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Canberra Today 6°/7° | Friday, July 1, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Camellias, the great go-to plants

A lemon-drop camellia… they tick all the boxes. Photo: Jackie Warburton

Camellias are great go-to plants for Canberra gardens and tick all the boxes: evergreen, fragrant flowers in full bloom now and into spring, hedge of all sizes and tough once established, says gardening writer JACKIE WARBURTON.

Jackie Warburton.

CAMELLIA flowers range is from white to deep red/black. A rule of thumb is the shadier the garden, the lighter the flower. 

Planting white-flowering camellias in full sun and full frost is a disaster and causes unsightly petal blight in the flowers. Unfortunately, once camellias get this fungal disease it’s hard to get rid of. 

THERE’S very little to be planted in the veggie bed for June, but anyone growing a green manure crop should be getting good growth by now.

Keep root vegetables and garlic weed free and spraying liquid seaweed over the leaves would be beneficial. Watering should be done in the morning to allow leaves to dry before the cold weather comes in at night. 

This year, my crops of spinach and snow peas are growing fast and above the height for most snail damage. I have topped up the mulch with sugar cane and bedded them in for the cold weather. The brassicas I put in the ground in March are powering on and in the garden I have cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli under netting to keep cabbage moths and white butterflies at bay. 

APPLE trees suffering summer’s woolly aphids should be treated now by spraying with neem or a horticultural oil to keep the infestation down for next season. 

Cottony cushion scales on apple trees look like white bumps and when squished between your fingers are red. 

These insects suck the sap out of leaves, stems, branches and even roots of trees. Although their eggs hatch in spring they can produce many generations in one season.

POME fruit trees, such as apples, pears and quinces, can be pruned once the leaves have fallen from the tree. 

There’s no rush as the trees are dormant for a few months. Pruning before the end of August will have things ready for spring. Generally, apple trees are long-living trees and don’t like to be transplanted, so choose their garden spot wisely. 

Researching which apple to grow can be challenging… then trying to fit all the apple trees from the wish list to the garden is the next challenge! Add boron to the soil at fruit formation, keep the pH high and around 6-7 with dolomite lime. 

Heritage apples flower and fruit on spurs and a variety of other apples flower and fruit on the tips of the branches, which means there are different pruning techniques required. There are some terrific websites to give instructions on how to prune correctly. 

Oxalis purpurea… can be used as a decorated plant around stepping stones in a path. Photo: Jackie Warburton

NOT all oxalis plants are weeds and there are some little rockery plants that flower this time of year and are relatively easy to care for. 

Oxalis purpurea’s flowers open up fully when the sun is shining and close in the cool of the day. These slow-spreading plants are quite small and can be used as a decorated plant around stepping stones in a path. 

jackwar@home.netspeed.com.au 

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Jackie Warburton

Jackie Warburton

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