Those Kurrajong flames (also called Illawarra flame trees) just looked stunning this year – the one at the Woods and also one at the pub were spectacular and we even had flowers on one of ours which has only been in 4 years. They are a lovely tree that loses their leaves and then flowers. We also have some Small Leaf Kurrajong – with lovely fury soft leaves and a similar red trumpet flower of a slightly deeper red. White flowered Kurrajongs grow naturally in the valley and are very hardy. We have lots in the nursery including some of considerable size if any one is interested.
Boy it has been dry – this is the time when your mulching of your garden pays off. What moisture there is is retained and the root systems are kept cooler if you have put down a good layer of mulch. We have had some good falls of rain but they have been a long time between falls so it is important to keep an eye on wilting plants – having a bucket in the shower with you is a good idea, as you can spread that about in areas where your septic doesn’t water. I keep containers around the garden that I use for the odd dry plant letting what rain we get collect for later use. The aggies surprise me they do so well through dry periods – however the white flowers far outlast the blue as it gets dry. If you are worried about them getting away into the bush just deadhead them before they dry out and put the heads where you want more plants rather than letting them escape.
Just whilst we are talking of Mulch – which can be just about any plant chipped up – or grass and leaf litter from mowing, will work well. Pine bark I think looks best however it isn’t cheap. I look after a number of gardens on the North Shore and one of the owners decided to use pine bark on a section of grass that was constantly worn down by the family dogs chasing the postman. So we spread pine bark over the area and we expected what was left of the buffalo grass would die out as pine bark is a good weed suppressant when it is fresh. A funny thing happened though – once the bark had aged the buffalo came back with a vengeance – and has done very well. The dogs still chase the postman but as the area is now kept moist and springy with the mulch the grass doesn’t seem to suffer from the traffic of those running paws. Not what one would expect but a good result that we have applied to other areas with great success.
People say one should let the mulch rot down however I have put stuff straight on the garden beds with no ill effect. Infact using fresh wood chip or grass thickly can have a good weed suppression effect.
If you are doing any new planting at this time of year remember to give the plant as best a chance as you can – dig a big hole and use extra good quality soil with some soil conditioner and water crystals in the bottom, stake the tree well – but not tightly – to protect from the westerlies – leaving room for the tree to move about and strengthen the root system but not expose the roots with violent movement, and keep the water up particularly to start with – and also on these dry days. Think carefully about where you locate the new plant – not too far away from where you regularly pass so you can keep an eye on it. When it is too late to save a plant with a good deep drink there is no going back.
If you have fruit trees and not much water, to help them survive, cut off lots of the fruit and just keep a few on each tree – or if the tree is young then survival and growth are more important than fruit during a hot dry summer.
When the Wollemi pine was discovered we were given one as a present – and it was with interest and concern that we read of many dying and some gardening commentators commented that they were marketed too soon. Our tree has done well growing and enjoying its spot In the garden – till this year – despite being in an irrigated area it suddenly looked horrible and before long browned up and died. We were very disappointed and wonder about products coming on the market too soon. There have been others sold too soon I feel and that is disappointing for those who love their gardens. The price of the plant whilst not cheap is only a small part of having a nice tree or shrub in the garden
Remember to get a little dirt on your hands and keep watering those plants
from The Glen