'Wattle' the rain bring?

'Wattle' the rain bring? | In Fiona's Garden

Life & Style
Aa

The unusually dull, damp winter has delayed my Cootamundra wattle blossom until this week - normally it flowers in August.

Aa
Damp, dull winter weather delayed the flowering of a purple leaf Cootamundra wattle in Fiona Ogilvie's garden until late August.

Damp, dull winter weather delayed the flowering of a purple leaf Cootamundra wattle in Fiona Ogilvie's garden until late August.

RAIN in late winter brings joy to the gardener's heart.

It means growth in September, just what we want as the sun moves south and the days lengthen.

It also brings weeds but they're easily extracted from damp ground if you jump on them immediately after rain.

In a big garden you may need to resort to a selective weedicide that kills only grasses but keep it away from your ornamental grasses including bamboos.

Rains brings slugs and snails along with weeds, so lay bait after a shower.

Related reading:

Great news from Organic Crop Protectants (OCP) - they are releasing an organic control in the form of methiocarb- and metaldehyde-free pellets that break down into nutrients for soil and plants and are safe in your veggie patch. Hurrah. Available from mid-September for about $8.95 per 600 grams.

September is a good time to finish planting for gardeners in northern NSW who enjoy summer rainfall.

In central and southern NSW I generally oppose spring planting as our summers tend to be dry.

But this year it's a case of do as I say not as I do: I couldn't resist the combination of damp subsoil and an offer from Lambley Nursery of plants I'd hankered after for ages.

They included Kiwi toe toe grass (Chionochloa flavicans), two gorgeous, drought hardy pokers (Kniphofia) - creamy Little Maid and orange Alcazar - and catmint, Nepeta racemosa Walkers Low that has slightly larger leaves than N. mussinii and doesn't flop (I hope).

All are now safely installed among the rocks in my paddock garden. I'm keeping the hose ready and my fingers crossed and promise to report back on survival rates later this summer.

Some spring planting can't be avoided if you enjoy propagating favourite plants, regardless of where you live.

Ornamental grasses can be divided now (see The Land, 26 September). Snowdrop (Galanthus) bulbs need lifting and replanting when their leaves shrivel, as like lily bulbs they must be moved "in the green" or they die.

I also like planting out my indoor hyacinth bulbs, and florists' cyclamen in sheltered corners, when their flowers finish. They don't attain the size of those grown to flower indoors but they make a pretty, colourful ground cover in the filtered light of a deciduous pear or crab apple.

Garden bulbs like jonquils, daffodils and tulips can be lifted after their leaves are finished for replanting in autumn. Label any favourites like a special early purple tulip or the beautiful but rarely available white gladdie, G. nanus The Bride, it's so worth the minor effort involved.

Our National Wattle Day is September 1 and wattles are bursting into flower all over the state.

The unusually dull, damp winter has delayed my Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana Purpurea) blossom until this week - normally it flowers in August.

It is a fast-growing, elegant tree, with spreading, slightly weeping branches, especially beautiful when the red stemmed, acid gold flowers appear among the glaucous blue, purple tipped leaves.

Australian Plants Online (www.australianplantsonline.com.au) offer Acacia baileyana Purpurea tubestock from late October.

Love agricultural news? Sign up for The Land's free daily newsletter.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by