MAY GARDEN MATTERS
The deciduous trees are finally starting to turn and the colours are beautiful! Now is the time to view all these trees if you are thinking of purchasing one, as there is nothing better then viewing them first hand! Before making a final decision on your chosen variety, make sure you have all the information regarding size, width, etc., especially if you only have a small back yard!!! Few trees match the elegance and grace of the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and now, while they’re in autumn colour, is the time to go shopping for your favourite specimen! These small trees have very few bad habits and like to nestle beneath the cover of taller trees. Cool or temperate climates and good soils are preferred. If space is limited, choose a grafted tree – this will live happily in a tub for decades and may even become a family heirloom!! For added colour, that is flowering, deciduous trees, there are some lovely varieties of flowering plums, cherries, peaches, crab apple and apricot, which are much smaller then some of your other trees, such as Liquid Amber, Claret Ash, etc.
WAYS to use FALLEN LEAVES;
**Leaves are a terrific source of carbon in compost heaps. Layer leaves between green matter such as kitchen scraps or lawn clippings.
**Make leaf-mould by stuffing tightly into big plastic bags. Moisten and punch a few holes in bags. Pile up and leave until October before spreading on the garden.
**Spread onto the garden as mulch. Don’t apply more thickly than 20cm and wet down as you go. Downside; they can blow about!
**For bulk quantities, make a “bin” from bales of straw. Add leaves, wet down each layer. Wet the bales too. Cover when full. In spring, distribute the rotten leaves and straw as well!
POMEGRANATES****Are cold tolerant and can be grown from Tasmania to the tropics. Also reasonably drought resistant, they are ideal for districts with a warm, dry summer and autumn. Short tip-cuttings, about 10cm long can be taken from current season’s wood in autumn and early winter. These are easily struck in a moist mixture of sand and coco peat. Keep out of direct sunlight and give them an occasional light watering. Most cuttings take root before spring and can be either potted-up or planted out in the garden. Pomegranates are not fussy about soil, although clay soils are said to produce the best flavoured fruit!!! Plant in full sun, remove suckers and lightly prune to remove old wood, as the fruit is borne on wood that’s 2-3 years old. In districts with heavy summer rains, the fruit tends to split prior to ripening and before the seeds have had a chance to fully sweeten! Harvest fruit during April and May when it is an orange-brown colour, before it splits!
SAVE SEEDS**** As flowers or vegies come to the end of their seasons, let one or two of each go to seed. When the seeds ripen and start to fall, collect them in labelled bags for re-sowing next spring or summer. Store the seeds in paper bags or airtight jars in a dry, dark place
****Cut back CANNAS to ground level once they have finished flowering. New shoots will emerge from the underground rhizomes in early spring. If you have had a problem with Canna rust, bin the pruning’s rather than composting to help minimise outbreaks. Divide and share with friends and hopefully you will end up with different varieties!
AUTUMN is a busy time in the garden, what with planting your bulbs, winter vegies, pruning perennials, etc., and the list goes on, but think of the benefits come spring!!
So until next month, HAPPY GARDENING!