Wasp like insects

I’ve had many people asking about Hoverflys this season as there are many around Melbourne gardens at the moment. They are a beneficial insect as they lay their eggs on plants which are suffering from aphid attack. When they hatch they feed on the aphids. They are harmless to people so enjoy the benefit of having them around.     


 

When to plant bulbs

The best time to plant Spring flowering bulbs in Melbourne is during April and May. Tulip bulbs are best when put in the fridge on April 1st and planted in the garden on Mother’s Day.

Planting depth and position

Plant bulbs twice as deep as the bulb is high (tall) with the pointy end facing up in free draining soil in a sunny position.

Watering and feeding

When planting add Fertiliser and water in, after that they prefer it rather dry while dormant but start watering as soon as the green shoots appear above the soil. Bulbs benefit most when they are fertilized when flowering has finished and they are taking up nutrients for next seasons flowers.

If you would really like to grow bulbs but don’t have a sunny area, the following bulbs will grow and flower with a minimum of 3 hours of full sun a day.  Anemones, Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Bluebells, Lachenalias, Dutch Crocus, Cuban Lilies and Grape Hyacinths.

 

Autumn flowering plants

Who wouldn’t love flowers in the garden all year round. Here are a few plants that will give you flowers in the garden in Autumn. You can select plants from our other lists for Summer, Winter and Spring flowers.

Shrubs & grasses

Sedum, Aster, Anemone, Plectranthus, Salvias, Miscanthus, Kangaroo paw, Camellia sasanqua, Eucalyptus Macrocarpa, Tibouchina,

Climbers

Thunbergia alata (Black-eyed Susan)

Why are my tomatoes splitting?

Inconsistent watering. Tomatoes like even watering which can be hard when it is hot and dry then a cool change comes through with a huge down pour of rain. When tomatoes are grown in Melbournes hot 30+ days, the fruit will develope a tough thick skin to protect itself. After heavy rain or if you decide to give the plant a good drenching, the flesh inside will grow rapidly and swell causing the fruit to split. So the trick is to give your plant a good drenching everyday when it is fruiting. But remember not to wet the foliage as tomatoes suffer from Black spot, a fungal infection encouraged by humidity

Aphids

September is the first month of Spring in Australia and you are sure to find Aphids on your Roses. These small green sap suckers on your roses are easy to control with a horticultural spray so your roses can stay healthy and bloom from Spring to Autumn. Spray plants at the first sign of Aphids in early Spring with Pyrethrum, horticultural oil or Natures way bug gun.

Did you know that when a baby Aphid is born it already has babies growing inside it, so the mother also carries her grandchildren.

Aphids may be the only insects that can photosynthesize

Autumn garden tips

Autumn’s here and it’s a great time to propagate Australian native plants. Most gardens in Melbourne would be hydraphobic and in need of an application of soil wetting agent after our hot summer to let in the the rain we will be getting soon. Being the start of a new season it’s also a great time to fertilise, dig in compost water and mulch garden beds, this will give winter dormant plants a good pick up before Winter comes.
Enjoy Autumn it’s the best time of the year to be planting.

  

Spring mulching

October in Melbourne is a great time to mulch those garden beds to trap in the winter and spring rain.  Fertilize plants to replace all the energy they have used with spring flowering then mulch the day after we have had a decent rainfall, spreading out blood and bone first to stop nitrogen draw down.  Mulch between 7 and 10 cm deep and keep mulch away from plant trunks to avoid collar rot.

Plants with frost damage Melbourne

We have had some very damaging frosts around Melbourne this winter. Low-lying areas such as around creeks have been the worst affected. One of the areas I have seen the worst damage is Hurstbridge a suburb north east off Melbourne. There I have seen the surface of large water features holding two thousand litres freeze and the ground frozen like an ice-skating rink. Plants that normally tolerate the normal winter frosts we have had in past winters have been burnt this year such as mature Eucalypt trees. To try and help plants that have been burnt make it through winter there are a few things you can do. Firstly don’t prune plants, the dead foliage will help shield the undamaged foliage through winter and pruning encourages new growth which is more susceptible to frost damage. Don’t fertilize any damaged plants until frosts are finished for the season. Do give a treatment of seaweed solution once a fortnight through the rest of winter, this will give plants a better chance of survival. Cover plants with hessian if possible this may lessen the amount of frost damage, however the dew on the hessian may also cause it to freeze. Place plants under the canopy of other trees or house eves if possible. There are a few products on the market, such as envy, that claim to help protect plants from frost, always use as outlined in the directions. Hopefully some of these tips can help your plants make it through these damaging winter frosts we are experiencing.

20140822-190229.jpg

20140822-190324.jpg

Winter flowering plants

With the colder and wetter weather in Melbourne most people tend to spend more time indoors but there are a few natives and exotics outdoors and on show in winter. Many Australian native plants and exotics are in flower during winter and there are hundreds to choose from to brighten up your garden. There are Grevilleas, Croweas, Callistemons, Correas, Phillotheca, Eremophila, Camellia japonica, Hellebores, Anemone, Proteas, Magnolias, Alyogyne and Eucalyptus.

20130601-174849.jpg20130601-174909.jpg20130601-175007.jpg20130601-175030.jpg20130616-122445.jpg20130616-122533.jpg20130601-174937.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting gardens during Summer

Most people realise it’s dry, but how dry? The 3 months leading up to Black Saturday in 2009 we had around 91mm of rain. The 3 months leading up to February 2013 we had around 45mm of rain. So if some of your trees and plants are dying now you can see why. The best thing you can do for your plants while we go through this dry spell is to add a soil wetting agent to the soil and water as needed then water with a seaweed extract once a fortnight.

The rainfall during 2008 for the months from May to October we averaged 253.6 mm of rain for the north-east outskirts of Melbourne, unfortunately for the same time in 2014 we only had 254.6 mm. Its going to be a hot dry Summer so water, seasol, apply a soil wetting agent and mulch plants to limit damage.