Gardening author JACKIE WARBURTON affords recommendation about billbergias and the booming vegetable backyard.
THE Queen of Tears (Billbergia nutans) is a terrific and hard bromeliad that survives effectively in our Canberra local weather.
It’s not bothered by our frosts and survives in a shady space the place different crops are tough to develop. Will probably be displaying enticing pink and inexperienced flowers this time of 12 months.
They’re shallow-rooted crops, develop solely to about 30 centimetres tall and like barely acid soil. They may also do effectively in hanging baskets or in an overcrowded pot.
An annual tidy up of the brown leaves and spent flowers will promote new development. Apply a general-purpose fertiliser at half power and that’s all they want for the next 12 months.
They’ve weak stems to a central mom root that break with age. Their clumps want dividing each few years to maintain new development sturdy. Reducing stems off on the base and replanting is a simple means of multiplying crops quick. Their tubular leaves are designed to carry water and little or no supplementary water is required as soon as established.
The foliage of most billbergias could be sharp and it’s clever to put on gloves and arm safety when working with them.
Don’t over-fertilise bromeliads as their colouring will probably be much less vivid within the foliage and flowers is not going to be as spectacular.
I develop a couple of different types of bromeliads, however they rot simply with additional winter rains.
WHILE the bromeliads are flowering, so are the Solomon’s seal, (Polygonatum odoratum). In addition they like a shady spot with natural soil and might attain about 60 centimetres in peak earlier than flowering.
The crops have white, bell-shaped blossoms that dangle beneath enticing arching stems. The vivid inexperienced is a beautiful distinction in summer season and the golden yellow is a characteristic within the autumn backyard as effectively.
Solomon’s seals are rhizomes and as soon as the flowering has completed, they are often divided and replanted. They want moisture to develop effectively, however are hardy as soon as established.
THE vegetable and herb backyard needs to be rising quick with moist soils and sunshine.
Proceed to choose and trim herbs to maintain them rising stronger and create new development that may style candy and never bitter.
As soon as greens bolt to flower, notably lettuces, their style turns into bitter. So for a lot of leafy greens, develop quick and choose quick. Make a lettuce pesto in case you have an abundance.
Herbs could be dried on a tray within the solar and saved in an hermetic container to be used within the winter kitchen for soups, stews and different meals.
Vegetable seeds, similar to beetroot, cabbage, zucchinis and silverbeet, could be sown into punnets with seed-raising combine.
Water greens early within the morning, earlier than the warmth of the day, which can give the leaves an opportunity to dry earlier than dusk. Irrigating the bottom and never the foliage minimises fungal illness which may be current.
Tomatoes, cucumbers and different vine growers will probably be placing on development now. Make sure the trellis is sturdy and robust sufficient to hold the burden of the fruit and maintain it tied off the bottom.
Tomatoes and cucumbers want pollinators, so plant flowers underneath them to draw bees.
Now’s additionally the time to have a look at mail-order catalogues to order winter vegetable seeds, autumn bulbs similar to daffodils and tulips for the subsequent season.
SUMMER pruning of wisteria could be performed after flowering. Take away wispy tendrils to maintain it in verify. Trim again tendrils to 10-15 centimetres from the primary stem and stop them winding by the vine and choking itself.
Wisteria could be propagated within the autumn by layering. Stems could be laid on the bottom and at a node, pegged to the soil to take root. As soon as rising in spring, reduce off the guardian plant and develop on.
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Ian Meikle, editor