Cottage Gardens

Cottage Garden

Cottage gardens have become more popular than ever. People love the year-round colour and interest that a cottage garden can provide. A cottage garden is a mixture of different perennials, bulbs, small to medium bushes, and small trees, such as a weeping cherry or birch. A cottage garden is a relatively simple and cheap way to beautify an area. Also, managed properly, it is a low-maintenance garden that requires less water than a lawn.

The reason cottage gardens are becoming more popular is because new housing blocks and apartments are having smaller and smaller garden areas. If the garden is split between lawn and garden beds, both areas become compromised and unimpressive. Instead, if the entire area is planted out with small shrubs, annuals and a feature tree or two you’ll have a colourful, low-maintenance garden.

Another great thing about cottage gardens is that they attract a lot of beneficial insects, such as bees, beetles, ladybirds and butterflies. They also attract various wildlife such as lizards and beautiful birds, which are also magnificent at pest management. There is no need to use pesticides as it is mostly a self-regulating system that is highly beneficial to your local ecosystem!

 

The History of The Cottage Garden 

Cottage gardens started off in Cornwall, with the mildest climate in England, where sailors would travel all over the world, and when they went ashore they would select eye-catching plants, wrap it up in a hanky and bring it back as a gift for their wives. The wives would then swap these treasures with each other and the cottage gardens of Cornwall became a treasure-trove of colourful and interesting plants where almost anything goes. 

 

Words from Chris…

When I was 7 years old, I went door-knocking looking for a gardening job. After knocking on many doors and walking several kilometres, an elderly retired photographer gave me a job every Saturday morning. I kept that job till I was 17. She had a lovely little white weatherboard cottage set in an acre of cottage garden which she spent most of her waking hours tending. She often has visitors from the local horticultural society and they would say “that’s a native you’ve planted there, you can’t do that in a cottage garden!”. Her retort was “You can plant whatever you want, wherever you want in a cottage garden!”. She loved to have plants cascading over the edges of pots and I would have to tidy and trim while maintaining the relaxed informality of the garden. I would spend hours on my knees planting English lawn daisies in the lawn. 

The best part of the job is that from the age of 7 she treated me as her gardener. She showed me how to do each job thoroughly then asked for my advice or input on each project we tackled. I remember she complained about the cost of the man who cut her lawn and I said I would do it. She asked me what sort of mower I wanted and I said a Flymo which was a new hovercraft mower. The next Saturday she took me to the mower shop and had me choose one. From then on I maintained her lawns with the Flymo which worked well as her lawns were very undulating and irregular shapes. Little did I know that my 10 years of training would have a big influence on my career as a garden designer, nurseryman, and gardener.

 

Creating A Cottage Garden

1. Plan your layout

Planning is essential to a beautiful garden. Even though a cottage garden looks like it is just a mix and match of randomly placed plants, there are a few good practices, if you want to maximize its aesthetic potential. There is no need to overdo the planning because a cottage garden can also have a little wild side to it, which adds to the charm.

The first step is to assess what you are working with. Is it a blank canvas, a lawn, or an existing overgrown garden bed?

Whichever it is, drawing up a little plan to your liking makes it easier to manage. A nice curvy layout works well for cottage gardens. Think about your walking path, focal points, and little points of interest to add along the way.

2. Getting started

If your starting point is an old weedy garden bed you can start by removing all the weeds and taking a closer look at what is already growing there. Are the old plants worth keeping, if trimmed nicely, and will these plants look good in a cottage garden? Ideally, they would be flowering shrubs. It could be an old rose or camellia bush that can be rejuvenated by giving it a good prune and feed. You can always change the layout of the garden bed as you please by redefining its borders.

If you have a blank plot or a patch of lawn you can start by tracing the path of the curves with some cord. Remove all grass growing in the area of the garden bed, with the help of a trusty sharp spade, and if you want, you can add some garden edging to keep it nice and tidy. There are several great options such as plastic edging, metal, bamboo, or even brick edging. This will help keep the grass from creeping into your beds.

2. Work the soil

Know what type of soil you are working with. (Read our article about soil types by clicking here). Ideally, you would like to work your soil until it has a nice fluffy, aerated, and well-draining texture, as this is the soil type that most cottage plants thrive in. Our premium potting mix is great to add to poor soils to improve them.

Water your soil to soften it up then dig, turn and smash until the area is cultivated one spade deep. This might be a difficult step if you have compacted or clay soil. You can use a gypsum clay breaker to help loosen it up. Add 3 to 4 inches of good topsoil, compost, and manure, then dig and turn again to make an even mix. Rake to remove top debris and to make it flat.

Adding a wetting agent or water crystals is also a good idea, to keep the roots moist, even on hot days. Just sprinkle into the soil as per the recommended dose. 

4. Choosing your plants

Plant 1 small cottage tree to every 10sq meters of garden bed and 2 cottage plants to every sq. meter of garden bed. To achieve a nice layered look, plant low growing or carpet plants in the front and along pathways, medium-sized plants for the middle, and larger ones to the middle or back. Larger shrubs can also be planted in the middle row to break the layers and make the layout more interesting.

Keep in mind that you can add any type of plant you like to a cottage garden. Some that look really great are grasses, climbing plants, and weeping plants. Some people also add maples, conifers, natives, and standards, just because they like them! So do not restrict yourself and pick whatever you like!

Examples of different cottage plants:

Small

  • Snapdragon
  • Seaside Daisy
  • Native Violet
  • Tulips, Daffodils & Iris
  • Phlox
  • Arenaria
  • Pig Face (Mesembryanthemum)
  • Dianthus

Medium

  • Salvia
  • Euphorbia
  • Echium
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Gaura
  • Foxglove & Delphinium
  • Geranium
  • Liriope
  • Apaganthus

Large

  • Murraya Orange Blossom
  • Hydrangea
  • Protea
  • Leucadendron
  • Oleander

Feature Trees

  • Weeping Cherry
  • Weeping Silver Birch
  • Weeping Maple
  • Lemon Scented Conifer
  • Celtic Cascade
  • Standard Ficus or Lilly Pilly

Climbing plants

  • Roses
  • Mandevillea
  • Chinese star jasmine
  • Clematis
  • Wisteria
  • Boston Ivy

We have put together cottage plant packages to make things easier for you, or you can come in for our Free garden design and have your cottage garden fully designed. We can incorporate your needs and wants and give you a custom cottage garden. Perhaps the most popular option is choosing plants that have silver or grey foliage and either purple, blue, mauve, or white flowers. This particular combination goes well with the Hampton theme. But there are many ways to add a special style or feel to your cottage garden.

Once you have put your plants in the ground, water regularly and make sure to stay on top of the weeds until your plants have grown big enough.

5. Watering, Mulching, and Maintenance

To make things easier for you, you may consider adding some irrigation systems to your garden beds. Drip irrigation is an excellent choice as you can easily weave them around your garden and connect them to an automatic timer. It is also recommended to cover your soil with a good layer of mulch to keep the soil humid for the plants to thrive.

In terms of maintenance, there are a couple of things to do such as:

• Water your plants with some liquid seaweed solution with a touch of blooming fertilizer will give you abundant blooms.
• Sprinkle slow-release fertilizer every 6 months.
• Deadhead spent flowers regularly to keep the plants blooming again and again.
• Prune back overgrown plants that are shadowing smaller plants, to keep an aesthetic balance.
• If you have bulbs planted and they aren’t flowering as regularly – dig them up, split them and replant.
• Replace annual plants after the growing season as they start dying back.
• Prune back some perennial plants after winter to encourage new spring growth
• Renew mulch every couple of years as it breaks down
• Allow some self-seeding to happen, as you do not have to always buy new plants. Just make sure to thin them out and replant some in new spots to allow them to thrive.

5. Adding interesting features

The great thing about cottage gardens is that they can be your creative outlet, where you can add all sorts of interesting and quirky features as you please. Some interesting water features or fountains, clay pots, decorative rocks or old logs, bird feeders, birdbaths, an echidna sculpture, or perhaps a small fairy house! The possibilities are endless!

Some must-have additions are trellis with climbing plants and perhaps a bench for you to sit back and appreciate the beautiful space you created.


Plants for the cottage garden

 

Plant Packages

Handpicked by Chris, these cottage plant packages give you the best value for money!

Tall or back row plants

Medium row

Front Row or carpet

Climbing plants

Other interesting additions

Hello Hello 2022! January in the Garden!

Happy New Gardening Year 2022 to all of you!

We hope you all had lovely holidays and are ready to tackle this new and exciting year, smash your gardening goals, and make the best of everything that life throws at you! It has been and still is a challenging time for many of us and quite uncertain when it comes to the future, but one thing for sure is the benefits that the garden can bring to your life! It will keep you busy, healthy, keep your spirits up and make your life lush and colorful! Roll up your sleeves, stick your two green thumbs up and let’s get busy for 2022!

The month of January is named after the Roman god of gates and doors, Janus, because this month is the door into the new year. Janus is also called the two-faced god and holds the key. He represents all beginnings and possesses the ability to see between what was and what is to come. 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 favor and begin (or maintain) the best garden possible in 2022!

Melbourne in Bloom Magnificent blooms can be seen on every street corner right now, such as gorgeous purple Jacarandas, Oleanders, 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!

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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 and to attract the beneficials, here are a few flowers that you can plant 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 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. 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.
• The secret to home-cooked, delicious meals is a garnish of fresh garden-grown herbs!

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Tips for a Successful Garden in 2021!

With last year’s lockdown, so many of us were stuck at home and we started gardening to keep ourselves busy and make the best use of our time. Many were new gardeners with little experience and did their best to take care of their new plants. Customers shared their success stories with us, but there was also a bit of disappointment from plants dying, despite everything being done correctly. When this happens you can be discouraged from planting again. Gardening is a series of trials and errors, and we learn from mistakes, or from the experience of others. Some plants are very hardy and tolerate a wide range of conditions, while some are very delicate and require near perfect conditions. Here are some of the main points to keep in mind that will ensure successful planting.

1. Knowing Your Soil
2. Soil Improvement & Fertilizing
3. Watering 
4. Mulching
5. Sunlight & Orientation
6. Deficiencies, Pests, and Diseases

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1. Knowing Your Soil

Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. The right mix of those components will determine if a plant will struggle or thrive where it is planted. If you have good soil on your property, consider yourself very lucky! Unfortunately, most newly developed properties in Victoria do not have good soil, which results in poor growth, stunted plants, or even the dreaded slow death of your precious leafy investments. The first thing to know is the type of soil that you have and its pH value. Soil types affect plant growth due to their properties such as water and nutrient retention, acidity/alkalinity, microbial and fungal activity just to name a few. The most common soil types in Victoria are: Gravel or sand –Soil fails to compact and runs through your fingers. Loam –Soil compacts slightly but still fragments through your fingers. Clay –Soil remains as a solid mass. There are a few methods to help you determine what soil you have such as the Jar method or the Ribbon method. (Click on links to read more) An ideal soil would be made up of 45% minerals (sand, clay, silt), 5-10 % organic material (plant and animal), 25% air, and 25% water. The ideal mineral portion would be a loam (Loam is made up of 20 – 30% clay, 30 – 40% silt and 30 – 40% sand). Once you know your soil type, you can either choose plants that grow in these conditions or you can amend the soil to the requirements of the plants that you want. Plants that grow well in Sandy soil: This includes many of the Banksias and Grevilleas, Eremophilas, Kangaroo PawsWestringias, Correas, Waratahs, Flannel Flowers and Callistemons. 

Soil Ph is another very important factor to look into.

A soil’s degree of acidity and alkalinity is determined by measuring its pH. pH measurements are expressed as a number on a scale from 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral, less than 7 is acid, and greater than 7 is alkaline. Most soils have pH values between 3.5 and 10. In higher rainfall areas the natural pH of soils typically ranges from 5-7, whereas in drier areas the range is 6.5-9. Soils with pH values of 6.5 to 7.5 are referred to as ‘neutral’, which is the ideal pH for most plants. Those with a pH less than 6.5 are acidic, and soils with a pH less than 5.5 are considered strongly acidic. To determine the pH of your soil, get a soil pH testing kit. It is much easier to use than you may think. Plants that grow in alkaline soils will grow in acid soils, but the reverse will not work. Most plants around the southern and eastern part of Australia grow in acid soils, however, in inland Australia the soils are more likely to be alkaline. The soil pH is very important to your plants’ growth. If the pH is wrong, certain nutrients are made unavailable to your plant. For example, if the soil is too alkaline nutrients such as Iron and Manganese are not in a form that is available for uptake by the plant.  Your plant could be showing Iron deficiencies, so you apply Iron Chelate to fix the problem but little do you know that Iron will never make it into the plant because the pH of the soil is wrong! The acidity of soil can be reduced by adding Lime, and alkalinity reduced by adding elemental Sulfur, Aluminium Sulfate, or Iron Sulfate for faster results. To ensure the desired soil pH level is maintained, these treatments will have to be repeated at regular intervals and they are a gradual process, which can take up to a year to achieve the desired results. As the plants absorb the nutrients, the soil will gradually revert to its natural state. Therefore, you will have to continually treat the soil. In some situations, it’s best to just plant what is suitable for that particular soil type and save yourself time and money! Here is a map showing the surface soil pH from Agriculture Victoria. Click here to read more about soil pH in Victoria.  

Saline & Sodic Soils (Salty soils) are also a significant problem in Victoria.

There are two types of salty soils: Saline soils and Sodic soils. Saline soil is a soil with a high content of soluble salts that can draw moisture out of the plant through osmosis and cause dehydration. This can cause a decline in yield or even the death of the plant. Sodic soil has high levels of exchangeable sodium that cause the soil particles to disperse instead of clumping together. This causes the soil to become less permeable, not allowing water and air to get through to the roots of the plant or allow excess salt to dissolve and be washed away. Saline soils commonly have a pH below 8.5, whereas Sodic soils have a pH between 8.5 and 10. So from our previous pH segment, you will know that a pH level this high can severely affect your plant’s growth! It is estimated that at least 59.0 % of Victorian soils are salty. If you are buying soil in bulk from a supplier, it is always good to take a sample for a pH test and also a few buckets worth for planting a few plants in, to see how well they grow. Alternatively, most soils in bags, from trusted brands, are the best option, although quite costly if you have a big area to fill up.

Click here to read more about it and see a map of Salty soils in Victoria.

How to ‘Fix’ Salty Soils

Correct the pH gradually by adding acidic soil mix, elemental sulfur, composted pine bark(not fresh), and lots of organic matter. Preferably sheep, cow manure, or compost. Not mushroom compost and not chicken compost, which are too alkaline. Finally to make the soil more active with microorganisms, give it a good soak with water, then apply some liquid fertilizer like Charlie Carp, Gogo juice, or compost tea as these will introduce beneficial bacteria into your soil. These bacteria will break down the sulfur and normalize your pH over the course of 6 months to 1 year.

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2. Soil Improvement & Fertilizing

•  The best philosophy is that healthy soils will produce healthy plants. “Feed the soil and not the plant” is the holy mantra of organic gardening. Improve the growth, health, and yield of your plants by nurturing the soil as an alternative to using fertilizers. You can do that by restoring the beneficial microbial activity in your soil with some compost tea and top dress your soil with compost, manure, and also some blood and bone meal.

•  Turning the soil over is not recommended as it disturbs the delicate worm tunnels and fungal networks called mycorrhizae, which take time to build and are important for good soil-plant symbiosis. Tilling is only recommended to amend very bad soil.

• It is best to give some liquid feed to Summer flowering annuals every couple of weeks with a complete liquid fertilizer, to encourage healthy and vigorous new growth. You can also add some slow-release granular fertilizer that will feed your plants over a period of 3 to 6 months.

•  In addition to the normal microbial-dominated compost, feed your soil with a good mix of fungally dominated compost, made mostly from composted woody material such as woodchips, bark, etc, and Fungal compost encourages soil fungal networks called mycorrhiza, which are tiny white filament root-like structures that permit the plant to obtain additional moisture and nutrients. This is particularly important in the uptake of phosphorus, one of the major nutrients required by plants. When mycorrhizae are present, plants are less susceptible to drought stress. And also if you see mushrooms pop up in your garden, it means that your soil is healthy!

•  Finally, you can plant nitrogen-fixing plants such as Vetch (Vicia sativa), Comfrey (Symphytum), and White Clover (Trifolium repens). These are great for a chop-and-drop or turning over back into the topsoil. When they decay they feed the worms and microbes to produce humus, which is a dark, organic material, that greatly improves the soil.

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3. Watering

We all know about that overly dramatic plant that wilts when you forget to water it for one day! It just goes to show how vital water is to healthy plant growth. Not too much, not too little, plants need the right amount, at the right frequency.

Here are 10 tips for better watering:

• Focus on the root zone. Remember that it’s the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease.

• Water only when needed
. Automatic watering timers are especially useful; just make sure to watch the weather, and reduce frequency when rainfall is abundant, and increase the duration of watering when it is very hot. Too much moisture can be just as damaging to plants as too little.

• Water deeply and thoroughly
. Lawns and annuals concentrate their roots in the top 6″ of soil; for perennials, shrubs, and trees, it’s the top 12″. In heavy soil, it may take hours for the water to percolate down 6-12″. Use your finger or a shovel to check the progress.

Do a Soil percolation test, to determine how fast your soil drains water downwards and determine if it requires any amendment, and adjust your watering according to the results. Remember that clay soil for example has poor drainage and causes waterlogging, which kills plants by causing root rot.

• Water in the morning. If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It’s much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry. • Use the right tool. For efficient watering at the root zone, use a soaker hose or an even more precise drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler. Make sure to calculate the flow rate of your dripper and the right duration to ensure that your plants are getting the right amount of water.
•  Replace your 12mm common garden hose with an 18mm professional one, for a higher flow rate and more effective watering that actually penetrates to the root of the plant instead of just wetting the surface. Wet topsoil does not mean that the water is going to where it is most needed.
• Know the watering requirements of your plants. Some plants need a lot of water, while some plants are drought tolerant, once established. Drought tolerant means, once established, the plant will be able to tolerate periods of low watering or dryness.
• Apply a soil wetting agent if you have water repellent or hydrophobic soil. It will help with water absorption, particularly if you have sandy soil or pots that are filled with potting mix. Wetting agents break down the waxy residue build-up that is caused by lack of water in the soil. If you want to use a water-storing gel, remember, it will eventually dry out, so it is imperative that you continue watering.
• If you are going away for a few days, move your potted plants to a morning sun or shaded area, and make sure to give them a good drenching. Fill up the saucer with water for an extra supply. Also, look into wicking systems, or drip bottles for automatic watering.

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4. Mulching

When the summer heat comes round, it is important to have a nice thick layer of mulch on your soil to keep some moisture in the ground and also keep the roots of your plants cool. Mulch should be used to cover exposed dirt around plants for weed reduction and water evaporation control. However, the most common mistake when using mulch is spreading too thin or too thick around the plants. The suggested depth of mulch is 2-3” for new garden beds. This will reduce the frequency of watering and prevent your plants to go through heat and drought stress.

If you are putting mulch for the first time, choose the right ones as they slowly change the PH of the soil when they break down. Pine bark mulch creates acidity when breaking down, so it is perfect for Azaleas or Camellias, whereas pea straw or sugarcane are recommended for veggie beds.

Make sure to not mix in mulch with the soil, especially wood chips, as these rob nitrogen from the soil which is precious for plant growth. Wood chips are to be used as surface mulch only.
•  Do not put mulch too close to the trunk but rather around it, as this will encourage the roots to grow outwards to find water and make them stronger. Also, make sure to give the soil a good soak before applying mulch and then water the mulch. Dry mulch absorbs moisture from the ground, which is the opposite of its intended purpose! When watering over mulch, remember you will need some extra water to make sure it penetrates through the mulch and into the soil.

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5. Sunlight & Orientation of the Garden

The sun is essential for plants to grow. It provides light energy plants need to convert into food by the process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the conversion of carbon dioxide, water and minerals into organic compounds that the plant uses to grow. During this process, the plant also produces a by-product: oxygen! Some plants need full sun to thrive and others can cope with part to full shade. It is important to observe the amount of sunlight and shade your garden receives to determine what plants would grow well. Within your garden, you are likely to have a range of micro-climates.  The orientation of your house and other structures create different conditions on your site.  This will affect the availability of light, warmth, and water for plants. In Australia, each day the Sun moves in an arc that is always tilted at 32° to the vertical and with the highest point towards the north. Its path and highest point change during the seasons.

Image Nick-Lomb

North Facing Garden The sun spends most of its time in the northern sky as it travels from east to west.  In winter it stays low in the sky, so you want to maximize the amount of sunlight coming through from that direction. It is the ideal spot for plants that love full sun and great for indoor plants by the window.

South Facing Garden A south-facing wall gets the most rain and will collect the wettest weather and is more protected from the warmer drying winds and sun from the north. If you have any plants that are not drought tolerant and prefer a bit of shade, this is an ideal spot for them. Many of the plants you find being sold as indoor plants are adapted to these shady areas.

East Facing Garden An east-facing garden suits many plants that enjoy the milder morning sun but are vulnerable to the afternoon heat during summer. As most of our weather comes from the west, the east side can miss out on getting adequate natural rainfall.  So, keep an eye on plants there, to make sure it doesn’t get too dry, particularly beneath the eaves of the house. Growing dry tolerant plants here would be wise.

West Facing Garden Most of the weather comes from the west, including warm north westerlies and cool south-westerlies.  It is also the direction of the harsh afternoon summer sun.  Melbourne’s summer afternoon sun is much more brutal than most would realize. On days above 30 degrees, it is very hot and dry, causing some plants to die in a matter of hours if they don’t have sufficient access to water. This is where you will most likely want some protection.  Taller buffering shrubs or trees that can screen the home from the more aggressive weather are a good idea.

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6. Deficiencies, Pests & Disease

Most problems with plants can be fixed by reading the health of your plants, and taking prompt action if there are any problems. Take a closer look at the foliage and its underside. Is it looking as healthy as it can be, or are there signs of deficiencies? Most of them can be easily fixed with some good supplementation of nutrients or watering with some trace minerals. Click here to view a chart of the various deficiencies in plants. 

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

•  Powdery mildew is one of the most commonly occurring plant problems. 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.

Aphids, thrips, and mites. With the warm weather, these sap-sucking insects find their way into our garden to feast on all the new growth. If there are not too many, you can leave them to help build the beneficial insect population that will then take care of the bad bugs for you later on. Adult aphids eat thrips and mites. Ladybugs also eat aphids, thrips, mites, and whitefly. If you have an infestation, on the other hand, you can make some homemade aphid spray to apply under the leaves of affected plants. Mix 2 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp dishwashing liquid, and some garlic cloves crushed,  mixed in 1lt of water, and left to infuse overnight. This is completely safe for other beneficial insects. Also, think of planting some beneficial insect plants that will attract ladybirds and they will take care of aphids for you. A favorite plant for ladybirds is the Angelica herb. • For ants you could sprinkle some diatomaceous earth on the ground where there is a lot of ant activity but only when it is dry. You will have to reapply it after it has rained. It is a natural organic control method that will not harm other insects.

Psyllids are tiny (native) sap-sucking insects that are occasionally referred to as plant lice. They congregate in large numbers and can disfigure the new growth primarily on their chosen host plant of many Lilly pilly and Eucalyptus species. They are almost always found on the underside of the new foliage. They usually target unhealthy and vulnerable plants so make sure to keep your plants fertilized and as healthy as possible. New foliage can show signs of dimpling or bubbling and give the impression that it is a disease. Older foliage is often left untroubled. Although psyllid attack can occur anytime between early spring and mid – Autumn. The main times for control is October through March. This coincides with the breeding cycle of the insect. You can remove affected leaves and spray the plant with some natural products such as horticultural oils or neem oil. Ladybirds and lacewing insects are natural predators to psyllids so encourage them in your garden by planting some beneficial plants such as Angelica, dill, coriander, etc.

• Keep an eye out on your Rose plants for common diseases such as black spot, rust, and mildew. If you have noticed any fungal disease in the past on your plants, you can spray them with some organic copper-based fungicides.

 

Deadheading, & Weeding

Deadhead the spent blooms on your summer flowering plants such as roses, cosmos, foxgloves, etc as this will encourage a second flush of flowers for the next month or so.

• Stay on top of the weeds. With the summer heat, weeds steal water from other plants, so make sure to pull them out by the root and mulch over. It is easier to get to them while they are still small so get onto them quickly! The best method for weeding is to weed after it has rained. Rain causes the soil to loosen, making it easier to get the whole root system of the weed out. It is important to get the whole root system and not just snap the top of the weed off. Snapping the top of the weed off basically encourages it to grow more! For bigger weeds like Dandelion, use a kitchen butter knife to get down into the soil next to the weed. It causes less disturbance to the soil than digging or pulling them out.  

That’s it for this month!

Wishing you all the best in the garden! Keep smiling, be happy and as usual, stay safe lovely people  🙂

Gardening January 2022 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Price Pruning Continues

Our big end-of-year price pruning has ended, but that does not mean the end of our specials! As we keep getting fresh new plants in the nursery, we have to make space to display them, which means a lot of plants have got to go! We have created a new list of price-pruned plants across our nursery, and these are available online for everyone!!

⭐Spend Over $500 Get a Free Weeping Cherry 12″ worth $99.99! Your choice of Subhirtella alba, Cheals or Falling Snow. Promo is available for In-Store and Online purchases. Please let us know in the comments, which variety you prefer.

Spend over $300 and get Free Delivery to Metro Melbourne and major regional centers

 

December in the Garden 2021!

Hello Hello, dear gardening friends! December officially marks the start of summer here in Victoria and is the most exciting month of the year! Long summer evenings, garden parties, friends over for dinner, school holidays, vacation home getaways, and especially Christmas and New Year celebrations! There are beautiful flowers blooming everywhere right now such as Jacarandas, Hydrangeas, Flame Trees, Daisies, and so many others, keeping the bees buzzing around all day long! The veggie patches are starting to provide us with the first zucchinis, tomatoes, and peppers, to cook some homegrown goodness! Fruit trees such as raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and mulberries are loaded with delicious fruit to tempt our taste buds!

Garden Designs are back!

There are very limited spaces available. Here are the available timeslots that you can choose from after filling out the Garden Design Questionnaire.

  • Monday morning 8:30am to 11.30am
  • Friday afternoon 3:30pm to 5:30pm
  • Saturday 8.30am- 12.30pm , 1.30pm-5.30pm
  • Sunday 8.30am- 12.30pm , 1.30pm-5.30pm

Click here to read more about Garden Designs!

 

Spend over $300 and get Free Delivery to Metro Melbourne and major regional centers!  

 

Cherries

It is the season for delicious local cherries and they taste amazing. Have you ever considered growing your own? They are so easy to grow and they taste even better when harvested and eaten fresh! Make sure to cover them with a net, because the birds love them too!

Christmas Trees & Gift Vouchers!

🎄Potted Christmas Trees are in store Now!🎁🎅 If you prefer the look, feel, and smell of a real tree and if you can’t bear the thought of cutting down a tree just to use it as a decoration, why not use a live potted Christmas tree or plant!? We have a lovely selection of Pines and Spruces that you can use as your live Christmas tree for the next 10 years! They are slow-growing, easy to maintain, and can be kept in pots for a long time!

Click here to read more about how to take care of your Christmas Tree!

Agapanthus

Agapanthus is a very hardy and popular strappy leaved plant in Australia. They have lovely light green leaves and tall floral displays in summer. There are many varieties available, from white, mauve, blue, pink, and even black. Great for border plantings, pots or to soften some harsh edging in the garden. Make sure to deadhead them to prevent seed spreading!

Click here to read the agapanthus factsheet and see the 20 varieties we have in store.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas are tropical vine-like shrubs that are quite drought tolerant, love the sun, and pack a huge punch of color.  plants are vigorous growers that can become overgrown if not kept in check, but they offer a dazzling color show!

Frangipani

Frangipanis have to be the ultimate tropical plant. They evoke thoughts of sunny blue skies, relaxing by a pool. They have beautiful flowers with a delightful fragrance. Being small trees that make excellent feature trees with their striking umbrella shape. They have small noninvasive roots they can be planted near buildings and swimming pools without any problems. They also do very well in pots. Frangipanis mostly flowers from summer to autumn and come in shades of white, yellow, pink, and red!

Jacaranda

The Jacaranda tree puts on a breathtaking floral display. Its vivid lilac-blue clusters of trumpet-shaped blossoms appear in the summer, later falling to the earth carpeting the ground with a mass of color. It is said that if you are walking underneath the Jacaranda tree and one of the trumpet blossoms falls on your head you will be favored by fortune.!

Rhododendron

Prized for their glossy green foliage and showy clusters of blooms, these fabulous plants are especially suited to shady areas of the garden. We have a wide variety of colors in store!

Azalea

These are thick and leathery in appearance, often deep green in color and extremely luscious. If you set these gorgeous flowers in the right conditions, they require little ongoing care and will bloom abundantly.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus plants are known for their large, colorful flowers. These blossoms can make a fantastic addition to any home or garden. They flower profusely and come in a big variety of colours.

Maples

We have a fantastic MAPLE SHOW happening at the nursery with over 20 varieties of maples of various shapes, colors, and sizes! This is a great time to choose your maple as they are at their best right now, putting on an amazing display, with their spectacular array of foliage types and colors.

Click here to see our full Maple Show!

Roses

Most 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. Keep an eye out for aphids that love to feed on the fresh new growth. 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!

Flowers

• We have a fantastic selection of perennial flowering plants 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 Flower: Nasturtiums and marigolds are the best companions for Summer tomatoes and capsicums, as they deter many pests such as aphids and slugs.

Native Gardens

Native plants are very popular right now as they can easily be included in any type of garden. Native plants have so many advantages as they have lower maintenance requirements, are easy to grow, and quite hardy. They require less water and are wildlife-friendly. If you want a fully Australian native landscape, then a natural design and layout work best. Crushed granite on curved fluid pathways, timber sleepers for edging beds, and rustic garden sculptures all fit together very well. The Facebook page Australian Native Plant Enthusiasts forum is great for some native plant inspiration and one particular garden that always catches my attention is the Rosella Rise Native Garden of Deb MC. It has such a beautiful combination of plants, colors, and textures that it would inspire anyone to start a native garden! Be sure to click on the link to see more of that amazing Australian Native garden. To create such a paradise, you can use a variety of grasses, desert plants, shrubs, ground cover, succulents, herbs, food plants, fruit and berries to create a diverse Australian native garden.

Click here to see them all!

Fruits

Going into your garden, picking your own fruit, and enjoying them as fresh as they 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! You could then perhaps exchange or sell your surplus produce!

Citrus plants. We have a great variety of 4L pots that are on sale right now! Citrus trees have been hard to get and in high demand this year, but this batch is new. 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.

Berries. 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.

Other fruits. Here are some less common fruits that you will rarely find in supermarkets!

Veggies, herbs, and Greens!

Summer/Spring veggies such as tomato, peppers, squash, eggplants, zucchini, chilies, and basil can now be safely planted out in the ground! It is warm enough for them to grow beautifully. Remember to water them in properly with some seaweed fertilizers, which will help them settle in their new spot. See the full list here.

Before planting your summer crops, dig in a generous amount of compost and manure in your veggie patch as these plants are quite heavy feeders. If you have experienced blossom end rot on your tomatoes in the past, it could be that your soil is deficient in calcium, and adding some garden lime will fix this issue. Just be aware that garden lime also raises the pH level of soils high in acidity, to make them more alkaline.

Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, rocket, endive, silverbeet, mustard greens, and celery will all grow well in the garden right now until the early hot days of Summer are here. If you have limited space, you may want to favor Summer veggies instead and leave the leafy greens for the cooler months. You can also get creative and plant lettuce/rocket under or around your tomatoes/capsicums as they usually have shallow root systems that will not interfere too much.  Planting them every couple of weeks will ensure a steady supply. See full list here.

Culinary 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.

Soil, Fertilising, and Mulching

• For your veggie patch, if you have very poor soil, mix in generous amounts of rich compost, manure, and also some blood and bone meal. If your soil is already quite good, instead of turning it over, try top dressing. Turning the soil over when you already have healthy soil will disturb the delicate worm and microbial systems, which take time to build and are important for good plant development.

• Improve the growth, health, and yield of your plants by nurturing the soil as an alternative to using fertilizers. You can do that by restoring the beneficial microbial activity in your soil with some compost tea.

• Put some rich compost or well-aged manure around your fruit trees, to give them the well-needed boost for the Summer fruiting season.

• It is best to give some liquid feed to Summer flowering annuals every couple of weeks with a complete liquid fertilizer, to encourage healthy and vigorous new growth. You can also add some slow-release granular fertilizer that will feed your plants over a period of 3 to 6 months.

•  When the summer heat comes round, it is important to have a nice thick layer of mulch on your soil to keep some moisture in the ground and also keep the roots of your plants cool. This will reduce the frequency of watering and prevent your plants to go through heat and drought stress. If you are putting mulch for the first time, make sure to choose the right ones as they change the PH of the soil when they break down. Pine bark mulch creates acidity when breaking down, so it is perfect for Azaleas or Camellias, whereas straw or sugarcane are recommended for veggie beds. Do not put mulch too close to the stems but rather around it, as this will encourage the roots to grow outwards to find water and make them stronger. Also, make sure to give the soil a good soak before mulching. When watering over mulch, it needs some extra water to make sure it penetrates into the soil.

Dead-heading and Pruning

After the beautiful first spring 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.

Pests & Disease

Now that there are lots of new shoots and seedlings, coupled with some warm weather and a few showers here and there, there will be more insects in the garden. The humid weather is perfect for them to proliferate, feed, and cause damage to plants.

Aphids, thrips, and mites. With the warm weather, these sap-sucking insects find their way into our garden to feast on all the new growth. If there are not too many, you can leave them to help build the beneficial insect population that will then take care of the bad bugs for you later on. Adult aphids eat thrips and mites and ladybugs also eat aphids, thrips, mites, and whitefly If you have an infestation, on the other hand, you can make some homemade aphid spray to apply under the leaves of affected plants. Mix 2 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp dishwashing liquid, and some garlic cloves crushed,  mixed in 1lt of water, and left to infuse overnight. This is completely safe for other beneficial insects. Also, think of planting some beneficial insect plants that will attract ladybirds and they will take care of aphids for you. A favorite plant for ladybirds is the Angelica herb. • For ants you could sprinkle some diatomaceous earth on the ground where there is a lot of ant activity but only when it is dry. You will have to reapply it after it has rained. It is a natural organic control method that will not harm other insects.

Azalea Lace Bug damage to azaleas normally occurs on the leaves and will look like silvery, white, or yellow spots. This is caused by these azalea insects, literally sucking small sections of the leaf dry and killing that section of the leaf. As these azalea leaf pests move on across the leaf, more and more spots will appear. These azalea insect problems are best avoided in the first place. The azalea lace bug tends to attack plants that are already weakened due to poor fertilizing or watering, so make sure to take proper care of your plants. If your azalea shrub is already infested with these azalea leaf pests, you can try one of two methods for getting rid of them. The first is chemical controls and the other is organic control. Chemical control involves using insecticidal soaps (some of which are organic). Most off-the-shelf insecticides will effectively kill azalea lace bugs. For organic control of these azalea insects, you can try several methods. The first method to try is to spray the plant down with a sprayer on the hose. This can knock the pests of the plant and disorient them enough to prevent re-infestation. • Codling Moth attacks Apples and Pears. The moth lays its eggs on leaves and immature fruit as flowering finishes. The hatching caterpillars then burrow into the fruit and eat it from the inside.   Yates Success Ultra is a good product to control these. You can also use organic control methods such as neem oil or even physical barriers such as fruit bags. Welcoming beneficial insects in your garden will also help with the control of codling moths. • Keep an eye out on your Rose plants for common diseases such as black spot, rust, and mildew. If you have noticed any fungal disease in the past on your plants, now is a good time to spray them with some organic copper-based fungicides.

That’s it for this month!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Maple Show 2021!

We have a fantastic MAPLE SHOW happening at the nursery with over 20 varieties of maples of various shapes, colors, and sizes!

This is a great time to choose your maple as they are at their best right now, putting on an amazing display, with their spectacular array of foliage types and colors. Maple trees can provide a striking focal point in your garden, be the perfect plant to put in a large container on your patio, or grow into an impressive bonsai specimen. We have dozens of Japanese maple varieties in various sizes, with a large assortment of leaf shapes and colors ranging from shades of green to orange, red, purple, pink, and variegated.

 

Christmas trees 2021

Christmas Trees Selection!

If you prefer the look, feel, and smell of a real tree and if you can’t bear the thought of cutting down a tree just to use it for a few weeks, why not use a live potted Christmas tree and keep it for many years!!

Here are some tips for your potted live Christmas trees on how to take care of them so as they can be used over and over again for the next 10 years!

• Sunlight –  It’s recommended that you keep your potted tree near a window that receives sunlight but has protection from the hot afternoon heat.

• Lack of sunlight – If the spot for your Christmas tree does not receive any natural sunlight or reflected light, you should bring it indoors for Christmas as late as possible. The weekend before Christmas is ideal. They can survive indoors without direct sunlight for a little while, but we would advise not to keep them indoors any longer than 20 days. But if the spot receives some sunlight indoors, it can stay a bit longer.

• Watering – As with most houseplants, watering is the most important aspect of caring for them. Too much and your potted tree will die of ‘wet feet’, too little and the leaves will turn brown and fall. So water sparingly and do a simple moisture check by sticking your finger into the dirt up to your second knuckle and checking if the soil is dry. When you remove your finger, any soil sticking to it indicates moisture. When your finger comes out relatively clean, it’s time to water. Always check that the container has good drainage and some sort of saucer underneath to catch any excess water.

• Sunburn  (VERY IMPORTANT)– After Christmas, you should put your tree out in the shade for a couple of months, protected from the harsh summer sun, then slowly move it back into the sun in early Autumn. If you just put it back in the full summer sun directly after being indoors for a long time, the leaves will get sunburnt and turn brown.

• Root-Bound – After the Christmas period, check the roots of your tree. If the root-ball is getting too thick, loosen them up and plant your tree in a slightly bigger pot. If it is not a dense root-ball, they can be left in the same pot.

• Prune and shape your tree in winter to keep it neat and tidy. Be gentle with the pruning as they grow very slowly and bad pruning can take years to fix.

• Fertilise your tree at the start of spring with a balanced fertilizer to give it a good boost during its growing season and make it look lush for Christmas.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November in the Garden 2021!

Hello Hello, dear gardening friends! It is already November and the weather is looking fantastic here in Melbourne with warm days, clear blue skies but also the occasional shower! With the lock-down finally lifted, we were so happy to see all of you back in store these past few weeks! Traditionally Cup weekend has been used as a marker to plant out tomatoes and other summer crops. Callistemon, Geraniums, and roses are blooming beautifully, while Hydrangeas and Agapanthus are getting ready to bloom in the next couple of weeks. Summer veggies like tomatoes are growing very well and will soon require stakes to keep them from falling over and peppers are getting taller every day.  From clipping back your spring-flowering plants to mulching, there is always a lot to do, so let’s see what can be done in the garden right now.

We also have some amazing deals such as:

 Spend over $300 and get Free Delivery to Metro Melbourne and major regional centers!

 Spend over $500 and get a $99 Weeping Cherry(Cheals or Subhirtella Alba) in 12″ pot for FREE!

Spend over $1000 and get a $199 Red Weeping Maple ‘Inaba Shidare’  in 12″ pot for FREE!

Spend over $2000 and get a $399 Free Weeping Cherry ‘Falling Snow’ in 20″ pot for FREE!

Do not miss out as these are only while stocks last! Only one free plant per person/purchase and does not accumulate.You can still get Free delivery for Metro and major regional areas together with your Free plant! These are valid only for In-Store and Over phone orders! 

Roses

Most 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. Keep an eye out for aphids that love to feed on the fresh new growth. 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!

Flowers

• We have a fantastic selection of perennial flowering plants 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 Flower: Here are a few flowers that you can plant from seed right now: marigolds, salvias, petunias, sunflowers, asters, delphiniums, foxgloves, snapdragons, cosmos, and dianthus. Nasturtiums and marigold are the best companions for Summer tomatoes and capsicums, as they deter many pests such as aphids and slugs.

 

Native Gardens

Native plants are very popular right now as they can easily be included in any type of garden. Native plants have so many advantages as they have lower maintenance requirements, are easy to grow, and quite hardy. They require less water and are wildlife-friendly. If you want a fully Australian native landscape, then a natural design and layout work best. Crushed granite on curved fluid pathways, timber sleepers for edging beds, and rustic garden sculptures all fit together very well. The Facebook page Australian Native Plant Enthusiasts forum is great for some native plant inspiration and one particular garden that always catches my attention is the Rosella Rise Native Garden of Deb MC. It has such a beautiful combination of plants, colors, and textures that it would inspire anyone to start a native garden! Be sure to click on the link to see more of that amazing Australian Native garden. To create such a paradise, you can use a variety of grasses, desert plants, shrubs, ground cover, succulents, herbs, food plants, fruit and berries to create a diverse Australian native garden.

Click here to see them all!

Fruits

Going into your garden, picking your own fruit, and enjoying them as fresh as they 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! You could then perhaps exchange or sell your surplus produce!

Citrus plants. We have a great variety of 4L pots that are on sale right now! Citrus trees have been hard to get and in high demand this year, but this batch is new. 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.

Berries. 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.

Other fruits. Here are some less common fruits that you will rarely find in supermarkets!

Veggies, herbs, and Greens!

Summer/Spring veggies such as tomato, peppers, squash, eggplants, zucchini, chilies, and basil can now be safely planted out in the ground! It is warm enough for them to grow beautifully. Remember to water them in properly with some seaweed fertilizers, which will help them settle in their new spot. See the full list here.

Tips for better tomatoes!

1. Work some rich compost in the soil and supplement with some calcium to avoid blossom end rot.
2. Plant your tomatoes at least 45 cm apart and bury the stems deeply.
3. Remove the bottom leaves and pinch off the side suckers.
4. Fasten them to a stake or in a tomato cage.
5. Mulch the soil and water regularly
6. Plant some companion plants around your tomatoes such as basil, chives, borage, nasturtiums, and marigolds as they deter pests.

Before planting your summer crops, dig in a generous amount of compost and manure in your veggie patch as these plants are quite heavy feeders. If you have experienced blossom end rot on your tomatoes in the past, it could be that your soil is deficient in calcium, and adding some garden lime will fix this issue. Just be aware that garden lime also raises the pH level of soils high in acidity, to make them more alkaline.

Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, rocket, endive, silverbeet, mustard greens, and celery will all grow well in the garden right now until the early hot days of Summer are here. If you have limited space, you may want to favor Summer veggies instead and leave the leafy greens for the cooler months. You can also get creative and plant lettuce/rocket under or around your tomatoes/capsicums as they usually have shallow root systems that will not interfere too much.  Planting them every couple of weeks will ensure a steady supply. See full list here.

Culinary 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.  

Christmas Trees Selection!

If you prefer the look, feel, and smell of a real tree and if you can’t bear the thought of cutting down a tree just to use it for a few weeks, why not use a live potted Christmas tree and keep it for many years!! More products will be added in the coming weeks!

Here are some tips for your potted live Christmas trees on how to take care of them so as they can be used over and over again for the next 10 years!

• Sunlight –  It’s recommended that you keep your potted tree near a window that receives sunlight but has protection from the hot afternoon heat.

• Lack of sunlight – If the spot where you will place your Christmas tree is where it will not receive any natural sunlight or reflected light, you should bring it indoors as late as possible. The weekend before Christmas is ideal, and it’s advised not to keep living trees in the house any longer than 20 days. But if it does receive some sunlight indoors, it can stay a bit longer.

• Watering – As with most houseplants, watering is the most important aspect of caring for them. Too much and your potted tree will die of ‘wet feet’, too little and the leaves will turn brown and fall. So water sparingly and do a simple moisture check by stick your finger into the dirt as far down as you can and see if the soil is dry. When you remove your finger, any soil sticking to it indicates moisture. When your finger comes out relatively clean, it’s time to water. Always check that the container has good drainage and some sort of saucer underneath to catch any excess water.

• Sunburn – After you’ve used it as your Christmas tree put it out in the shade for a couple of months, then slowly move it back into the sun around Autumn. If you just put it back in the full summer sun directly after being indoors for a long time, the leaves will get sunburnt and turn brown.

• Root-Bound – After the Christmas period, check the roots of your tree. If the root-ball is getting too thick, loosen them up and plant your tree in a slightly bigger pot. If it is not a dense root-ball, they can be left in the same pot.

• Prune and shape your tree in winter to keep it neat and tidy. Be gentle with the pruning as they grow very slowly and bad pruning can take years to fix.

• Fertilise your tree at the start of spring with a balanced fertilizer to give it a good boost during its growing season and make it look lush for Christmas.

Pruning, Repotting & Weeding

Spring flowering bulbs should be pulled out of the ground, trimmed of any shoots and excess roots, the soil is gently brushed off and the bulb is let dry. Then you can store them in a paper bag in a cool dry place over summer and autumn until it is time to plant them again.

• If your potted plants are looking overcrowded, you can always trim them or split and re-pot them into new pots. Make sure to use the right potting mix for them.

Scraggy plants. If you have tried to revive and fertilize old and sad-looking plants to no avail, perhaps it is time to replace them. Rework the soil after pulling them out and let it settle for a week before planting a new plant there.

• Always stay on top of the weeds. With all the Spring flowers blooming and then releasing their seeds in the wind, you will see small seedlings popping up everywhere. It is easier to get them while they are still small by disturbing the topsoil and applying some mulch.

Soil, Fertilising, and Mulching

• For your veggie patch, if you have very poor soil, mix in generous amounts of rich compost, manure, and also some blood and bone meal. If your soil is already quite good, instead of turning it over, try top dressing. Turning the soil over when you already have healthy soil will disturb the delicate worm and microbial systems, which take time to build and are important for good plant development.