CANBERRA is hosting the South and West Regional Orchid Show and Conference this year, which will attract plants from as far away as Albury, Griffith and Wagga Wagga to the west, and on the south coast from Nowra to Bega.
The theme of the show is “Anniversaries”, to acknowledge the centenary of Canberra, the 175th anniversary of Queanbeyan and 30 years since the Orchid Society of Canberra was formed.
To accommodate the larger numbers of flowers, the show will be held at the Wesley Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest, 9am-5pm, on Saturday, October 5, and noon-4.30pm on Sunday, October 6.
Orchids from commercial growers and local hobby growers will be on sale and there will also be demonstrations on repotting orchids and opportunities to talk to society members about orchid care.
Anyone wishing to learn more about orchids should register for the conference at canberraorchids.org. The $20 registration fee covers attendance at all sessions of the conference on Saturday, morning and afternoon tea, unlimited entry to the show and participation in the field trips on Sunday morning.
More information at 6254 1119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
IN this garden page, I like to feature practical garden ideas, not just lots of pretty flower pictures.
So here’s a simple idea for raising plants from seed that is considerably cheaper than buying punnets and doubles as a practical learning experience for children.
I use polystyrene containers from our local supermarket to make into perfect seed-raising boxes that provide thick insulation so seedlings can be started off earlier.
In the illustrated example, the box has holes in its base for drainage and gaps in the sides at the top. This allows for good ventilation.
It can be covered by Perspex, which is safer than glass. And shadecloth can be used on hot days of full sun.
ORGANIC fertilisers, rather than chemical fertilisers, are absolutely vital in this age of all things synthetic.
Three years ago the Standards Association of Australia introduced Australian Standard AS 6000 for organic and bio-dynamic products.
If companies state their products are truly organic they should comply with this standard. In addition, there are existing organic standards certifier organisations that are, I understand, acceptable to the Federal standard. These include the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia, the nation’s leading organic certifier offering certification both here and overseas.
There is also Organic Gardening, originally known as Biological Farmers of Australia (the name change reflects more the natural products they certify).
Don’t be misled with the name “farmers” in their title as this certification equally applies to agriculture and horticulture, from commercial growers to the home gardener.
The important distinction to remember when buying products is to look for “certified” organic not just organic. Companies producing fertiliser do not necessarily have all their products labelled as “certified” organic. For example, if chook poo pellets come from battery hens, they cannot be classed as “certified organic”. Whereas from free range hens fed with natural feed, they can be certified as organic.
I always encourage gardeners to use certified fertilisers, with two examples being Maxicrop Seaweed Plant Nutrient, certified as organic by the NASAA, and Neutrog Seamungus and Seamungus Crumble by Organic Gardening.
WITH the tomato-growing season looming fast, here are two useful products.
Firstly, Maxicrop has introduced its tomato and vegetable fertiliser, especially formulated with seaweed and other nutrients. The seaweed content encourages strong root growth without which you will not get good, big healthy tomatoes and other veggies.
The second product, one of the best things since sliced bread, is not new, but the Velcro Tomato and Plant Tie may be unfamiliar to many people. This tie, or rather a tape, can be used over and over again and will not rot. I have used it for tying and training every plant on wires from clematis to star jasmine and climbing roses.
Both these products should be readily available from local garden centres.
Goodbye woollies, hello spring garden
THE pullovers are off and so is everything growing in the garden:
When planting trees and shrubs remove about a third of the potting mix so some of the roots are in direct contact with the new soil.
When dividing clumpy plants such as grasses or Agapanthus run a dripping hose on the root ball for a couple of hours to loosen the soil and make it easier to dig up and divide.
Do not tie up daffodil leaves after flowering as this affects the nutrient returning to the bulb. Cut off old leaves six weeks after flowering.
If you have trees growing in lawn keep whipper-snippers well away from the trunk – they are the perfect ring-barking machine!