Hang on to scorched foliage

WITH the distinct possibility of more extreme heat before autumn, it is important not to cut back heat-affected foliage.

Browning on the tips of the leaves… an indication of a plant needing water.

Browning on the tips of the leaves… an indication of a plant needing water.

This will only expose the soft leaves underneath and they will be scorched even quicker (equally, this applies to frost-damaged foliage in winter).

The first indication that plants are stressed is a browning on the tips of the leaves, as illustrated here. This indicates insufficient water at the root zone to draw moisture up into the plant’s leaves.

Repeating the advice of a few weeks ago; if the plants are not on a drip irrigation system most hand watering is a waste of water, time and energy.

With the ground so hard, water will simply run off. The only effective way of hand watering is to form a moat around the plant, preferably with soil. How large will depend on the size of the plant, but even a plant half to one metre tall will require a moat that holds at least 2-3 buckets of water.

I HAVE had several inquiries regarding the old building featured in the January 30 garden page with the wonderful display of wisteria and the lime-green of Euphorbia wulfenii. It was the old Rosebank Inn, at Yass, which was built by Thomas Laidlaw about 1840. Later it became a private residence and is one of the oldest buildings in the town.

Prize-winning dahlia blooms protected from sun and rain.

Prize-winning dahlia blooms protected from sun and rain.

THE thought of Mexico conjours up the country’s bright and colourful traditional costumes. I am sure they were influenced by the brilliant range of colours of their national flower, the Dahlia, declared in 1963.

The tubers were grown by the Aztecs as a food source. This practice died out after the Spanish Conquest, although not so the flowers.

They were introduced into Europe and Britain via the Spanish colonisers and took the flower world by storm.

In Canberra we have Australia’s champion dahlia growers and there is a chance to see possibly the largest display of dahlias in the country at the Canberra Horticultural Society’s Autumn Flower Show, at the Wesley Church Centre, National Circuit Forrest, on the weekend of March 1-2. This year it encompasses the Australian Open Dahlia Championships.

The show opens on the Saturday, after judging, at noon and 11.30am to 3.45pm on the Sunday. Entry is free and the plant stall is always a feature.

RECENTLY, I was reading of the suggestion of children growing hyacinth bulbs in a special hyacinth-growing vase (available from garden centres).

While I am all for encouraging children to garden, it is important to always wear gloves when handling hyacinth bulbs, as the husk can cause a nasty skin rash.

WITH the assistance of Keith Colls, of the Canberra Organic Garden Growers Society, I have completely updated my vegetable guide, including many veggies not listed before. Go to cedricbryant.com and, at the home page, click on Cedfacts and scroll down.

Jottings…

• As the fruit on many citrus varieties such as Eureka are maturing now, apply an extra feed of Neutrog Seamungus, a combination of chook poo and seaweed. Do not allow to dry out, especially if container grown.

• If you grow your own annuals from seed, now is sowing time.

• Complete dead-heading spent flowers on rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.

• Don’t let roses dry out and apply a foliar feed in the cool of the day to encourage an autumn flower display.

• It’s not too late to lift spring bulbs that may be in the wrong place for replanting next month.

• Know a friend or new neighbour recently moved to Canberra or Queanbeyan? Give them a copy of the Canberra Horticultural Society’s “The Canberra Gardener”, available from newsagents and bookshops.

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