Trees perform their autumnal colour best when there has been a dry summer and autumn has had bright sunny days and cool nights, says gardening writer JACKIE WARBURTON.
OUR climate is perfect for deciduous exotic trees in the garden to give summer shade and winter sun. They also give us free organic matter to enrich the soil.
Now’s a good time to go to the nursery to choose the right autumn colour for the garden. For example, some maples don’t colour up as well as others. So, if there’s to be a focal-point plant, then it’s very important to the overall design of the garden that the colour sits well with other plants and doesn’t clash with other foliage colours.
NOW’S the last time to get the winter seedlings and veggies into the ground such as Asian greens, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, onions and peas.
There still will be cabbage moths around, so squish any you see to keep their numbers down. The fungal diseases are still around because the wet weather has continued. Any diseased material should go into the green bin and not composted to prevent reinfecting the garden next season.
RASPBERRIES (Rubus idaeus) can be pruned back from now through any time in winter as most of the foliage and fruit have finished and they are going into dormancy.
Pruning berries can be confusing, but knowing the variety growing in the garden will help as well with the correct pruning method needed for fruiting.
There are two main types of raspberries, summer fruiting and autumn fruiting. Summer-fruiting raspberries such as Willamette and Chilcotin produce one big glut of fruit in summer. One cane takes two years to flower and fruit. The cane that has fruited gets cut out at ground level and the primocanes, the ones that have not fruited, get tied up to a wire frame. By the following year, they are called floricanes (flowering canes). If the canes are too long for the frame they can be cut or trained horizontally along a wire to produce more fruit.
Autumn-fruiting raspberries such as Heritage and Autumn Bliss will fruit twice, once in autumn and a small amount in summer, then die. All of the canes get pruned to the ground after the fruit has been harvested.
There’s a new native raspberry that might be worth a try called “Pete’s Thornless” (Rubus rosifolius). Although only found in northern NSW around 2016, it is said to be frost hardy, can grow in a pot and is thornless. It’s due to be released to the public this month.
Feed raspberries with lots of organic compost, keep the pH acidic and the soil weed free, and the canes will reshoot in spring.
CHRYSANTHEMUMS, a popular Mother’s Day gift, are great for a cut flower and can last in a vase for at least three weeks.
They come in four main types of flowers. The largest are called spider blooms and can be a huge, beautiful flower at least 10-15 centimetres wide. The smallest is a pom-pom type that’s as little as five centimetres wide. Chrysanthemums can be kept in pots as well as fill a good space in the autumn garden with their bold splashes of colour.
They’re herbaceous perennials and can be pruned to the ground when flowering is finished. They like an acid soil, so plant them around camellias and azaleas and they will grow well.
When buying chrysanthemums from the nursery they will be dwarf, small and compact, because they’re sprayed with a growth regulator, but when they are planted into the garden, they will need tip pruning up until Christmas and then they won’t need to be staked.
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