Gardening columnist CEDRIC BRYANT loves to potter among the flowers on cool autumn days.
AUTUMN is a glorious time of year, with cooler days and nights that are better for sleeping.
Bulb leaves are popping up, and it’s the ideal time to potter amongst the garden’s colour. The lipstick pink of salvia, as well as the deep burgundy of sedum “Autumn Glory”, and fuchsias and cyclamen in hanging gardens all complete the autumn picture.
In our garden, one of the delights of autumn is anemone japonica, which as the name suggests is a native of Japan and China, growing to about 90cm. People either love or hate them, due to their natural spread by rhizomatous roots. It has been suggested that they need to be on the environmental weeds list. This is nonsense. Anemone japonica is one of 70 species of anemone belonging to the ranunculus family, and presents a wonderful display in the autumn with its pure white flowers. If it spreads too much, simply pull some out by the roots after flowering.
BULBS may be available at reduced prices now, as garden centres want to sell out before winter. Is it too late to plant them? No, but this is positively the last reminder. Check where existing bulbs are planted, too. Are they in total shade as shrubs have grown around them? They can still be relocated but do it now, with no excuses being stuck at home.
BLESS our previous town planners! One big mistake was to plant Celtis australis or nettle trees as street trees. Native to the Mediterranean, these were planted for their drought tolerance. These are now actually on the ACT Environmental Weeds list. Examples can be seen in Knox Street, Watson and Mueller Street, Yarralumla. The problem is the cockys love the deep purple fruit, prolific at this time of the year. If you have power lines along the rear of your property they sit on the lines, eat the fruit and spit the pips into your garden. I can dig out 20-30 young seedlings a day at this time. Get rid of them now as they can grow to 10m plus in a relatively short time.
WITH frost about, remove plastic watering system timers from taps. Even when turned off, these will hold water which expands with frost and your water timer will be no more! The same advice goes if you’re in the habit of leaving lawn sprinklers on the end of the garden hose in the garden. Put these away each night along with other associated watering equipment. For plants in pots that may be susceptible to frost, place under evergreen trees and shrubs, or under the eaves against the home.
WINTER pruning is looming, so when did you last sharpen and clean your secateurs? Mine are the Swiss-made Felco brand, now more than 30 years old and yet I can still sharpen the blades to shave the hairs off my arm. These are not cheap, so be prepared to part with $120 plus. I clean mine with steel wool or sandpaper then use a good-quality sharpening stone such as Ezy-Lap Hone and Stone.