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.
Many plants have had trouble in melbournes record breaking heatwave January 2014. Many plant have had their foliage burnt due to moisture loss as they are unable to draw moisture up quick enough to replace the loss.
A couple of tips are:
1 Don’t fertilise till March, fertilising will do more damage than good.
2 Apply a wetting agent to the soil around the base of plants.
3 Apply liquid seaweed such as Seasol around plants this is a tonic and it helps reduce stress.
4 There are products such as stressguard that can be sprayed on the foliage to reduce moisture losses.
5 Deep water plants which means for longer so it goes deep encouraging deep root growth.
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.