Newcastle Garden Guide by Brian Holt For June
Remember these tips are a guide only. Your individual situation may require professional help.
About now, looking at your front nature strip, you may begin to wonder if the postman’s motorbike is what started the Grand Canyon.
You can plant a lot of different plants at the moment and know they will not be blasted to death by the sun. I like to take cuttings of different things now, such as Vinca, Geraniums and Fuchsias and just shove them in pots or straight into the garden. If they grow it’s a bonus.
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sang John Denver. I’m sure he meant winter sun in our climate. Get out in the garden and enjoy it when it’s there. Keep the mower up high while lawns are slowing down.
Raking autumn leaves is a chore which could actually be enjoyable at the moment. Soils will be cooling down as daylight is less. Beware of watering to the point of saturation, especially late in the day, or else plants may be given a freezing cold bath. Keep mulch levels up; right now it will help retain soil warmth. Winter time is also renovation time. You can take advantage of plant dormancy to move things around and make changes to your gardens if needed. If you want to you can divide older clumping herbaceous perennials (plants that die down in winter and re-emerge in spring each year), after lifting them, so that you can use them in other parts of the garden, or give some away. Summer flowering shrubs can be pruned now, but only as much as is needed.
Don’t fertilise now, as plants will not take up nutrients. However, if you spread a bit of well formed compost around plants and veggies prior to mulching, it will encourage worms and condition the soil. A little cow manure is also good as it is mild and good for soil.
In the ornamental garden plant tuberous begonias, cannas, gerbera, iris, sparaxis and bare rooted roses. And if you want to remind yourself of Grandma, wack in some gladioli. A great source for many of these plant options is the mail order supplier, Tesselaar.
In the food gardens, plant strawberries, silver beet, Kale and rhubarb. But you will be pushing your luck with many herbs, such as Basil and Coriander, so don’t bother with these unless you have a glasshouse. For more info on things to plant now visit gardenate.com.
Your lawns for Bindii and clover. If your lawn was mown too low in summer, you will have a lot. You can start spraying them if you think you need to. If you wait till spring, they will have already sprung! Ask at your nursery for the appropriate stuff. Just remember, Buffalo lawns resent Dicamba based products. If you have couch or kikuyu, I would use Yates Weed and Feed. But do follow directions and watch for over spraying the garden. Personally, I don’t use it on my own lawns, particularly on my back lawn which is close to my vegetable patch. I just mow more frequently and hand remove any Bindii. Clover retreats again in summer.