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


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

Plant advice Melbourne

With over 300,000 flowering plants on the planet, plant selection can be difficult. Growing plants that are indigenous to your area are the most successful as they have adapted naturally to your local soils and climate. Many plants from other areas can be grown successfully when the right growing conditions are established. At Plantwise we have extensive plant and design knowledge and can help you with the plant selection process in your backyard whether you have finished hard landscaping or just starting.

Email angela@plantwise.com.au for a quote on consultation costs today. We aim to respond on the same day or within 24 hours of your inquiry.

Potting mix

Potting mix is as the name suggests, potting mix is only for putting into pots as a planting media, it’s not for putting in the ground. If you are planting into the ground, improve the soil with compost. Potting mix is commonly a mixture of perlite, bark, sand and compost. There are premium potting mixes that contain wetting agent and fertiliser but this will only last around 28 days then you will need to add fertilisers. Potting mix does not last. You will get around three years out of a premium potting mix and two out of a cheap brand, plants will struggle if their potting mix isn’t replaced. In potting mix there is the potential presence of pathogens such as legionella that can affect humans. Always wear gloves and a mask and wash your hands after handling it.


How to keep a pond clean

If you are planning to build a pond in your backyard, take care where you put it. Don’t put it under trees or large shrubs unless you are going to cover it with a net, otherwise you will spend hours cleaning leaves out of the water.  If you don’t clean out the leaves regularly they will rot upsetting the balance in your pond.  Then your water will go green and algae will grow which takes a lot of effort to rectify.  Choose an open sunny spot which aquatic plants need to grow well or they will become leggy and won’t flower readily.  The plants and a few logs will provide shelter for fish.


Why is plant my dying?

Even if your plants are correctly watered and fed occasionally they sometimes die.  We can help you work out what has happened so you don’t keep spending money on plants only to be disappointed and out of pocket. You need to work out what has happened as it may affect other plants, then you can treat them before it’s too late.  Check the steams for pest or disease.  Have a close look at the foliage, is there any damage, have they been eaten, are there any bugs on them?  Take a close look at plants at night, lots of bugs only come out in the dark and also after rain.  Also check the roots, are they shrivelled from drought or water logging, have they been eaten by bugs?  Is the plant in the wrong position, too much sun or not enough, too dry or too wet, is the soil too acidic or too alkaline or is the soil texture to hard with too much clay.  We come to your garden and help you solve these problems with our garden consultation service.

Plants for summer sun and winter shade

A difficult place in the garden to plant out and have great success is on the southern side of a building. An area that is shady in winter and sunny in summer is quite open apart from the building which cast shade in winter but is hot and sunny in summer as the sun rises in the sky. This can be rectified by planting trees adjacent to this area so it is shady all year round, then you can plant the area out with shade loving plants.  Alternatively this area can be planted out with deciduous plants as they don’t need any sun in winter. However if these two options don’t suit there are a few plants that will do quite well with full winter shade and hot summer sun. Suitable plants are limited but some good ones are, Dianella revolta, Azaleas, Dietes, Nandina domestica ‘nana’, Yucca,  Agapanthus and Abelia.

Garden advice Melbourne


A home garden consultation is for anyone who needs professional garden advice , whether it’s looking after an existing garden or planning a new one. Qualified horticulturalist Angela Carstairs meets with you at your home or construction site to discuss any garden questions you may have in regards to design, plant selection, health,  pest and weed control etc. After being in the retail nursery industry for many years I have learnt that the only way to accurately asses someone’s garden or plant problems is by personally seeing the garden myself. Just as a doctor can give a better assessment when he sees the patient himself.

Garden consultations are a minimum of 1 hour and general take one or two hours. During your consultation I will walk around and discus your garden needs with you. You can take notes if you like or I can draw up your garden with plant placement and plant names. At the end of your consultation you will have a clear picture of how to proceed with your garden or a plan of your garden with plants and plant names so you can confidently complete your garden yourself or we can recommend a qualified and reliable horticulturalist to do the work for you.

Email or call us today for a free quote.

Call 0437798788 or email angela@plantwise.com.au to book an appointment.

White cabbage butterfly control

Are your Brocilli, Cauliflower and Cabbages being eaten in the garden? Most likely it is the caterpillar of the cabbage moth.  The white cabbage moth lays its eggs on your plants and when they hatch the caterpillars start feeding on your plants leaving many holes.  The caterpillar will then form its cocoon on your plants, then in time out will come the white cabbage moth.  You can protect your crops by checking them daily looking on the underside of the leaf and squashing the caterpillars with your fingers.  You can also spray them, but be careful what you use, you don’t want to use anything poisonous as you are going to eat these plants.  Dipel  is the best spray, it is a non-toxic, naturally occurring bacteria known as Bacillus thuringiensis which only kills the caterpillars as they eat.  Another way to control cabbage moth is with the plant Barbarea vulgaris known as Land cress, winter cress, Rocket cress or cress, this plant is a great companion plant for Brassicas such as Brocilli and Cabages. The white cabbage butterfly would prefer to lay it’s egg on this rather than the Brocilli you grow to eat yourself.  The benefit of this is that this plant is poisonous to the cabbage moth and  when the caterpillars hatch and start eating it, the toxicity of the cress kills them. This protects your Brocilli by being a sacrifice plant in your garden.