Tips and News

In the Garden this Month with Hazel King

It is important to check soil moisture.  Plants took advantage of rainfall at the end of March, and put on a spurt of growth.  Check pots, particularly those in sheltered areas, also plants protected by house eaves and overhanging trees and shrubs.

Rake up deciduous leaves.  Use them as mulch for garden beds (ensuring that the soil is moist), compost or bag for later use.  Leaves must be removed from lawns as some grasses are susceptible to fungal problems.

Reduce watering of indoor plants, move them away from heaters.  Mist spray regularly or raise humidity by placing bowls of water near plants in heated rooms.

Application of blueing and pinking products to hydrangeas will ensure that your plant choice retains its original colour.  Check packet information for details.

Summer bulbs are now available in nurseries.  Plant Liliums immediately.

Check the vegetable garden.  If the area receives enough sun for winter crops dig and add manure and compost before planting.  If leaving fallow during cooler months, add compost and manure to build up a rich soil for later crops and fork over weekly.  Do not forget to add carbon, dry leaves, shredded paper, old egg cartons etc.  The green content adds nitrogen.

Autumn is a great time to walk around Berry and admire spectacular colour.

• Red: maple, ash, pear, liquidambar, and some specimens with a mixture of colour.

• Yellow: poplar, robinia, tulip tree, and gingko.

I checked out a tree planted in the centre of the lawn at Berry Men’s Shed this afternoon.  It is Nyssa sylvatica.  This tree is generally considered the best for red autumn colour in the Sydney region, that is, north to Newcastle, south to Nowra, west to Blue Mountains.  Also look out for persimmon and the wonderful Persian Ironwood, Parrotia persica.

Speaking of colour, members may have seen a grass turning red during autumn and winter months.  This is Andropogan virginicus, common name Broomsedge.  However, in Australia, its common name is Whisky Grass.

The grass is regarded as an environmental weed in NSW and Queensland.  It invades open woodlands, grasslands, forests and other native vegetation in eastern Australia.  Native to the Americas, this species is thought to have been introduced to Australia prior to 1900 in packing with American whisky bottles, hence its common name here.  It is a perennial, long lived tussocky grass to 1 metre.  It seeds prolifically for a short period in autumn and turns bright red in winter.  It has been found in Berry, and is a ‘roadside feature’ in Eurobodalla Shire.  HK

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