December into January is such an easy time in the garden with the work put in though the months before coming to fruition. Focus on the garden can be left to adding a few spots of colour, sorting out the odd bug or if you are staying home biting the bullet and renovating a whole garden bed.
A few spots of colour
The best part of gardening with colour this time of the year is that it’s instant. Begonias or Impatiens in the mostly shady spots get planted in flower and won’t stop till next winter. Marigolds and Salvia keep the pollinators coming to the garden and add colours such as yellow blue and oranges into the home. Regular deadheading this time of the year will also keep the buds coming and the bed looking tidy. We feed every week here at the nursery with Multifeed to keep our colour looking on point. A table spoon into a 5lt watering can will make all the difference on your patio too.
Sort out some bugs
Through midsummer we see a lot of Mole Crickets as well as Christmas beetle damage in some gardens. The Rose or Arum leaves get eaten into what looks like lace. That is the little brown beetle flying into the house at night. They are active at night so one never sees them on the leaves eating. Mole Cricket makes that rolling sound different to a normal cricket. They don’t leave mounds so its also hard to find them as they move under the soil destroying the roots of the lawn.
We recommend a systemic insecticide if you do want to clean up the local population of them in your garden. As systemic such as Efekto Plant Protector is used as a drench, not sprayed. It then goes up through the roots and protects the plant from the inside as opposed to contact insecticides that need to be sprayed and make contact with the bug.
Plant Sum Yum!
Chillies come in all shapes, sizes and colours ranging from tiny pointed extremely hot chillies to the large mild fleshy peppers like the Jalapeno. This is the best time of the year to select as you can harvest almost immediately. Chillies need a well drained soil as they don’t like to have their roots wet and soggy. They thrive in a hot spot and they do need to flower to produce a crop so we always recommend feeding them with a flowering plant food to boost the harvest.
In our family it's always a challenge to see who will eat the hottest but somehow afterwards they always make it into the meal. Find more information here!
Bugs spoiling your yum
Try planting Marigolds between your veggies and herbs as a companion plant. Their smell chases off many insects so they then end up leaving the veggies too. Keeping bugs off you herbs and veggies is often more tricky as you don’t want to spray poison on them. We recommend using the Ludwigs Organic Insect Spray. It works as a repellent. Spraying will chase off bugs such as aphids or caterpillars. It does not kill them and as soon as you’ve watered or it has rained you will need to reapply. Alternatively Oleum as an oil will cote the insects and limit their spread and survival rate.
Moth Orchid Care
Many Moth Orchids make their way into homes this time of the year as gifts or to decorate with. Moth Orchids last the longest in cooler weather and as we are in midsummer they need some help especially if you want the flowers to last as long as possible. First tip is to remember that one never touches the flowers - this will bruise them and they will not last. Next they need bright light indoors but for summer they need the coolest brightest spot. On hot weeks you may need to give an additional watering as long as the roots are not wet and soggy.
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It’s no secret that we think Agapanthus should be declared a national treasure. These #WaterWise indigenous gems grow in full sun to light shade. Our latest favourite that we just love is the Great White - we have a spectacular display of them growing along our driveway. With straight strong stems and fuller balls of flower that last longer than most they certainly are worth planting. Feed them with BioOcean fertiliser to stimulate flowering and to keep them lush. Agapanthus flower all summer and the rest of the year add a lush foliage to the garden with their shiny strappy leaves.
Last word on Roses
If you love your roses keep a lookout for Black Spot or mildew over the holidays. The rainy weather of summer is the perfect conditions for it to start. As much as possible this time of the year try keep the leaves dry so when you are watering try not to have a sprinkle over the top and rather water closer to the ground.