ADVICE

AUTUMN IN THE GARDEN

 

Blue skies, purple shadows and gentle golden light make gardening in the afternoons pure pleasure.

LAWN

Some of you may be grateful for a little less mowing at this time of year. Others may sniff as they put the mower for away for an indefinite period. The growth of our lawn slows down as the cooler weather approaches, almost knowing that sometimes it’s all too hard to get outside in the peak of winter. So now is the perfect time to send the mower off for its annual service. As Winters approaches, so too does the frost and the wet weather. During both of these events, its best to stay off the grass, as much as possible, to prevent damage or burn.

 

ADMIRE 

Fragrant Camellias. Camellias are the shining stars of the sleepy winter garden. I love them for their evergreen foliage, stunning flowers and lack of pest and disease problems. Why not love them for their fragrance too? Not many camellias are perfumed, but take a look – and a deep breath – at these. For a tall option try ‘High Fragrance’; medium-height scented beauties include Lutchuensis, ‘Scentuous’, ‘Koto No Kaori’; and smaller selections include ‘Spring Mist’ and ‘Sweet Emily Kate’.

Take check of the sculptural element of deciduous trees and witness the difference the defoliation makes to the surrounding landscape. The exposed trunks can be quite stunning, and now take centre stage, after the leaves have fallen. The increase in light exposure is quite phenomenal.

 

RAKE

Continue to collect autumn leaves and add it to your compost. Ensure you spread this goodness over the garden beds in Spring which in turn will feed your plants.

PULL

Pull up any remaining tomatoes, eggplant, and capsicum. Dig them up with as much soil as possible and leave them in the shed. The fruit will continue to ripen – one last chutney can still be made.

MOVE

Transplant any evergreen plants you have been wanting to move. Move your outdoor furniture into a sunny spot to capture the winter sun.

Autumn is a second spring
when every leaf is a flower

Albert Camus

 

FEED

Treat the entire garden to a topping of organic fertiliser to revitalise the soil and add essential elements and good bacteria.

Fertilise Camellias, Azaleas, Daphne and Rhodendrons with a specific Azalea and Camellia food, compost and a few handfuls of sulphate of potash. Most varieties are about to flower now, lasting through Winter and into Spring.

Fertilise cymbidium orchids. Apply the pellets once a month until flowering spikes appear.

DIVIDE

Continue to divide herbaceous perennials before the conditions become too cold.  Share the excess with friends or repeat groupings of the plant throughout the garden. Divide evergreen perennials such as kangaroo paw, clivia, agapanthus, mondo and dianella.

PRUNE

Treat the entire garden to a topping of organic fertiliser to revitalise the soil and add essential elements and good bacteria.

Fertilise Camellias, Azaleas, Daphne and Rhodendrons with a specific Azalea and Camellia food, compost and a few handfuls of sulphate of potash. Most varieties are about to flower now, lasting through Winter and into Spring.

Fertilise cymbidium orchids. Apply the pellets once a month until flowering spikes appear.

PROTECT

Frosts are already starting to appear in some areas of the country. Where possible, ensure you bring tender young plants in undercover. If the frost is particularly heavy, you can also offer your garden beds a light sprinkle of water which will reduce the risk of damage caused.

PLANT NOW

sweet peas now for a beautiful spring display. Browse catalogues to colour co-ordinate sweet peas with your climbing roses. Pull out summer crops to make way for winter vegetables like kale. Loosen the soil, top dress with manure and dig in blood and bone.

broad beans shutterstock_96619060

BROAD BEANS
Sow broad beans directly into the soil at 10cm intervals in rows 20cm apart. Ensure you water once at the time of planting, then leave them for around 3 weeks, until they begin to sprout. A high maintenance vegetable, especially at preparation time, but well worth the effort when your Spring harvest is atop of crusty bread with feta, mint, lemon, garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.

GARLIC
Continue to plant your garlic. Plant at a depth of around 5cm at 10cm intervals in row widths of 40cm. Always buy your garlic bulbs from a reputable organic supplier.

artichokes shutterstock_110074124

ARTICHOKE
A stunning heirloom vegetable, the artichoke not only provides bold, edible flower buds, but a beautiful sculptural element to any garden bed. Carefully select the site for your artichokes, as they require a fair amount of room and will last for around 5 years. Feed with a liquid fertiliser every month and a handful of potash every fortnight during their active growth period to encourage flower bud development.

BROCCOLI
Before you sow your Broccoli, ensure you have dug some rich compost into the soil. Once sown at the correct spacing, fertilise again at around the 3-week mark. As the broccoli develops take care not to water the ‘heads’, watering at ground level if possible. Such a generous vegetable, continuing to offer side shoots even after the main stalk has been harvested.