Refreshingly cool mornings usher in the start of autumn. While days can still be warm, it’s the beginning of a new cycle of renewal and growth in the garden. Autumn is a season that is now on par with spring when it comes to gardening. There’s plenty to do, planting, planning and preparing.
What to Plant
1. Vegetables and Herbs – Artichokes , beans broad beans, broccoli, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, dill, endive, fennel, French tarragon, garlic Italian parsley, kale, leeks, lemon grass, lettuce, marjoram, mint, mizuma, onions, oregano, pak choi, parsnip, parsley, peas, potato tubers, radish, silver beet, spinach, rhubarb, rocket, rosemary, sage, snow peas, spring onions, thyme and turnip.
2. Autumn Camellias – Sasanqua Camellias are often called “Autumn Camellias” because of their happy knack of flowering over autumn, with some varieties beginning to flower as early as March. Sasanquas are the hardiest of the Camellias with an almost “bullet proof” constitution. They are perfect for screening and hedging but also make wonderful container plants when planted in large tubs.
3. Azaleas – Azaleas are amongst the most popular, evergreen shrubs we grow. Much loved for their abundance of flowers. Azaleas are recommended for mass planting beneath deciduous trees, bedding plants for filtered light situations, and perfect planting partners for Camellias in Camellia and Azalea gardens, and Japanese gardens. They make a natural choice for tubs and planters, and smaller varieties can even be grown in hanging baskets. The majority of Azaleas will grow best in sheltered, filtered light situations.
4. Dwarf Fruit Trees – Autumn is the ideal time to plant our container grown dwarf fruit trees. We have a great range with dwarf almonds, apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches and plums all available.
5. Frangipanis – These slow growing tropical trees can be kept for many years in large tubs. Alternatively plant in a sunny, protected garden positions where they will slowly grow into small sized trees of 3-4m.
6. Chinese Tallow Trees – One of the most popular, autumn foliage trees grown in Perth. A medium sized specimen tree suitable for gardens small and large. Plant now and enjoy its autumn colour parade as leaves turn shades of yellow, red, orange and tan.
7. Hibiscus – Hibiscus are tireless performers in the autumn garden, putting on a prolonged display of flush after flush of vibrant tropical blooms. They lend themselves beautifully to poolside planting, or use them for screens and hedges.
8. Succulents – Succulents are the ultimate water wise plant. Their ability to store water in their fleshy leaves and stems gives them great heat and drought tolerance. Equally good in both pots or in garden beds.
9. Roses – Take advantage of autumn, nature’s natural planting time, to plant new roses! Remember freshly planted roses will need to be hand watered every day during their first autumn in the garden. Established roses will need a good deep soak twice a week.
Jobs to do around the garden
1. If you haven’t yet given your roses an autumn trim mid-March to early April is a good time. Give roses a light prune and cut stems back about 6-8 inches to encourage the autumn burst. Continue feeding roses with Dawson’s All Purpose Fertilizer every 4-5 weeks until late May.
2. Mealy bug populations can build up quickly over late summer and autumn. To control spray with Confidor.
3. Prune back rampant growth on grapes and ornamental climbers.
4. Select Spring flowering bulbs. Bulbs such as Tulips and Hyacinths will benefit from some chilling prior to planting. Store in brown paper bags in your crisper (not freezer) for 4-8 weeks prior to planting. Aim to have bulbs planted by the end May-early June.
5. Prune Olives to open up the centre of trees. This allows more even light penetration though the canopy, leading to increased cropping. Remove branches and shoots growing into the centre of the tree, aiming to keep the centre relatively open.
6. Feed Hibiscus monthly until late autumn with a good, balanced fertiliser like Dawson’s All Purpose Fertiliser or Eco Prime.
7. Select seed garlic bulbs for planting late March and April. Growing your own full flavoured garlic is easy, and means you’ll have a fantastic home-grown alternative to the tasteless imported, supermarket garlic. Customers be quick to secure your seed garlic, stock are limited. For detailed garlic growing information see our Garlic Fact Sheet.
8. It’s time to prepare vegetable beds for autumn plantings. Prepare beds by cultivating to a depth of 25-30cm. Blend in organic materials such as Dawson’s Soil Improver. Treat soil with a wetting agent like Eco Wet or consider blending in Soil Solver, a mineral clay soil builder. The clay changes the physical properties of the soil allowing it to hold more water and nutrients. Rake over and level off soil.
9. Remove spent flowers from geraniums to encourage repeat flowering and liquid feed fortnightly with Seasol or Flourish.
10. Look out for citrus leaf miner. Spray fortnightly with Eco Oil or Eco Neem to protect young developing foliage from attack by disfiguring Citrus leaf miner (A moth which injects its eggs into young citrus foliage). It’s usually just the young soft foliage which is vulnerable to attack, so spraying can stop once it has hardened off.