Autumn in the garden

Autumn is the beginning of a wonderfully busy and enjoyable time in the garden as plants and gardeners emerge from the stresses of summer and embark on a brand new season.

Autumn is the beginning of a wonderfully busy and enjoyable time in the garden as plants and gardeners emerge from the stresses of summer and embark on a brand new season.

PRETTY PANSIES: The bright little petaled faces of pansies are one of the delights of the cooler months.

Perfect pears

Crisp slices of pear on a cheese platter, delicious pear tarts and cakes and refreshing savoury salads are just some of the ways pears can be enjoyed. Pears are high in dietary fibre and a good source of potassium and the peak pear harvest season runs from late summer into autumn.

You don’t need to have a large garden to be able to grow a pear tree. Dwarf varieties such as ‘Garden Belle’ only grow to around 2.5m tall so are perfect for both small gardens and growing in pots. Pears are also great for espaliering, where the trees are trained to grow flat against a wall or trellis, so take up very little room.

Pears do best in cool to temperate zones, with different varieties requiring different levels of ‘chilling hours’ to maximise the fruit yield. Check the pollinator requirements for your chosen variety, as some need to be planted near a suitable mate to be able to set fruit. Otherwise try a double grafted pear tree where two compatible varieties are part of the same tree and will ‘self’ pollinate. Pears are most commonly planted during winter as bare rooted trees however can also be available as potted trees which are great for planting during autumn.

Grow your own grapes

Put your wine glasses away for the moment and think about growing some table grapes at your place. Grapes are little bundles of juicy sweetness. Kids love them (especially the seedless varieties) and frozen grapes during hot weather are divine. Varieties like yellowish green ‘Thompson Seedless’ and pale red ‘Crimson Seedless’ are very popular as is seeded ‘Red Globe’. Grapes are usually picked from mid to late summer through to late autumn, so can provide a delicious autumn harvest from your garden.

The best climate for growing grapes has a warm dry summer, which helps reduce disease levels as the grapes mature. And yes, you can grow grapes in an average sized backyard. Grapes are long lived vines that require some sort of strong support to grow up and along. They can be trained up an existing fence, grown over a pergola or a new trellis can be constructed. One grape vine will need around 2-3m of horizontal space and keep the height of the support such that you can easily maintain the vine and pick the grapes, usually 1.5–2 m tall.

Most grapes are self pollinating, so you only need to have one vine, though having a few different varieties will help to extend the harvest season.

Grapes are usually available for planting during winter while they are dormant. Before planting, mix some Thrive Natural Blood & Bone into the planting hole, which improves soil quality and provides the vine with gentle slow release organic nutrients as it establishes. Ensure the vine is well watered during spring and summer and feed every eight weeks with Thrive Natural Blood & Bone to encourage healthy leaf and stem growth. Early training and regular pruning will help maximise the harvest.

Grape disease watch: grapes can be susceptible to diseases like downy mildew which is more common during periods of wet, warm or humid weather. Symptoms include yellowing and mottled foliage. Nature’s Way Fungus Spray is a broadspectrum fungicide that protects grapes from downy mildew. Start spraying at the first sign of disease.

Pretty pansies

The bright little petaled faces of pansies are one of the delights of the cooler months. Whether you have a bare spot in a sunny or partly shaded garden bed or want to brighten a courtyard or balcony with some flower packed pots, pansies provide a splash of happy colour.

‘Pansy Joker Mix’ is an early flowering mix of blotched and straight colour blooms in shades of yellow, mauve, orange and burgundy that will flower delightfully over a long period.

Pansy ‘Giant Supreme’ is a beautiful blend of varying flower shapes and sizes in bright yellow, white, red and purple.

Sow pansy seed in trays of seed raising mix and transplant out into sunny or partly shaded garden beds or containers when the seedlings are around 5cm tall.

And to create an additional wow factor, combine pansies with late winter and spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, jonquils tulips, hyacinths, freesias, hyacinths and anemones, which become available from March. The pansies will provide a beautiful carpet of flowers and then the bulbs will pop through the pansies and begin their gorgeous floral display.

Autumn citrus care

March is a busy time for citrus. It’s getting closer to harvest time for many varieties and milder autumn weather can lead to a flurry of new foliage.

Here’s your March checklist for keeping citrus in tip top condition:

• A top up application of Thrive Natural Blood & Bone around the root zone of citrus trees will improve the organic matter content of the soil and encourage earthworms. Earthworms help aerate and loosen the soil which makes root growth easier. Also apply a fresh layer of mulch around the roots, which helps reduce moisture loss.

• Tender new autumn foliage can be susceptible to attack from aphids and scale insects will also be enjoying the delicious sugary sap inside leaves and stems. Both of these insect pests can be controlled with Conqueror Spraying Oil. Start spraying as soon as aphids appear, including the undersides of the leaves. For scale control, spray both the leaves and over stems, ensuring good contact on the scale themselves as the spray works via contact action.

• Continue to feed citrus each week with a complete and balanced fertiliser that’s been specially designed to support citrus leaf growth and fruiting. Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food is an easy to use liquid fertiliser that’s ideal for feeding citrus. Dilute 2 capfuls into a 9-litre watering can and apply over the root zone each week.

March is also an ideal time to plant a new citrus tree. It will have time to develop new roots while the soil is still warm before the cool weather arrives and be well on its way to being established before the heat of next summer.

How about growing your own juicy oranges? Dwarf varieties of oranges provide full sized fruit on smaller trees and can be grown in a sunny spot in a garden or in a container in a courtyard or balcony.

Perfect pears

Crisp slices of pear on a cheese platter, delicious pear tarts and cakes and refreshing savoury salads are just some of the ways pears can be enjoyed. Pears are high in dietary fibre and a good source of potassium and the peak pear harvest season runs from late summer into autumn.

You don’t need to have a large garden to be able to grow a pear tree. Dwarf varieties such as ‘Garden Belle’ only grow to around 2.5m tall so are perfect for both small gardens and growing in pots. Pears are also great for espaliering, where the trees are trained to grow flat against a wall or trellis, so take up very little room.

Pears do best in cool to temperate zones, with different varieties requiring different levels of ‘chilling hours’ to maximise the fruit yield. Check the pollinator requirements for your chosen variety, as some need to be planted near a suitable mate to be able to set fruit. Otherwise try a double grafted pear tree where two compatible varieties are part of the same tree and will ‘self’ pollinate. Pears are most commonly planted during winter as bare rooted trees however can also be available as potted trees which are great for planting during autumn.

Grow your own grapes

Put your wine glasses away for the moment and think about growing some table grapes at your place. Grapes are little bundles of juicy sweetness. Kids love them (especially the seedless varieties) and frozen grapes during hot weather are divine. Varieties like yellowish green ‘Thompson Seedless’ and pale red ‘Crimson Seedless’ are very popular as is seeded ‘Red Globe’. Grapes are usually picked from mid to late summer through to late autumn, so can provide a delicious autumn harvest from your garden.

The best climate for growing grapes has a warm dry summer, which helps reduce disease levels as the grapes mature. And yes, you can grow grapes in an average sized backyard. Grapes are long lived vines that require some sort of strong support to grow up and along. They can be trained up an existing fence, grown over a pergola or a new trellis can be constructed. One grape vine will need around 2-3m of horizontal space and keep the height of the support such that you can easily maintain the vine and pick the grapes, usually 1.5–2 m tall.

Most grapes are self pollinating, so you only need to have one vine, though having a few different varieties will help to extend the harvest season.

Grapes are usually available for planting during winter while they are dormant. Before planting, mix some Thrive Natural Blood & Bone into the planting hole, which improves soil quality and provides the vine with gentle slow release organic nutrients as it establishes. Ensure the vine is well watered during spring and summer and feed every eight weeks with Thrive Natural Blood & Bone to encourage healthy leaf and stem growth. Early training and regular pruning will help maximise the harvest.

Grape disease watch: grapes can be susceptible to diseases like downy mildew which is more common during periods of wet, warm or humid weather. Symptoms include yellowing and mottled foliage. Nature’s Way Fungus Spray is a broadspectrum fungicide that protects grapes from downy mildew. Start spraying at the first sign of disease.

Pretty pansies

The bright little petaled faces of pansies are one of the delights of the cooler months. Whether you have a bare spot in a sunny or partly shaded garden bed or want to brighten a courtyard or balcony with some flower packed pots, pansies provide a splash of happy colour.

‘Pansy Joker Mix’ is an early flowering mix of blotched and straight colour blooms in shades of yellow, mauve, orange and burgundy that will flower delightfully over a long period.

Pansy ‘Giant Supreme’ is a beautiful blend of varying flower shapes and sizes in bright yellow, white, red and purple.

Sow pansy seed in trays of seed raising mix and transplant out into sunny or partly shaded garden beds or containers when the seedlings are around 5cm tall.

And to create an additional wow factor, combine pansies with late winter and spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, jonquils tulips, hyacinths, freesias, hyacinths and anemones, which become available from March. The pansies will provide a beautiful carpet of flowers and then the bulbs will pop through the pansies and begin their gorgeous floral display.

Autumn citrus care

March is a busy time for citrus. It’s getting closer to harvest time for many varieties and milder autumn weather can lead to a flurry of new foliage.

Here’s your March checklist for keeping citrus in tip top condition:

• A top up application of Thrive Natural Blood & Bone around the root zone of citrus trees will improve the organic matter content of the soil and encourage earthworms. Earthworms help aerate and loosen the soil which makes root growth easier. Also apply a fresh layer of mulch around the roots, which helps reduce moisture loss.

• Tender new autumn foliage can be susceptible to attack from aphids and scale insects will also be enjoying the delicious sugary sap inside leaves and stems. Both of these insect pests can be controlled with Conqueror Spraying Oil. Start spraying as soon as aphids appear, including the undersides of the leaves. For scale control, spray both the leaves and over stems, ensuring good contact on the scale themselves as the spray works via contact action.

• Continue to feed citrus each week with a complete and balanced fertiliser that’s been specially designed to support citrus leaf growth and fruiting. Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food is an easy to use liquid fertiliser that’s ideal for feeding citrus. Dilute 2 capfuls into a 9-litre watering can and apply over the root zone each week.

March is also an ideal time to plant a new citrus tree. It will have time to develop new roots while the soil is still warm before the cool weather arrives and be well on its way to being established before the heat of next summer.

How about growing your own juicy oranges? Dwarf varieties of oranges provide full sized fruit on smaller trees and can be grown in a sunny spot in a garden or in a container in a courtyard or balcony.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Are you happy with the council decision this week to allocate $400,000 to refurbishing the Peel Street toilets and adding a dedicated night-time facility alongside the historic building?
    See also: