“Wander through the garden centre now and see what’s in flower, to give the garden a lift,” says gardening columnist CEDRIC BRYANT.
YELLOW is almost certainly my favourite colour when it comes to spring flowers – daffodils, naturally, and our cheerful native wattles.
I love Forsythia for its abundance of blooms, perfect for floral arrangements, and Abelia “Kaleidoscope” for its year-round, sunny yellow foliage.
Wander through the garden centre now and see what’s in flower, to give the garden a lift on those drab, cloudy days.
YOU’D be amazed how often I’m stopped in the street and asked, “Excuse me, are you Cedric? Do you mind if I ask you a question?” I’m only too happy to oblige.
One thing I’m hearing a lot lately is: “I’ve pruned many of my shrubs and am concerned at the amount of sap that is bleeding from the cuts”. This needs to be taken seriously. Don’t worry about the loss of some sap. Certain trees lose sap at a more rapid rate than others, such as silver birch. Pruning in early winter is possibly the best time, when the leaves have just fallen. Early autumn, from the first week in September to the last week in October, is the worst time, when sap is rising rapidly for leaf production.
If you do have trees or shrubs bleeding excessively, allow nature to take its course. Do not cover the wound. There are various proprietary products on the market, usually bituminous based. Covering the wound can seal in possible fungal problems and/or possible diseases. The best solution is pruning at the right time, which will minimise the problem.
THE lockdowns we’ve been having can cause enormous stress. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the UK undertook a major four-year study on the effect of stress on people’s lives, and found that just a few plants in the front garden can be uplifting and motivational, particularly for the elderly.
As part of her PhD, Postdoctoral Wellbeing Fellow at the RHS and the University of Sheffield, Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui also found there were benefits to getting children involved in the garden when schools were closed.
I had the thought that any garden is just a series of small gardens. Until covid hit, we were frequent visitors to Holland, where many homes only have a miniscule front garden and no back garden. It is amazing what they can do with those front gardens. These combine with serious displays in front windows of indoor plants, all competing with their neighbours. Folk go for walks in the evening to view both those tiny small front gardens and window displays.
ONE fruiting plant with many culinary uses and which grows very well in Canberra is Actinidia deliciosa, or kiwifruit. Despite the name, it did not originate in New Zealand; having been grown in China for centuries. It was first introduced into New Zealand in 1904, when the principal of Wanganui Girls’ College, Isobel Fraser took seeds back to NZ from a school trip to China. It was known as Chinese gooseberry until 1959. Then as late as 1984 it was changed to kiwifruit, after the native flightless bird of New Zealand. It soon became popular worldwide with its properties of vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium and folate. Today it is worth over a billion dollars in exports to the New Zealand economy.
SOME suggestions for veggies that can be planted now – try Jerusalem artichoke tubers and globe artichoke. These are rich in potassium, iron and vitamin B1.
Onions and chives will really take off too, with the beautiful, moist soil we have at present. It’s also a good time to get the asparagus crowns in. At planting time, give them all an extra little boost with Multicrop seaweed plant nutrient, which encourages strong root development.
FINAL comment: “remember; gardening is a journey that never finishes”.
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