Jacaranda’s purple veil is misting views from Grafton to Griffith. Make sure you take a good look. Subtropical plants join the spring rush this month: bananas, gingers and cannas leap into the show. Here’s our list of jobs for the season.
Flowering Now: Jacaranda
In many parts of the world, such as Mexico, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Seville and Zimbabwe the Jacaranda tree is a most welcome sign of spring. The city of Grafton on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia, is also famous for its Jacaranda Festival. A street parade, local public holiday and a series of jacaranda-themed events are held. The Perth suburb of Applecross, Western Australia has streets lined with Jacaranda trees, and hosts a Jacaranda Festival in November. The festival is held in the Applecross Village district, and surrounding local businesses sell products and foods in aid of charity.
The tree canopies in some of Sydney’s north shore and harbour suburbs in the east have a purple glow during late spring while the main street of the town of Red Cliffs, Victoria, Australia (part of the Calder Highway) was named Jacaranda Street in the original town plans of the early 1920s and Jacaranda trees have since been planted to line this street.
But did you know the Brazilian Jacaranda is also used as the wood for the body of acoustic guitars?
- Feed your orchids. They need plenty of nitrogen for strong leafy growth at this time.
- Lightly prune native plants to keep them from becoming sparse and woody. Prune Bottlebrush (Callistemon) to remove spent flowering spikes.
- Apply a thick layer of mulch to garden beds to keep the soil cool and moist over the heat of summer and to discourage weeds. Choose a mulch that suits your style of garden – leaf mulch is great for shrubberies and native gardens, sugar cane mulch or lucerne for perennial beds and the veggie patch, and tea-tree mulch for showy annual beds. You may also use gravel or pebbles, especially on pot plants.
- Clear out gutters and drains in preparation for summer rains.
- Fill gaps in the garden so that new pants are established before the heat sets in.
- Melbourne Cup day is a good prompt for planting summer and autumn flowering bulbs such as lilies, hippeastrums and gladiolus in the ground now.
- Melbourne’s dry summers mean gardeners can be inspired by Mediterranean style and fill classic terracotta pots or hanging baskets with brightly coloured red and pink geraniums. Plant now; impatiens and marigolds work well too.
- Cut repeat flowering roses back by a third after each flush of flowers. They’ll be flowering on mass again in just 6 to 8 weeks. Time them to re-flower for a summer garden party.
- Look out for coddling moth grubs on apples. Remove any damaged fruit.
- Fertilise berries and make sure they are well mulched.
- Mulch pots with pea straw to retain moisture.
- Prune hibiscus and propagate from the cuttings.
- Plant costus, palms and gingers in humus-enriched soil, and watch them grow – fast!
- Wet season vegetables, such as okra, snake beans, chilli, capsicum and eggplant can be sown now.
- Apply thick mulch to prevent weed infestation.
- Plant yellow cherry tomatoes in pots for disease-free fruit during the wet.
When you have 10 minutes
Lift bulbs. Let bulb foliage die back as the bulb needs the energy stored for its next growing phase. Then dig them up, first carefully loosening the soil with a fork, then pulling them out by their stems. Clear excess soil off the bulbs and store them in a breathable bag in a cool place away from direct light.
When you have 30 minutes
Set out lures to check for the presence of fruit fly. Lures trap the males and as soon as they are detected Eco Naturalure should be applied as directed to fruit trees to control female fruit flies. Replenish the Eco Naturalure bait weekly through the fruiting season, and after rain.