash -Fraxinus oxycarpa ‘Raywoodii’
  7. Golden Ash – Fraxinus excelsior Aurea
  8. Scarlet Oak – Quercus coccinea
  9. Tulip Tree – Liriodendron tulipifera
  10. Chinese Tallow Tree – Triadic Sebifera

Honourable Mentions for amazing Autumn Trees:

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Nyssa sylvatica ‘Tulepo’ Tree

Nyssa Sylvatica ‘Tulepo’ Tree

The Tupelo Tree is a beautiful deciduous specimen tree with a pyramidal shape. A magnificent tree in autumn when the leaves turn orange to scarlet. Likes moist, moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun and tolerates wet conditions well. Also called the Black Tulepo, it has a fast growth habit and is a spectacular feature tree. Grows to about 12m high x 6m wide.

Pistacia chinensis ‘Chinese Pistacio’

Pistacia chinensis ‘Chinese Pistacio’

The Chinese Pistachio is a tree that offers the ideal combination of aesthetics and versatility for a wide range of landscapes. It bears fine foliage in a wide range of Autumn colours including bright yellow-orange, crimson or scarlet, and rich green in Summer.

Prefers to be placed in a position of full sunlight but can cope with partial shade.  This tree grows fast in suitable conditions, and will not grow above 8 metres tall. Once established it is very hardy.

Acer Palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ Japanese Maple
Acer Palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ Japanese Maple

The Osakazuki Maple is a large bushy deciduous shrub or small tree, whose foliage is green but turns to a brilliant orange-scarlet in autumn.

An Osakazuki is best placed in a position of partial or full sunlight and moist but well-drained soils. Grows to a height of 2-4 meters. This shrub requires low maintenance once established. Ideal as a focal point of the garden.

Acer Freemanii ‘Jeffers Red Maple’

The Jeffers Red Maple is a gorgeous maple that hosts some of the best Autumn colours around, with a blend of yellow, orange, copper, rust and vivid reds gracing its branches. It has a lovely compact shape and a single straight trunk that looks as if it has been pleached naturally (bare lower trunk). With a medium rate of growth, this tree will grow to 8m, is not too particular about the soil quality, is mildly drought tolerant and tolerates frost. Fantastic for a feature tree, in parks, on industrial sites or in avenue plantings, this tree is sure to please.

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Sweetgum’

Liquidambar Styraciflua ‘Sweetgum’

The Sweetgum is a well known, tough and attractive deciduous tree that is a good choice as a specimen for larger gardens and in park plantings. Sweetgum is renowned as a source of strong, extended autumn colour and makes excellent shade trees, where space permits.

There is a slightly different cultivar called the Liquidambar ‘Burgundy’ Sweetgum which resembles the species very closely but is distinguished by its exceptional purple-red to autumnal colour and by leaves that remain longer on the tree in the autumn

Another smaller option would be the grafted Liquidambar Gumball, which is a standard form that grows to around 2m tall.

Claret Ash -Fraxinus oxycarpa ‘Raywoodii’

Claret Ash -Fraxinus oxycarpa ‘Raywoodii’ 

An attractive, some say fast-growing deciduous tree with an upright growth habit and open canopy. The foliage is deep green and narrow in summer and as autumn approaches, turns a rich claret colour, hence the name. This is a beautiful tree with stunning autumn colours, tolerant of frost and drought. Mature height up to 12m high x 7m wide.

Golden Ash – Fraxinus excelsior aurea

Golden Ash is an attractive deciduous tree for all seasons, with a rounded crown. The foliage is a light yellow colour turning pale green in summer. In autumn the foliage turns a brilliant golden yellow that is the main feature of this tree. In winter the young branches are yellow with distinctive black buds. A stunning tree with multi-seasonal interest. It grows to about 8m x 5m.

Scarlet Oak – Quercus coccinea

Scarlet Oak - Quercus coccinea 

This lovely sturdy Oak is popular due to its spectacular Autumn display, when the dark green foliage turns to shades of orange, bronze and brilliant red, displaying more intense colour the colder the environment. It holds its foliage, sometimes into early Winter, and in Spring will produce acorns when the tree is mature. Similar to the Red Oak and Pin Oak, but generally preferred for its more brilliant Autumn display. Growing up to 12 metres, it would be best suited to a large garden and would look stunning as an avenue planting. It requires a position in full sun to part shade and is fairly adaptable to its surrounding environment.

Tulip Tree – Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip Tree - Liriodendron tulipifera

Also known as the tulip tree, American tulip tree, tulipwood, tuliptree, tulip poplar, whitewood, fiddle tree, and yellow poplar. The Tulip Tree is a beautiful tall tree with large leaves that have a lovely unique shape and smooth soft texture. A fast-growing deciduous hardwood tree, Tulip Trees have striking yellow-green orange flecked coloured flowers. They are solitary flowers that sit in the extreme-most upper branches. The flowers resemble tulips, hence the name. For an avenue, we recommend planting these trees 7m apart or for a screen 3m apart.

Chinese Tallow Tree – Triadic Sebifera

Chinese Tallow Tree - Triadic Sebifera 

Chinese Tallow Tree has rapid growth, precocious and prolific seeding, adaptability to a wide variety of soil conditions, tolerance of both drought and frost. This deciduous tree has an upright habit and is long-lived. Slender flowers are displayed in Spring. This attractive small tree displays round or oval sharply pointed foliage; that turn red in Autumn.

 

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Honourable Mentions

Here are a few more superb Autumn foliage trees that have little extra features that make them very attractive and popular.

Acer Palmatum ‘Senkaki/Coral Bark’ Japanese Maple

Acer Palmatum ‘Senkaki Coral Bark’ Japanese Maple

Also known as Sango-kaku, or Coral Bark Maple, you simply can’t miss the Senkaki Maple with its distinctive coral-red bark, which contrasts with its bright green leaves in Spring and Summer. Autumn sees the foliage turn gold and eventually, winter leaves you with a beautiful bare sculpture of a tree with striking red bark. One of the beauty queens of all deciduous trees. It forms a beautiful vase-shaped tree that grows to approximately 5m high and 4m wide.

Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’

Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’

The Forest Pansy is an incredibly beautiful small growing deciduous tree with colourful heart-shaped foliage. It is noted for its gorgeous rose-purple flowers which bloom profusely on bare branches in early spring before the foliage emerges, first red in spring, then deep purple-tinged green in summer, then turning all shades of yellow, red and orange in Autumn.

This tree requires low maintenance and is perfect for small gardens and courtyards. Should be planted in either full sunlight or partial shade and in well-drained soil.

Ginkgo biloba ‘Maidenhair Tree’

Ginkgo biloba ‘Maidenhair Tree’

The Ginkgo or Maidenhair Tree is remarkably known as a ‘living fossil’, as it is the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees that date back beyond the time of the dinosaurs. It is a perfect specimen or feature tree due to its long life and showy light green leaves which turn golden in Autumn. The leaves are an interesting ruffled fan shape.

The Maidenhair Tree remains virtually unchanged today and represents the only living bridge between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ plants (between ferns and conifers). Maidenhair trees can be extremely long-lived, the oldest recorded individual being 3,500 years old.

Robinia ‘Frisia’ Golden Robinia

Robinia ‘Frisia’ Golden Robinia

Golden Robinia has beautiful yellow Spring leaves which deepen in colour to a fresh lime-yellow during Summer, then turn golden-yellow in Autumn, before falling.

A visual standout amongst other trees, this Robinia tree is an all-round tough plant suitable for many different landscape uses. Whether as a magnificent specimen or a street tree in polluted and industrial areas, it grows with vigour and strength.

Parrotia ‘Persian Witchhazel’

Parrotia Persian Witchhazel

Also known as Persian Ironwood, Perssian Witchhazel is a slow growing, small deciduous tree. It features deep green glossy leaves with uneven shallowly scalloped edges, colouring to beautiful gold and crimson tints in autumn, and an open vase-shaped head on a short trunk. Suitable only for cooler areas in any reasonable soil with good drainage. Withstands dry conditions and exposure to wind once established.

Gleditsia triacanthos inermis ‘Ruby Lace’

Gleditsia triacanthos inermis “Ruby Lace”

Gleditsia Ruby Lace trees are proven as hardy street and shade trees, being fast-growing, heat and drought tolerant. They are well-suited for the demands of urban environments. The trees grow with an open, spreading canopy and have attractive, elegant, somewhat weeping foliage.

The “Ruby Lace” variety grows to a small to a medium-sized tree and is distinctive for its shiny foliage that emerges as ruby-red, turning bronzy-green and then to a beautiful yellow-gold in Autumn.

Smoke Bush – Cotinus coggygria

Cotinus coggygria Smokebush

Smoke Bush is a gem in the garden thanks to its unique blend of colours that change throughout the seasons. A large deciduous shrub or small tree, its beautiful eye-catching Spring foliage is green overlaid with purple. Summer brings deep purple foliage that then turns deep orange and bronze in a burst of glory for an Autumn show. Special smoke bush varieties offer variations on this beautiful shifting colour scheme.

Smoke bush gets its name from the clouds of smoke-like purple and pink “flowers” it produces in early Summer. These are very beautiful themselves and are prized along with the foliage by florists. Grows best in full sun to partial shade and it is tolerant of drought and most soils, making it a great addition to many gardens.

It is available in 4 different varieties which have slightly different colours.

Pseudolarix ‘Golden Larch’

Pseudolarix ‘Golden Larch’

A cone-shaped tree with soft green needle-like foliage, the Golden Larch is a unique tree in that it is one of the only deciduous conifers (pines etc) in the world. During autumn, the needles turn a golden yellow. It produces deep purple cone-shaped fruit in summer. Plant in well-drained soil.

Crepe Myrtle – Lagerstroemia

crepe myrtle autumn colours

Crepe myrtles are simply the world’s best summer-flowering trees. Intense flower colour, a long flowering season, good autumn colour, handsome bark and attractive spring foliage mean they are enjoyed in all seasons. They are deciduous trees or small shrubs that range in size from around 3-8m fully grown. Crepe Myrtle’s are popular due to their beautiful crepe-paper textured flowers, and the fact that they remain relatively small as a tree in most conditions. Flowers come in a variety of colours, from deep reds to hot pinks, purples and white.

 

That’s it for this list. Keep an eye out for our next exciting list: Top 10 Autumn Shrubs.

 

Autumn Garden Colour Folliage Trees. Melbourne, Victoria. Australia.

Hello Hello Plants. 1477 Sydney Road, Campbellfield.

Hello Hello Autumn! March in the Garden!

Hello Hello, dear gardening friends!

As we are reaching the end of Summer here in Melbourne, we can all certainly feel the cool change and the days getting shorter. We put on extra layers to keep us warm, enjoy our favourite hot beverage and make ourselves cozy for Autumn.  This is the season that reminds us that our bodies, minds, and surroundings are always changing. It represents the preservation of life and its basic necessities. In a way, the autumn season offers us a chance to reconnect with ourselves.

As we harvest the last rewards of Summer, we enjoy this generous bounty by cooking delicious meals and we also preserve extras for the cooler months. In the garden, there are beautiful blooms to enjoy. Crepe Myrtles are putting on a beautiful display, along with Hibiscus, Hydrangeas, Roses, Oleanders, and several others. Rhododendrons and Camellias have a few flowers and many buds that are slowly swelling up for a lovely Autumn bloom.

Before the leaves start changing colour, there are many things to do in the garden to prepare for a beautiful Autumn, so here are the main points.

Planting and Watering

With the lower temperatures, you can put any plant in the ground safely without much risk of shocking or stunting them. It is an ideal time for many summer heat-sensitive plants such as Maples, Weeping Cherries, and Birches to go into the ground. They will have over 8 months to get properly established for the next summer. Just make sure to water them adequately and keep the soil moist, but not too wet. This is the best time for a large property and commercial landscape planting. As of March, the rate of evaporation of water from the soil is less, so you can water your outdoor and indoor plants less frequently, or adjust your irrigation system accordingly. Watch out for root rot, which can happen to plants that have poor drainage or excessive watering. Read more about this lower in the Pests and Disease section.
Click here for a little guide on planting your store-bought plants.

Lawns

The heat of summer and dry weather can be very bad for lawns if they are not watered properly. This is a great time to repair any dry patches or any damage caused during summer.

•   The first step is to dethatch your grass with a rake to remove the accumulation of dead grass and long runners. Thatch is a build of dead grass leaves, stems and root which leaves your lawn looking unsightly after it is mown.

• Aerate your lawn with a garden fork or aerator.  Almost all lawns will benefit from aeration, and a great lawn demands it. That said, most lawns do not need it. Lawns suffering from heavy foot traffic, excessive thatch buildup (more than 1 inch thick) or grown on heavy soils will benefit the most.

• Top dress with some fine compost and/or lawn fertilizer. Rake over to even it out and water your lawn to settle it in.

• Worn out, dry or dead patches can be over sown with some lawn seed or replaced with patches of instant turf.

Mulch

Mulch that was laid down in spring or summer last year should still be thick enough to protect your plants this Autumn, so you do not need to top it up. As a matter of fact, if your mulch has not broken down much and is still quite thick, i.e over 4 inches, you might want to remove some of it to keep about 1-2 inches tops. A thick mulch layer will retain too much humidity over in the cool and wet Autumn weather and create the perfect environment for a host of diseases, especially fungal ones, that will spread to and affect your plants. Excess mulch can be saved for later or be added to the compost heap.

If you do not have any mulch, well, now is also a good time to add about 1-2 inches of it on your topsoil to protect your plants.

Fertilizing

Due to the frequent watering in summer, nutrients leach away from the soil, especially from pots and planters. Nitrogen or Nitrates are the most common essential nutrients that leach away, along with other highly soluble minerals such as calcium. You may tend to notice discolouration or yellowing leaves on your plants. The best way to prevent leaching is by top-dressing your soil with organic matter, compost, manure, plus a thin layer of mulch to encourage microbial and fungal activity in the soil. Mycorrhizal fungi create tiny root-like dense webs in the soil that hold on to moisture and nutrients. Most importantly, they create a complex network for nutrient and resource exchange between various plants.

Tender new growth that comes from fertilization will now also be fairly safe from sun or heat damage, thanks to the cooler temperatures. You can fertilize potted plants, garden ornamentals and trees, flowers, lawn, citrus and other fruit trees too.

Use slow-release fertilizers or seaweed solutions instead of traditional instant “NPK” ones. These take time to break down and give a steady supply of nutrients for a few months. Choosing the right fertilizer for the right plant is important as these contain trace elements that the specific plants require which are often scarce in normal soil.

Click here for a full list of fertilizers.

Click here to view a chart of various possible deficiencies in plants. 

Dead-heading and Pruning

After the beautiful first summer blooms, many of the flowering perennials are now covered with spent flowers, which are busy producing seeds inside. Some plants have a big flush of flowers at once, such as catmint, while others flower more consistently over the flowering period, such as daisies. The longer you leave spent blooms on the plant, the more resources or nutrients they utilize to produce seeds, and the plant will feel that it has completed its life cycle, i.e producing seeds to ensure the next generation. The best thing to do is to remove spent blooms as soon as the flower petals shrivel up. This will encourage more flowers to pop out. Very often the late summer/autumn blooms do not look as spectacular as the earlier ones. However, you can give those plants a beautiful last late Summer-Autumn flush of flowers by doing some light pruning and removing all spent flowers, followed by an application of bloom-promoting fertilizer or seaweed solution, preferably by foliar application, and also around the root zone.  Make sure to deadhead your Agapanthus early, to prevent them from going to seed, as they can get quite invasive.

The Vegetable Patch

Most summer crops that have provided a bounty of fresh veggies are now looking a bit scraggly, reaching the end of the lifecycle. They can be pulled out, chopped up and composted as long as they are disease-free. Some chillies, capsicum and eggplant can be left a little longer in the ground until they are done fruiting. You can try to keep your chillies and capsicum going over winter by having them in a pot, protected from the cold and frost over the coming months. 

 • Harvest most of your summer crops because the cool weather prevents them from growing any more or ripening. There are many great ways to preserve excess produce such as Fermenting, Canning, Snap Freezing, Pickling, and Drying. You can also donate the excess to charity associations such as Foodbank and Fareshare. You can also look into swapping produce at swap meetups, which you can find via Local Food Connect.

• Before planting Autumn and Winter veg, enrich your soil by top dressing with some compost and manure and let it settle for a week or two. If the soil is too hard from being baked by the summer heat, you can gently turn it over to incorporate some organic matter into it, which will make new crops grow better. If you have hard or clay soil you can also add some soil wetter to make water penetrate more easily and retain moisture.

• Give new seedlings a good boost with an application of liquid fertiliser after a week or two and they will reward you later on.

•  If you are not too keen on Autumn or Winter veggies you can plant some green manure crops to allow your soil to improve while waiting for Spring and Summer planting. But if you are, here is a little list of what can be grown right now:

• Greens such as silverbeet, leeks, celery, watercress, lettuce, rocket, spring onion.
• Herbs such as  parsley, thyme, oregano, coriander etc
• Asian greens such as Pak Choi, Kailan, Choi Sum
• Brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts.
• Root veggies such as beetroot, turnip, radish, parsnip, onions, carrots and garlic.
• Legumes such as sugar snap peas and broad beans.

Check out our available range of vegetables and herbs.

How to ripen up your green tomatoes!

You can either ripen your tomatoes indoors or on the vine. You can coax the ripening process from green to red when tomatoes are taken indoors—a much better plan than leaving them to wither on their vines. The key to ripening tomatoes is a warm, enclosed and dry environment. Tomatoes need warmth to ripen.

  1. In the bag: To ripen a few green tomatoes, put them in a paper bag, close it up, and store them in a warm location in your home. Kept enclosed together, the ethylene they emit will stimulate ripening. You can add a ripe banana or apple as well to speed things up. Once a tomato is ripe, remove it from the bag and enjoy it right away. Check the bag daily for mould or rot and remove any spoiled pieces.
  2. Box method: If you have several green tomatoes you want to ripen, consider using a cardboard box. Place them in the box so they do not touch one another. You can add a ripe banana as well. Close the box and, as with the bag-ripening method, check daily for mould and rot, or full ripening, and remove those tomatoes.
  3. The windowsill approach: Try this if your tomatoes have already started to show some ripened colour. Simply put them on the sill of a window that gets sunlight. Inspect them daily for progress. You can also remove tomatoes you have ripening in a bag or box once they start showing signs of colour and continue their ripening on the window sill.

To ripen tomatoes on the vine you can try:

  1. Removing flower clusters. Pluck new flower clusters from tomato plants that have already set fruit. Removing flowers will direct the plant’s energy into ripening the fruit already maturing on the vine.
  2. Removing small or excess fruit. Pick small or excess fruit off of the tomato plant. Removing immature fruit or fruit you will not use will allow the plant to divert energy into ripening larger, already maturing fruit. Tomatoes that reach “mature green” size and have their first blush of colour can be ripened off the vine at room temperature.
  3. Removing some leaves. Pinch away suckers and lower leaves. Tomato plants almost continuously produce new shoots–called suckers–between the main stem and lateral branches. Pinch or prune away this new growth so that the plant can channel its energy into producing and ripening fruit rather than producing new leaves. Leaves just above fruit or fruit clusters should be left in place to protect the fruit from sunburn. Leaves low on the plant that turns yellow or brown or diseased leaves should be removed. These leaves are taking energy away from fruit ripening.
  4. Reducing water and food late in the season. Reduce water and fertilizer to encourage “mature green” fruits to ripen. Fertilizer–especially excess nitrogen–encourages new leaf growth at the expense of fruit growth and maturation. (Use fertilizer low in nitrogen 4-8-4 for tomatoes.) Reducing water as fruits reach mature size will enhance ripening (and concentrate flavour) and direct the plant’s energy away from new fruit set to ripening fruit already on the vine
  5. Some gardeners swear by feeding their tomato plants unsulfured blackstrap molasses, saying that the molasses not only provides tomato plants with energy but also makes ripening tomatoes sweeter and increases microbial activity in the soil. Use about a cup of molasses per two gallons of water, applying no more than once per week.

Pests and Disease

Humid and cool conditions can cause a proliferation of pests and diseases in the garden. Identify them early, treat them, and keep your plants healthy all through Autumn and Winter.

• Leaf Miner and Citrus Leaf Miner. These are small nocturnal moths that lay their eggs on the underside of soft fresh leaves of citrus and other seedlings. The eggs hatch and the larvae rapidly burrow under the surface of the leaf, and it is these larvae that cause all the damage. The larvae feed on the epidermal cells of the leaf, creating a silvery snake-like ‘mined’ damage to the leaf, which eventually curls up. The best way is to control them is using eco oils, sprayed fortnightly above and below the leaf of plants.  This will also deter many other pests. A chemical/biological control is Spinosad (marketed as Success by Yates) is also reputed to be effective against leaf-miners. 

•  Cabbage Butterflies and Moths. White Cabbage butterflies lay their eggs on our Brassicas, such as broccoli and cauliflower. Little green caterpillars hatch from these eggs and then get to work chewing holes through the plants. There are several ways to control them. 

  • Netting- You can protect your young crop by covering them with netting that would prevent the butterflies from reaching them.
  • Companion plants- Plant some strong-smelling herbs such as lavender, sage, and rosemary seem to discourage cabbage moths from settling and laying eggs. Try planting them around the edges of your patch to form an odour barrier. You can also plant decoy plants such as nasturtiums, dill, and mustard, which will draw egg-layers away from your main crops.
  • Using decoy ‘Scarecrows‘- Cabbage moths are highly territorial and will avoid laying eggs where there’s already competition for food. Use little decoys around brassicas to send them somewhere else. Here is a great little printable template that you can use. Click Here to see the template. This template was created by the Australian Butterfly Conservation.
  •  Dipel – An organic biological insecticide which is based on Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, which is an insecticide derived from beneficial bacteria found in soil, on plant surfaces and also in insects. It specifically targets caterpillars and is safe for beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees. 

• Other Pests. Thrips, Mites, Scales, Aphids, and Whiteflies are other bugs that cause a lot of damage to our plants. Here is a very natural way of controlling them by using nature itself. Bugs for Bugs is a company that specialises in integrated pest management (IPM) and is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of biological control agents. Here is a great little chart for controlling bugs by using bugs.
Click here to see their website.
Or visit their Facebook page!

Blackspot and Rust commonly affect Rose plants. If you notice any of those on your roses, you can cut them back lightly, remove the diseased leaves, spray the remaining leaves with some organic copper-based fungicide, and also fertilize them to encourage new growth and blooms.

•  Powdery mildew is one of the most commonly occurring plant problems at this time of the year. It is a fungal disease that affects plant leaves and stems, coating them in what looks like a white or grey powder-like substance. In severe cases, powdery mildew can even spread to the buds, flowers, and fruits of plants. A simple remedy is a good spray of the following mix: 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon dish soap in 1 gallon of water. Another option is a mix of 1 part milk with 10 parts of water.
If this natural remedy fails to get rid of it, you can look into Sulphur based fungicides.

•  Root rot and Wet Feet are the most damaging ailments our houseplants can suffer from, and one of the most common. An infection can destroy a plant literally from the ground up. It spreads quickly, and without prompt action it’s soon too late. Roots of plants affected by root rot may turn from firm and white to black/brown and soft. Affected roots may also fall off the plant when touched. The leaves of affected plants may also wilt, become small or discolored. Affected plants may also look stunted due to poor growth, develop cankers or ooze sap. Once root rot is identified, you must determine if the plant can be saved. If the entire root system has already become mushy, it is too late to save the plant. However, if some healthy, white, firm roots exist, try to bring the plant back to good health by replanting in fresh soil with good drainage.Click here to read more about it.

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hello hello grower clearance
Grower Clearance Sale!

We currently have a Grower Clearance sale for lots of big bushy plants. Click here to see all our specials for the month of March!

Tropical Touch!

You don’t need to travel to a tropical island to escape the pressures of modern life. When you have a tropical garden, every day is like a holiday! We all love little cosy troppo corners, and those are very easy to achieve with plants such as giant birds of paradise, palms, cordylines and gorgeous Frangipanis. In Melbourne, tropical plants grow best in an East-South facing garden.

Keep in mind that they are not frost-tolerant and should be planted in a spot sheltered from the wind. Plant them in layers to have the tallest ones at the back and the smaller plants in the front. Mix and match leaf shapes and colours to create contrast! Here is a great selection of plants to get you started!

Fabulous Flowers!

We have a fantastic selection of perennial flowering plants in store right now that are already flowering or just about to flowers, such as Gazania, Dahlia, Fuschia, Calibrachoa, Daisies, and Echinaceas. You can easily plant these in your garden to make it pop with interesting textures and colours all Summer long.

Happy Hedges!

Block out those pesky or curious neighbours with a nice thick hedge. Also great to block out some noise and wind. Transform your garden into a little oasis of peace with these great hedging options that are all on sale right now!

Fantastic Foliage!

Rather than relying on annual flowers for summer-long colour, think of plants with colourful and interesting foliage. Coleus is one such plant that is easy to grow and easily adds a splash of colour to any area of your garden. Here are some interesting options:

Racy Roses!

Roses are still blooming beautifully at this time of the year. It is also a good time to deadhead your roses and feed them with some balanced, bloom, or rose fertilizer for the last flush of roses of the season. Avoid overhead watering as this can cause fungal problems. Watering early in the morning is better than in the evening. Once established, roses are quite drought hardy so water deeply only every so often. They are available in several forms such as bush form, climbing form, carpet roses, weeping roses, and as standard (ball on a stick).

Click here to see them all!

Fresh Fruits

Citrus plants. We have a great variety in 4L pots that are on sale right now! These are fantastic varieties that were originally destined for Victorian fruit farms, so you know they are born to produce fruit, plus they are very affordable.

Various fruit. Here is a great selection of the most popular and rare varieties, ideal for small spaces. These are in limited quantities, so better hurry up.

Veggies, herbs, and greens!

Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, rocket, endive, silverbeet, mustard greens, and celery will all grow well in the garden right now!

Herbs are really easy to grow and can be grown in pots on your balcony or your patio. They will grow well in shaded, partly shaded, and sunny spots. You can harvest them by chopping the tops and they will simply grow back. You can also chop them up, dry them and create your own mixed herbs for later use. Once you start planting your own herbs, you will never buy them at the supermarket again.

Click here to see them all.

That’s all folks! March right into the garden with confidence and a smile, just like Leo here and get busy!

We hope to see you in-store here at 1477 Sydney Road, Campbellfield! 

Gardening in Autumn. March in the Garden. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Lockdown Bargains!

Stuck at home again? Make the best use of your time with some gardening! Stay Safe and Get your plants delivered to your door!

Click here to view our Covid Updates.

We have lots of big bushy plants at very small prices to keep you busy in the garden!

Here is a list of those plants for our Lockdown Bargains:

Click here to see the full list of Specials for February 2021!

February 2021 COVID-19 Update

In line with the Victorian Government’s latest direction to prevent the spread of COVID, our Campbellfield retail store will be closed from Saturday the 13th of February 2021 to all customers except for genuine tradespeople (builders, landscapers, developers, farmers, etc), until Thursday the 18th of February.

• We are still answering the phones, so feel free to call us for advice or to order plants.

• You can buy online and we will promptly process your order for dispatch.

• We are doing contactless delivery of your plants to Metro Melbourne and across regional Victoria every day of the week! Free delivery on all orders over $300 within Metro Melbourne and to most regional Victorian centers. 

Our 6-vehicle fleet will keep doing laps of Victoria from morning to night 7 days, to get your plants out to you as fast as possible.

• We are still posting smaller plants across the East Coast of Australia. Express post is also available upon request.

• We will also continue to operate a Click & Collect service, allowing you to pick up your plants from our Campbellfield store. Once you place your order, we will notify you when your order is ready for pickup and you will receive special instructions on how to safely do so. However, if you do select this option, please ensure that you are not violating stay at home restrictions by visiting us to collect your plants. Instead, it’s safer to select one of our contactless delivery options.

• Chris is still doing Free Garden Designs over Zoom upon request. Click here to read more.

It is not unusual at the moment for all of our phone lines to be busy with customer inquiries. If you cannot get through to us over the phone on (03) 9359 3331, please email sales@hellohelloplants.com.au for general inquires, to check the availability of any products or to make an order. For an existing order, please email orders@hellohelloplants.com.au.

Please be kind to our staff. They all want you to get your plants, and they are working extremely hard to make sure you do so.

See our recent Google Reviews about our delivery service!

Make sure to check out our Grower Clearance with a huge range of big bushy plants currently on Special!
hello hello grower clearance

Keep calm and garden on Victoria, from all of us at Hello Hello Plants.

February in the Garden!

Hello Hello, dear gardening friends!

Holidays are over, the kids are back to school, and Melbourne is slowly resuming its activities in its little bubble in comparison to the rest of the world. Our thoughts go out to all those still affected by COVID. After all the sacrifices made by Victorians during the lockdown, we do deserve this little moment of calm and we hope you had a smooth start to the year so far. February is the time to stop being scared!

Scared of what you may ask? COVID? Yowies? Swooping Magpies? Well, yes to all of these, but most importantly: Stop being scared of putting plants in the ground because of the heat!

We usually have long hot summers with blistering heat waves, where we have to water our plants twice or more a day to prevent them from dramatically flopping over, shriveling up to a crisp. This year’s summer is cooler due to the La Lina polar vortex, but one downside to this cool weather is that tomatoes are taking forever to ripen up, and many of us are still waiting for that to happen. We have included a few tips on ripening up your tomatoes faster, later in this article. In February, there are fewer flowers on plants as most have put on their most lavish displays earlier this year, and are now covered with spent blooms. Some other plants such as Corymbias, Crepe Myrtles, Weigelas, Kangaroo paws, Daisies, and Roses are still flowering beautifully. In the garden, there is always lots to do, so here are the main points:

Planting and Watering

With the lower temperatures, you can put any plant in the ground safely without any risk of shocking or stunting them. Just make sure to water them generously and keep the soil moist, but not too wet. This is the best time for a large property and commercial landscape planting. As of mid-February, the rate of evaporation of water from the soil is less, so you can water your plants less frequently, or adjust your irrigation system accordingly. 

Dead-heading and Pruning

After the beautiful first summer blooms, many of the flowering perennials are now covered with spent flowers, which are busy producing seeds inside. Some plants have a big flush of flowers at once, such as catmint, while others flower more consistently over the flowering period, such as daisies. The longer you leave spent blooms on the plant, the more resources or nutrients they utilize to produce seeds, and the plant will feel that it has completed its life cycle, i.e producing seeds to ensure the next generation. The best thing to do is to remove spent blooms once the flower petals shrivel up. This will encourage more flowers to pop out.  Very often the late summer blooms do not look as good as the earlier ones.

You can give those plants a beautiful second late Summer-Autumn flush of flowers by doing some light pruning and removing all flowers, followed by an application of bloom-promoting fertilizer or seaweed solution, preferably by foliar application, and also applied around the root zone.  Make sure to deadhead your Agapanthus early, to prevent them from going to seed, as they can get quite invasive.

Fertilizing 

Due to the frequent watering in summer, nutrients leach away from the soil, especially from pots and planters. Nitrogen or Nitrates are the most common nutrients that leach away along with other highly soluble minerals such as calcium. You may tend to notice discoloration or yellowing leaves on your plants. The best way to prevent leaching is by top-dressing your soil with organic matter, compost, manure and encouraging microbial and fungal activity in the soil. Mycorrhizal fungi create tiny root-like dense webs in the soil that hold on to moisture and nutrients. Most importantly, they create a complex network for nutrient and resource exchange between various plants. Use slow-release fertilisers or seaweed solutions instead of traditional instant NPK ones. These take time to break down and give a steady supply of nutrients for a few months. Choosing the right fertiliser for the right plant is important as these contain trace elements that the specific plants require and are often scarce in normal soil.

Click here for a full list.

Click here to view a chart of the various deficiencies in plants. 

Pests and Disease

Warmer weather and humid conditions create the perfect mix for a host of pests and diseases for plants. Identify them early, treat them, and keep your plants healthy all through summer.

•  Rats and Possums love to nibble on our summer veggies, fruit and even blooms such as your roses! If left unchecked they will cause some real havoc in the garden. Avoid poisons at all costs, as these may kill other animals such as birds, cats, or even dogs. Opt for more natural ways of getting rid of these pests such as live traps, and release them somewhere far away.

•  Mosquitoes are always lurking around the garden waiting for unsuspecting gardeners. You can plant a range of mozzie-blocker plants to deter them such as Lavender, Marigolds, Citronella or Lemon Grass, Catnip, Rosemary, Basil, Scented Geraniums, and Lemon Balm. Plant as many as you can, ideally about 5-10 plants for a patio area. Remember, mosquitos breed in still pools of water such as ponds or the trays of water around your plants. If you have a lot of mosquitoes you may want to empty your pot trays and refresh the water regularly to wipe out that next mosquito generation.

Alternatively, here is an old mosquito repellent recipe that you could try. Some people swear by its effectiveness. Let us know how well it works for you! Take a big bottle of cheap blue mouthwash, 3 cups of Epsom salts, 3 stale bottles of cheap beer. Mix all three until salts are dissolved. Spray anywhere outside in the garden, pool areas, or sitting areas and the mosquitoes are gone for about 80 days!!

•  Powdery mildew is one of the most commonly occurring plant problems at this time of the year. It is a fungal disease that affects plant leaves and stems, coating them in what looks like a white or gray powder-like substance. In severe cases, powdery mildew can even spread to the buds, flowers, and fruits of plants. A simple remedy is a good spray of the following mix: 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon dish soap in 1 gallon of water. Another option is a mix of 1 part milk with 10 parts of water.

•  Blossom end rot is a common disorder of tomato, pepper, cucumber, and eggplant. Blossom end rot is an environmental problem (not fungal) most often caused by uneven watering or by calcium deficiency. (These can be related; uneven watering can interfere with the uptake of calcium.) This common garden “disease” is often brought on by rapid growth from too much fertilizer, high salt levels, or drought. It can be fixed easily by applying a liquid calcium fertilizer or top-dressing with some blood and bone meal, which is high in calcium.

Blackspot and Rust commonly affect Rose plants. If you notice any of those on your roses, you can cut them back lightly, remove the diseased leaves, spray the remaining leaves with some organic copper-based fungicide, and also fertilize them to encourage new growth and blooms.

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Grower Clearance Sale!

We currently have a Grower Clearance sale for lots of big bushy plants. Click here to see all our specials for the month of February.

Colorful Foliage

colourful foliage plants

Rather than relying on annual flowers for summer-long color, think of plants with colorful and interesting foliage. Coleus is one such plant that is easy to grow and easily adds a splash of color to any area of your garden. Here are some interesting options:

Fantastic Hedges

Block out those pesky or curious neighbors with a nice thick hedge. Also great to block out some noise and wind. Transform your garden into a little oasis of peace with these great hedging options that are all on sale right now!

Flowers

We have a fantastic selection of perennial flowering plants in store right now that are already flowering or just about to flower, such as Gazania, Dahlia, Fuschia, Calibrachoa, Daisies, and Echinaceas. You can easily plant these in your garden to make it pop with interesting textures and colors all Summer long.

Roses

Roses are blooming beautifully at this time of the year. Now is a great time to choose which one is your favorite in terms of color and scent, so make sure you check out our range of roses in full bloom now. It is also a good time to feed your roses with some balanced, bloom, or rose fertilizer. A good tip for more blooms on your roses is to dead-head the spent flowers regularly as this encourages more flowers. Avoid overhead watering as this can cause fungal problems. Watering early in the morning is better than in the evening. Once established, roses are quite drought hardy so water deeply only every so often. They are available in several forms such as bush form, climbing form, carpet roses, weeping roses, and as standard (ball on a stick).

Click here to see them all!

Fruits

Citrus plants. We have a great variety in 4L pots that are on sale right now! These are fantastic varieties that were originally destined for Victorian fruit farms, so you know they are born to produce fruit, plus they are very affordable.

Various fruit. Here is a great selection of the most popular and rare varieties, ideal for small spaces. These are in limited quantities, so better hurry up.

Veggies, herbs, and greens!

Summer veggies such as peppers, eggplants, okra are currently fruiting and will be ready to harvest. Although it is too late to start them from small plants or seeds, you can always get some more advanced ones in pots and put them in the ground. Since we still have two months of summer left, they will grow well and bear fruit well into Autumn.

Late Summer- Autumn Veggies such as Kale, Leeks, and Celery can be planted now as they prefer the cooler weather. Later in the month, once we get lower night temperatures, you can start sowing some cool-weather crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages. If your current crops have already set fruit for the season and are slowing down or getting diseased, you can pull them out and try a second crop that you can push well into Autumn. Alternatively, you can plant some green manure plants to replenish the soil, then till them in, just in time for Autumn- Winter veggies!

Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, rocket, endive, silverbeet, mustard greens, and celery will all grow well in the garden right now!

Herbs are really easy to grow and can be grown in pots on your balcony or your patio. They will grow well in shaded, partly shaded, and sunny spots. You can harvest them and they will simply grow back. You can also chop them up, dry them and create your own mixed herbs for later use. Once you start planting your own herbs, you will never buy them at the supermarket again.

Click here to see them all.  

How to ripen up your green tomatoes!

You can either ripen your tomatoes indoors or on the vine. You can coax the ripening process from green to red when tomatoes are taken indoors—a much better plan than leaving them to wither on their vines. The key to ripening tomatoes is a warm, enclosed and dry environment. Tomatoes need warmth to ripen.

  1. In the bag: To ripen a few green tomatoes, put them in a paper bag, close it up, and store them in a warm location in your home. Kept enclosed together, the ethylene they emit will stimulate ripening. You can add a ripe banana or apple as well to speed things up. Once a tomato is ripe, remove it from the bag and enjoy it right away. Check the bag daily for mold or rot and remove any spoiled pieces.
  2. Box method: If you have several green tomatoes you want to ripen, consider using a cardboard box. Place them in the box so they do not touch one another. You can add a ripe banana as well. Close the box and, as with the bag-ripening method, check daily for mold and rot, or full ripening, and remove those tomatoes.
  3. The windowsill approach: Try this if your tomatoes have already started to show some ripened color. Simply put them on the sill of a window that gets sunlight. Inspect them daily for progress. You can also remove tomatoes you have ripening in a bag or box once they start showing signs of color and continue their ripening on the window sill.

To ripen tomatoes on the vine you can try:

  1. Remove flower clusters. Pluck new flower clusters from tomato plants that have already set fruit. Removing flowers will direct the plant’s energy into ripening the fruit already maturing on the vine.
  2. Remove small or excess fruit. Pick small or excess fruit off of the tomato plant. Removing immature fruit or fruit you will not use will allow the plant to divert energy into ripening larger, already maturing fruit. Tomatoes that reach “mature green” size and have their first blush of color can be ripened off the vine at room temperature.
  3. Remove some leaves. Pinch away suckers and lower leaves. Tomato plants almost continuously produce new shoots–called suckers–between the main stem and lateral branches. Pinch or prune away this new growth so that the plant can channel its energy into producing and ripening fruit rather than producing new leaves. Leaves just above fruit or fruit clusters should be left in place to protect the fruit from sunburn. Leaves low on the plant that turns yellow or brown or diseased leaves should be removed. These leaves are taking energy away from fruit ripening.
  4. Reduce water and food late in the season. Reduce water and fertilizer to encourage “mature green” fruits to ripen. Fertilizer–especially excess nitrogen–encourages new leaf growth at the expense of fruit growth and maturation. (Use fertilizer low in nitrogen 4-8-4 for tomatoes.) Reducing water as fruits reach mature size will enhance ripening (and concentrate flavor) and direct the plant’s energy away from new fruit set to ripening fruit already on the vine
  5. Some gardeners swear by feeding their tomato plants unsulfured blackstrap molasses, saying that the molasses not only provides tomato plants with energy but also makes ripening tomatoes sweeter and increases microbial activity in the soil. Use about a cup of molasses per two gallons of water, applying no more than once per week.

That’s it for this month!

We hope to see you in-store here at 1477 Sydney Road, Campbellfield! Stay safe and enjoy your garden!

Gardening February. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

hello hello grower clearance

Grower Clearance Sale!

Stuck at home again? Make the best use of your time with some gardening! Stay Safe and Get your plants delivered to your door!

Click here to view our Covid Updates.

We have lots of big bushy plants at very small prices to keep you busy in the garden!

Here is a list of those plants for our Lockdown Bargains:

Click here to see the full list of Specials for February 2021!

Hello Hello 2021! January in the Garden!

Happy New Gardening Year 2021 to all of you! We are thankful that the challenging rollercoaster ride that was 2020 is finally over. Despite the hardship of lockdown, we believe that somehow, some good came out of it. Many of us broke free of that daily grind and got to spend more quality time with close family, learned new iso-skills, and took time to enjoy the little things. Some discovered a newfound love of plants, but in our opinion, the best thing was spending more time in the garden!

Here at the nursery, we were swamped with orders from people wanting to create a little oasis in their backyard whilst isolated from their everyday life. This onslaught kept us really busy and we are very thankful for this extraordinary support from you all! We hope that you had a great start to this year and are feeling just as excited about plants and gardens as we are!

The month of January is named after the Roman god of doors, Janus, because this month is the door into the new year. Janus is also called the two-faced god. He represents all beginnings and possesses the ability to see the past and the future. We do not have the latter, unfortunately, but we can learn from the past and plan for the future! And when it comes to gardening, planning is essential. Let’s have a look at how we can put all the odds in our favour and begin (or maintain) the best garden possible in 2021!

Last year we wrote an interesting article about the Top Garden Resolutions to start the year. Click here to read it.

Melbourne in Bloom
Magnificent blooms can be seen on every street corner right now, such as gorgeous purple Jacarandas, pink Weigalas, Canna Lilies, Agapanthus, Corymbias, Crepe Myrtles, Daisies, and so many others.

If you are planning a garden makeover or if you are starting a brand new garden this year and need some help, make sure to check out our FREE Garden Design(Click Here) service with Chris, to help you plan your dream garden! We take everything into consideration when designing, such as your plant preferences, the soil type, the amount of sun your garden receives, your local council requirements, and many other things that you would not even think mattered!

If you spend over $300 you can get FREE DELIVERY to Metro Melbourne and major regional centers! 🚚

Get a FREE 6ft Weeping Cherry tree worth $100, your choice of Pink or White, when you spend $500 in-store or over the phone!

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Is Summer the right time to plant?

Summer is actually a great time to plant trees, shrubs, flowers provided the temperatures stay below 30 degrees. Here at the nursery, we plant and transplant thousands of plants during this time as the warm temperatures, combined with a good supply of water and the right nutrition, cause amazing growth and big bushy plants in no time. However, proper considerations and care must be taken in order to get the best results for your plants during this time, as we all know those hot Melbourne summer days can be real doozies! 

What is your garden type?

The most popular styles are Coastal, Formal, Cottage, Japanese, Native and Tropical. (Click on links to view plants in each category). We currently have a stunning variety of gorgeous plants in the nursery to create any type of garden you wish.

 

What we have in store for you! 

Garden essentials: Top 8 most popular plants!

There are some plants that are just proven winners. They are hardy plants that are easy to take care of and thrive in a variety of conditions. Ideal for those looking for a fantastic garden within a certain budget.

Weeping wonders!

Weeping trees are a stunning feature in almost any garden. They add interest to the landscape all year long with their long weeping branches that sway gracefully in the wind. They soothe the mind and evoke feelings of serenity 😇 We have the most amazing range of weeping trees for your garden in the store right now!

Click here to see all our Weeping Trees.

Evergreen Specials!

Here are the best evergreen hedge and screening options to block out the neighbors! These do not shed their leaves in winter and give you year-round privacy. They are generally fast growers.

Cascading beautes!

Trailing/Cascading plants have long, trailing stems. Growing them in pots hanging from the ceiling or sitting on a shelf is a great way to show them off, enabling their stems to cascade down for dramatic effect. They also make great additions to pot planters and retaining walls.

Plants for Shaded Areas. 

There are some tricky spots in the garden that tend to get only a few hours of sunlight or only filtered light. Here are a few plants that are perfect to add life and colour to those shady spots.

Flowers

Now that we are in summer, flowers in the garden are competing with each other for the attention of pollinators. That means brilliant colors, big blooms, and an abundance of nectar and pollen accompanied by sweet scents to attract the bees and butterflies. Geraniums, Scaevolas, daisies, Echinacea, Salvias, Petunia, and many more are in full bloom right now.

• We have a fantastic selection of potted colour in store right now that are already flowering or just about to flower. You can easily plant these in your garden to make it pop with interesting textures and colors all Summer long.

Companion plants: To naturally deter many pests such as aphids and slugs, here are a few flowers that you can plant from seed or seedlings right now: marigolds, sunflowers, asters, delphiniums, foxgloves, snapdragons, cosmos. Nasturtiums and marigolds are the best companions for Summer tomatoes and capsicums.

Roses

Roses are blooming beautifully all over Melbourne at this time of the year. Now is a great time to choose which one is your favourite in terms of color and scent, so make sure you check out our range of roses in full bloom now. It is also a good time to feed your roses with some balanced, bloom or rose fertilizer. Keep an eye out for aphids that love to feed on the fresh new flower buds. A good tip for more blooms on your roses is to dead-head the spent flowers regularly as this encourages more flowers to form. Avoid overhead watering as this can cause fungal problems. Watering early in the morning is better than in the evening. Once established, roses are quite drought hardy so water deeply only every so often. Most varieties are available in several “forms”, or shapes, such as bush form, climbing form, carpet roses, weeping roses, and as standard (lollipop shape).

Click here to see them all!

 

Fruits, Nuts & herbs

Going into your garden, picking your own fruit, and enjoying it as fresh as it can be is really a special feeling. If you choose a dwarf variety, you do not always need much space for them, as they are happy to grow in big pots and you can trim them to your preferred size. Now if you have space, by all means, plant a full-size variety and put them in the ground, and let them grow into bountiful monsters! 

Many fruit trees tend to drop immature fruit when it is too hot and the soil lacks moisture. So make sure you keep them very well watered in January. They usually tend to keep only a certain number of fruits.

• Here is a nice selection of fruit and nut trees that we currently have in store.

Citrus plants. We have a great variety in 5L pots! Citrus trees have been hard to get and in high demand for the past year, but this new batch is full of big, bushy, and healthy plants. These are fantastic varieties that were originally destined for Victorian fruit farms, so you know they are born to produce fruit, plus they are very affordable.