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Canberra Today 7°/10° | Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Some like it hot (but with water)

Feijoa sellowiana… can be used as an evergreen hedge or medium-sized shrub. Photo: Jackie Warburton

The heat of summer is just around the corner, so keep the water up to the garden and remember, it’s harder to rewet soil and easier to keep moist, writes gardening columnist  JACKIE WARBURTON.

Jackie Warburton.

SUMMER’S an interesting time in the garden where watering is the main chore. Hopefully, the current moisture in the ground stays around and dragging hoses about the garden is not needed for a little while yet. 

Now’s the time to remove summer annuals that have passed their use-by dates and prepare the area for new ones such as petunias, sunflowers, cosmos and begonias, to name a few. The choice of colours is endless and a simple display of bright flowers can be grown for the garden or the Christmas table. 

MY Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is flowering now and has been a great little indoor plant for a bright window. A teaspoon of water once a week makes it a good beginner’s plant for kids. 

A MULTI-purpose plant for the garden is catmint (Nepeta mussinii). It’s a compact and hardy border plant that laps up the hot sun. Cats adore catmint and rub themselves all over it. 

Another cat-loving plant that grows in Canberra is catnip (Nepeta cataria). Cat grass (dactylis glomerata)is also particularly beneficial for indoor cats and planting it in the cat run is useful. 

OUR gardens have had prolific growth and now the garden is getting ready for summer heat. 

As tomatoes and beans are growing fast, staking and tying up is a must to keep them off the ground. There is very little that should not be planted in the vegetable garden by the end of November, so get all you can get into the ground, keep up with fertilisers and fish emulsion – and mulch. 

STRAWBERRIES should be planted in acid soil, kept moist at all times and mulched with pine needles. They need plenty of sun and water to fruit well, the more sun, the more fruit and one plant can live for around four or five years, but their yield reduces after the second year.

Strawberries like blood and bone, which is a good all-round organic fertiliser. Keep the leaves off the ground to prevent any fungal issues and mulch well. 

Blueberry bushes are easily grown in pots and can get quite large. A bush two metres tall can produce up to three kilograms of fruit. The only pests are birds and the bushes should be netted when fruit is ripening in summer and kept moist. 

FEIJOA sellowiana is a terrific plant to grow and is flowering now. In Canberra it can be used as an evergreen hedge or medium-sized shrub. It yields delicious fruit that ripens in autumn. One bush will bear fruit, but having a second bush means they will bear fruit better. 

Keep the water up to them when flowering and fruit is forming. Plant feijoas in full sun. Its flowers are delicate and very pretty. 

AS spring growth of hedges now begins to slow, pruning should still be done in the next few weeks before the hot weather arrives. Clean out all old leaves under the hedges to promote good airflow. 

Some hedges such as photinias and viburnums are susceptible to insect issues, more so with the rain we’ve received. Put diseased leaves in the green bin for disposal and not in the compost bin. 

AS each season ends, I try to ensure I’m up to date with seasonal jobs in the garden, such as making sure all dahlias are in the ground, all veggie seedlings are in and mulch is spread ready for the heat.

Venus fly trap…  a great little indoor plant for a bright window.  Photo: Jackie Warburton

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Jackie Warburton

Jackie Warburton

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