Happy New Year

Another year in your garden has begun. It’s a time to enjoy the riotous colours and relaxing days of Summer. It’s time to maintain, plant and plan for the year ahead.

What to Plant Now

Alstroemeria, alyssum, begonias, bidens, boston ivy, bougainvilleas, calibrachoa, crepe myrtles, geraniums, gardenias, gazanias, grevillea, hibiscus, lavender, magnolia, mandevilla, natives, nandina, oleander, ornamental plums, pandorea, petunia, polygala, plumbago, pomegranate, portulaca, roses, scaevola, salvia, star jasmine, syzygium (lilly pillies), succulents, violets, vinca weeping mulberries and westringia.

Plant now in your edible garden: Apples, basil, beetroot, blueberries, capsicum, celery, chicory, chilli, Chinese cabbage, chives, citrus trees, climbing beans, cucumber, dill, endive, egg plant, fennel, figs, globe artichokes, grapes, leeks, lettuce, mangoes, majoram, mint, nectarines, olives, oregano, parsley, passionfruit, peaches, pumpkin, quince, radish, rhubard, rocket, rockmelon, rosemary, sage, silverbeet, spring onions, squash, stevia, sweet corn, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes, watermelon and zucchini.

What’s In Flower This Month: agapanthus, bauhinia, begonia, bougainvillea, canna, cuphea, duranta, frangipani, gardenia, geranium, grevillea, hibiscus, magnolia, mandevilla, marigold, native frangipani, oleander, pandorea, petunia, plumbago, roses, salvia, stephanotis, sunflowers and vincas.

Garden Jobs for January

1. Gradually wean your Christmas tree back into full sun conditions. First move your tree outside into a semi shade area and then gradually after a few weeks, back into full sun.

2. Container plants growing in sunny, exposed positions will also benefit from an application of water-saving mulch. Use quality coarse grade mulch, like pine bark mulch, but remember don’t mulch right up the stem.

3. Practise good garden hygiene. Pick up fallen fruit every few days. To kill off any fruit fly larvae inside, seal fallen fruit in a plastic bag and leave in the sun for a few days before throwing out. Fruit can also be frozen for 48 hours prior to disposal.

4. Continue to “dead head” roses by removing spent flowers to encourage repeat flowering.

5. Revive heat affected plants by applying a liquid soil wetting product like Eco Wet to the root zone and then following up with a weekly feed of Seasol.

6. Feed Hibiscus monthly until late autumn, with a good, balanced fertiliser like Dawson’s All Purpose Fertiliser.

7. Outdoor pots can be shielded in heat wave conditions by temporarily wrapping the outside of pots with cardboard. You can even make a cut out to line the top of the pot. This in effect adds another layer of heat insulation.

8. It’s a good time to take semi-hardwood cuttings from many woody shrubs. Treat base of cuttings with a hormone “rooting” powder or gel and insert into moist potting mix. Keep cuttings moist, humid and in semi shade.

9. Set your lawnmower blades a bit higher. This allows grass to grow taller and the self -shading effect will reduce heat stress and water loss via evaporation.

10. Build a basic shade structure to protect your vegetables from the summer sun. Simple arches can be made from lengths black irrigation piping, over which you can cover with 20-50% shade cloth.

January Planting Guide

1. Cordyline Pinot Noir- An upright growing Cordyline with dramatic, dark burgundy, long arching leaves the colour of a good Pinot Noir! Grows in full sun to semi shade conditions either in the ground or make a splash by planting it in a large decorative pot. This stunning, no fuss plant is a low water user once established. Height to 2.5m and to 60cm wide.

2. Butterkins- This small, Hawaiian shrub, resembles a miniature Hibiscus. It covers itself with masses of small, buttery gold flowers for much of the year. It has been one of our best sellers over recent years and makes an ideal, low hedge, edging plant or colourful filler. Regular light pruning will keep it bushy and flowering “its head off.”

3. Fragrant Frangipanis- Bring tropical magic to sunny courtyard pots and sunny garden spots. These slow growing tropical trees can be kept for many years in large tubs. Alternatively plant in a sunny, protected garden position where they will slowly grow into a small-medium sized trees of 3-4m. Select from Cream, Pink, Red or Tricolour.

4. Cora Cascade Vincas- Give your pots and baskets an instant colour hit with the sizzling summer colours of Cora Cascade trailing Vincas. Cora Cascade Vincas have a unique mounded and trailing habit making them real show offs in your summer pots and baskets. Water regularly and liquid feed fortnightly with Flourish or Seasol for best bloom production.

5. Gardenias- These deliciously fragrant shrubs make perfect container plants. Gardenias are hard to resist with their glossy, green foliage and beautifully sculptured flowers. Select from creamy flowering forms including Aimee Yoshiba, Florida, Professor Pucci and Ocean Pearl, or unique old gold, Golden Magic.

6. Tree Time- Beat the heat this summer with Dawson’s advanced trees. The value of trees in our warm summer climate cannot be under-estimated. Trees provide welcome shade from the summer sun, cooling the environment and casting gentle patterns of light and dark beneath them. Advanced trees bring instant structure to your garden and are a great investment. Choose from our range of Advanced trees including; Chinese Tallows, Evergreen Magnolias including Little Gem and Kay Parris, Ornamental Plum Trees including Burgundy Plum, Double Pink Flowering Plum, and narrow growing, Oakville Crimson Spire. There’s also Ornamental Pears including Chanticleer and Capital, Weeping Mulberries and more!

7. Succulents- Succulents store water in their leaves and stems, making them the ultimate waterwise plants. Succulents thrive on minimum water and are extremely heat tolerant. They come in a fascinating variety of sizes, shapes and textures. Choose from our ever expanding range of succulents to start or add to your own collection. They can be grown in open garden beds or containers. Create dazzling effects by mixing and contrasting different forms. The combinations are endless.

8. Curry Leaf Tree- This aromatic large shrub to small tree is native to India and Sri Lanka. The curry flavoured leaves are a prized ingredient in traditional southern Indian and Sri Lankan cooking. The leaves are usually used fresh or dried. Curry Leaf Tree can be grown successfully in a container or improved soil in full sun or semi shade conditions.

9. Hibiscus- Add a touch of tropical colour to your garden with long flowering Hibiscus. These versatile plants make ideal hedges, screens or windbreaks and are just the thing for hiding the fence line. They look great around pools and perform well in coastal gardens. Try favourite varieties like; Cuban Variety, Nicole Louise, Mrs Geroge Davis, Pendunculatum and Sabrina.

10. Fabulous Ficus- Ficus or Indoor Figs are amongst the hardiest of indoor and patio plants. Ficus have glossy foliage, gracefully weeping to semi-weeping habits and are tolerant to fairly low light indoor situations. They are best grown as container plants on verandas, patios and in semi shade garden areas. For best results feed with a controlled release fertiliser for container plants. Water regularly over the warmer months but reduce watering through winter. Choose from our hardy, easy grow, Ficus collection including; Ficus benjamina exotica, Francis Goldstar, Golden Princess, Midnight Beauty and Baby Ben. Note: These Ficus species are not recommended for planting in the ground because of their potentially invasive root systems.

Feature Roses

In this edition we look at the famous Iceberg family of roses, all of which are outstanding garden roses. As a group they are amongst the most reliable and rewarding roses you can grow. They are very versatile, whether planted alone or in groups for dramatic effect. They make wonderful flowering hedges and perform to perfection in pots.

Australia plays an important part in the Iceberg Story. Two sports (or variations) of the original white Iceberg were selected by Australian rose lover, Lilia Weatherly from her Tasmanian garden; these were Blushing Pink Iceberg in 1995 and Brilliant Pink Iceberg in 1999. Burgundy Iceberg was discovered by Swanes Roses of Dural, New South Wales and released in 2003.

1. Iceberg- Is perhaps the most loved rose in the world. This famous rose was bred in Germany and released by Kordes and Sons in 1958. Since then Iceberg has become one of the most widely grown roses in the world. In 1983 the Federation of World Rose Societies voted it as “the world’s favourite rose.” Iceberg continues on its campaign of world domination and deservedly so. It is a remarkably easy and rewarding rose to grow. It’s a healthy, bushy grower with glossy green foliage and carries great clusters of pure white semi-double flowers. It suffers from relatively little disease and generally shrugs off infections with great gusto. It has a particularly quick re-bloom cycle, so produces countless showy, flower flushes over the growing season. It is reliable to a tee and is probably the greatest floribunda rose ever produced. It forms the “backbone” of many gardens, looking particularly good when used as a linking element around the garden, it also makes a wonderful flowering hedge. Iceberg grows to 120-150cm high.

2. Blushing Pink Iceberg- This sport of white Iceberg has variable, pink blushed, white flowers giving an overall apple-blossom effect. All other characteristics are the same as the original Iceberg. Height 120-150cm.

3. Brilliant Pink Iceberg- This vibrant pink floribunda is a form of Iceberg and every bit as good as its parent. Wonderfully easy to grow and quick to re-flower after each flush. It’s a constant performer through the season. Bushy, dense growth, lending itself to hedging and border planting. Height to 135cm.

4. Burgundy Iceberg- Caused a real stir when it first appeared around 10 years ago. One of the most popular members of the Iceberg family and often planted to accompany the original white Iceberg. Glowing burgundy blooms adorn this quick growing and reliable rose. Height 135cm.

Happy Gardening

The Dawson Gardener