Sunday, 30 April 2017

May in the Australian Garden

Give deciduous fruit trees a clean-up spray with lime sulphur after their leaves fall.
Collect fallen autumn leaves. They’re ideal for composting.
Choose and plant autumn trees while they’re in full colour.
Flowers and Shrubs
This is the last-chance month for planting spring bulbs.
Purchase new season’s roses early from shops for the best selection.
Protect emerging orchid flower spikes with snail pellets.
Plant natives and winter flowers.
Fruit trees and vegetables
Plant citrus in all but frosty areas.
Transplant runners (sideways-growing pieces with some roots) from couch, kikuyu or Durban grass lawns to fill bare patches.
Feed the lawn to help maintain its green colour into winter.
What to sow this month 
Alyssum carpet of snow, English daisy, sweet peas, cineraria, pansies, poppies
Baby spinach, broad beans, spinach, lettuce, spring onion, rocket, coriander, onion, peas
Birth flowers for May

Traditional - Lily of the Valley
Humility, chastity, sweetness, purity, return of happiness.
Ancient Greeks believed they sprouted from the milk of Hera, the queen of the gods.
Lily of the Valley has been used in herbal medicine as a poison antidote, for the heart and epilepsy. It is said to have come from Eve's tears when she was kicked out of the Garden of Eden.
Called "the ladder to heaven" and "fairy ladders" in Ireland.

Australian - Wax flower (Crowea saligna)
Pink flowering compact evergreen shrub which spot flowers all year.
Aromatic foliage.
Needs sandy soil.

Quote of the month
"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad." 

Edwin Way Teale

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Handy Hints for Lemons

Got a lemon tree in the garden? Do you have times when you are begging your friends to take them off your hands? Here are some tips for using lemons for cleaning. Your home will be fresh and clean and you will save money too.

Soap scum

Cut a lemon in half and rub fruit side of lemon over soap scum. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

Cutting boards

Cut lemon in half and sprinkle salt on the cut half. Rub lemon and salt on cutting board to kill germs. Wash as usual and allow air to dry.

Natural bleach

Squeeze the juice of a lemon (or ¼ - ½ cup lemon juice) in 4 lites of hot water. Add whites and let soak for 1-2 hours. This is a great bleach alternative for cloth nappies, antique linens and other delicate washables.

All purpose cleaner

Mix together ½ cup vinegar, juice of one lemon and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.

Sink cleaner

Mix lemon juice and salt into a paste. Apply to metal, scrub and rinse.

Grout cleaner

Mix lemon juice with 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar into a paste. Apply to grout, scrub with an old toothbrush and rinse.

Garbage disposal

Cut lemon peel into small pieces, run cold water and grind the lemon for a fresh smelly unit.

Room freshener

Combine 4 cups water, peel of one lemon, 3 cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg, 10-12 whole cloves and a dash of vanilla extract in a saucepan. Bring to boil then simmer for 1-2 hours. (Herbs such as rosemary and lavender also combine well with lemon.)


Put a bowl of water and juice of one lemon and the lemon halves in microwave. Run until the water boils (3-5 mins). Let the microwave sit for 15-30 minutes to steam then wipe clean.

Furniture polish

Mix ½ cup lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil or lemon essential oil (or the lemon peels). The mix will keep for up to one week in an air tight container

Sunday, 2 April 2017

April in the Australian Garden

Flowers and Shrubs
Plant trees for autumn colour while you can see them at their best. Feed established shrubs and trees. Cut back geraniums with spotty, diseased leaves. Spray with fungicide. Prune and tidy day lilies, Easter daisies, lavender, phlox and other perennials that have finished flowering.

Plant pre-chilled bulbs into pots or garden beds. Plant the rest of your spring-flowering bulbs. Plant Flanders poppies to commemorate Anzac Day. Mix some compost or old manure into the soil to get it ready for new roses. If soil is acid, mix in some lime. 

Cut back anything that’s dead or has damaged foliage, including flowers and vegies. Feed plants with Dynamic Lifter pellets to encourage replacement growth. In frost-prone areas, begin protecting tender new growth. Check for any pests such as azalea lace bug, aphids, thrips and scale.

Fruit trees and vegetables
Fertilise vegies every two weeks with soluble plant food

Feed lawns with a good quality lawn food. Water well to carry the fertiliser down to the roots. Spread lime over gardens or lawns, where soils are heavy or mix in organic matter. Feed and mow lawn less. Set mower blades higher. Take care of weeds. If brown patches emerge, aerate and reduce Ph with sulphur.

What to sow this month
Agerathum, alyssum, anemone, aquilegria, arcototis, bluebell, calendula, candytuft, Canterbury bells, carnation, cineraria, coreopsis, cornflowers, cyclamen, daffodil, delphinium, dianthus, everlasting daisy, forget-me-not, foxglove, freesia, hollyhock, honesty, impatiens, larkspur, linaria, Livingstone daisy, lobelia, malope, nigella, pansy, poppy, ranunculi, sweet pea, stock, strawflower, watsonia, viola

Broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cress, garlic, herbs, leek, lettuce, mustard, onion, peas, radish, shallot, spinach, spring onion, turnip

Birth Flowers for April

Traditional - Daisy
Innocence, simplicity, modesty. 
The daisy was said to spring from the tears of Mary Magdalene.
Opening closing with the sun's rays, it was known as 'God's smile' and 'Day's Eye'.
Associated with Venus, it is used as a lovers' divination, plucking the petals while chanting "s/he loves me, s/he loves me not".

Australian - Native violet (Viola hederacea)
An easy to grow ground cover. Blueish-purple and white flowers on short stems.

Quote of the month
"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So, I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.”   Nathaniel Hawthorne