Have you got Osteospermum? - Aug 15, 2013

Dear gardening friends

I am feeling very guilty this morning after consuming a family sized packet of chips on my own last night. I am supposed to be on a diet so this has been a real set back. I ate half the packet, and then ate the next half then there were so few left I ate the rest! I will need to get out in the garden this weekend to work it off!

I gave a talk to The Ingleburn Garden club last night. This club is celebrating its 85 birthday this spring. Milton baled me up to say he put Tim's Cow manure on his garden recently and it made his garden stink for 2 weeks! This made me very happy because it means our cow manure is real poo. I have spoken before about how the chain stores are selling a recycled greenwaste/cowmanure mix that has 150% less nitrogen than real cow manure. It is being sold as "composted cow manure". This is very tricky marketing.

You have probably noticed the spring blossom trees are starting to put on a show. Manchurian pear tree buds are just starting to burst. You will see these white flowering trees everywhere around Macarthur. You will also notice a double pink flowering small tree in suburban gardens. This is the Flowering Plum tree. It is available in single or double pink but the double pink variety flowers first and it is more spectacular. This is known botanically as Prunus blireana. These small growing trees are the perfect size for today's courtyard sized gardens. When the flowers finish in about 4 to 6 weeks they will be replaced with fresh new purple bronze coloured leaves that look sensational. This tree will survive neglect. We have trees about 2 metres high for $49.99.

Just a warning, if you are buying new season deciduous trees now you have to be very careful. These trees are usually planted when they are asleep in winter. Now they are waking up, if you disturb the roots too much it could die if we get hot weather. An old German gardener from Dural taught me how to plant these trees out of season. You get a handsaw and cut around the base of the pot. Remove the base carefully. Now cut up the side of the pot leaving it attached just at the top. While holding the pot together, slide the plant along the ground and into the hole. Place the soil in the hole and backfill around the pot. Now slide the plastic pot up the trunk of the tree. Cut the last bit of plastic and remove the pot. Your tree has been planted without any roots being disturbed. I have used this technique for planting new season rose bushes too with great success.

Simon has found some exciting new plants. We have a new African daisy called 3D. It comes in double purple/pink or cream coloured flowers. What's so special about these new African daisies is the flowers don't close up at night! This means you can pick them and use them as cut flowers too. These plants have been grown by one of our favourite growers from Dural. Every plant is perfect! Come and check them out. You will find them on a bench on the way to the seedlings. African daisies are now called Osteospermum but that sounds like a disease so I am sticking to the old name.

Our Scare crow making workshop was a great success. Lily Garlick has left hers here at the nursery for you to see. Lily was only about 4 years old and she had the nicest manners. Thank you to Macarthur Sustainable Living for running the workshop.

My son Bailey ate the last mandarin off our tree during the week. He must have eaten hundreds of mandarins off this tree during winter. One night I heard our backdoor getting opened around midnight. When I went to investigate I found Bailey in the garden picking a mandarin off the tree. He just felt like a mandarin? We have a variety called Emperor. This has sweet mandarins with a puffy skin so they are easy to peel. This variety fruits in winter when there is no fruit fly. Citrus trees need much more water than you would think. They need a bucket full of water twice a week. I spray mine with eco oil about every 6 weeks. This non poisonous spray kills scale insects and aphids and it also prevents citrus leaf miner attack. If you have children plant a Mandarin tree. They are the best value fruit tree and they don't take up much room because the plant has an upright habit. We have dwarf growing varieties too.

We have had heaps of inquires about tomatoes, chilies, basil etc. We had a huge frost here on Wednesday morning so if we had sold you these they would probably be dead. When the nights get warmer we will start to get spring vegetables. Lisa is back from holidays next week. She is our seedling expert.

Don't forget to spray your lawn for bindii. Don't spray when it is windy or the spray drift will damage the new growth on your rose bushes and Grevillea's.

I drove down the south coast last week and noticed Coral Trees flowering on the hills. These trees have the most spectacular red flowers. They are too big for suburban gardens. If you have acreage they can be planted from a piece like frangipani. If you are heading down to Berry check them out. Ask for permission before getting out the saw!

Happy gardening