Round up stray acorns before seedlings sprout

Round up stray acorns before seedlings sprout


Life & Style
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April is here with cooler nights and the end of dark mornings in sight.

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April is here with cooler nights and the end of dark mornings in sight.

Ornamental grape leaves change colour as nights cool and hang on for many weeks.

Ornamental grape leaves change colour as nights cool and hang on for many weeks.

I love daylight saving in summer - while totally appreciating it's tough for dairy farmers - but I guess we've all had it by the end of March.

My April list of gardening activities starts with collecting acorns. You'd think a drought stressed oak would set less seed than one that's well watered and vigorous, but this doesn't seem to be so: I'm looking at the heaviest crop of acorns I've seen for years. Oh for a grunter.

Bill tells me native eucalypts and wattles produce bumper crops of seed when stressed in order to pass on their genes and protect the species. Clearly our English oak has got the message.

As acorns germinate readily in every path and flowerbed, and the king parrots who normally eat them haven't yet come down from the ranges, I'm trundling my wheelbarrow round and reminding myself that picking acorns up now is easier than pulling out a gazillion seedlings next spring.

We all know tall oaks from little acorns grow. Don't risk suddenly finding yourself inhabiting a forest.

Having eliminated the acorns, I survey my overcrowded garden and wonder where to plant next spring's bulbs without doing a Marie Kondo declutter.

If you're asking yourself the same question, sorting them into sun and shade-lovers is a good way to start.

Shade-lovers like true snowdrops (Galanthus), crocus and scillas might flower for a day in sunshine before wilting, but sun-lovers won't bloom in shade.

Most spring bulbs like well-drained soil: they rot in soggy ground. A bulb's size is the best planting guide: plant it at a depth of two to three times its height.

Having eliminated the acorns, I survey my overcrowded garden and wonder where to plant next spring's bulbs without doing a Marie Kondo declutter. - Fiona Ogilvie

When it comes to distance apart you can scatter bulbs by gently tossing around a handful and planting where they fall, or, you can methodically separate them by at least the width of one bulb.

They mostly need to be underground by Anzac Day though tulips can wait until May.

Scented hyacinths can be planted in pots in April to flower indoors in July.

It's fun growing them in water in glass bulb planters and watching the roots expand by the day, but as this uses up all their reserves, they cannot be replanted in the garden when flowering has finished.

Lilies (Lilium sp.) can be divided in April, remembering that like snowdrops they mustn't dry out or that's the end of them.

The November or Christmas lily (L. longiflorum) is the easiest for regions with dry summers.

Autumn colour is late this year, but our ornamental grape is finally turning.

For autumn scent, plant Eleagnus x ebbingei (syn. E. submacrophylla, 3 x 3 metres) a hardy, drought tolerant evergreen shrub from Japan with tiny, white, fragrant flowers hiding beneath leathery leaves.

Carcoar Hospital Museum's annual Down to Earth Gardening Expo and Plant Fair will take place on Sunday, April 28, from 8am to 2pm, entry is $5, children under 14 enter for free.

Visit the website at www.carcoarvillage.com/ 

For further information call Jill on 6367 3056, or Eric on 0427 166 273.

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