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Gardening Australia

Gardening Australia October 2020

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Australia’s number one monthly gardening resource, ABC Gardening Australia magazine is packed with step-by-step advice and stunning design ideas from its popular team of experts. Whether you are a novice gardener or have a green thumb and years of experience, you’ll find the advice you need.

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12 Numerot

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2 min

It is a truth universally acknowledged that flowers make you feel better. (If that sounds a bit Jane Austen, you might be right.) When I am glum, I know that a vase of something, however modest or short-lived, placed on the kitchen bench where I chop food and wash dishes and ruminate on all the doleful details, is a reliable way to flip the mood curve. If only it were so easy to flip that other curve we’ve had to live with... This dismal year demands innovative coping strategies, and one Jackie French has dreamt up (page 58) is to bring back the buttonhole flower. Before you sniff at how 19th century that is, or think it’s only 18-year-olds going to their school formal who wear corsages these days (well, it…

2 min
on the shelf plants

New release Zanzibar Zenzii (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) is a compact form of the popular indoor plant Zanzibar Gem. Like the original, it has dark, glossy leaves, but shorter, thicker and more robust stems, creating a lush look that’s perfect for a desk or side table. It copes very well with low light, and needs only occasional watering because of its large, water-storing rhizome. This plant virtually thrives on neglect. amazone.com.au Clematis is a show stopper in the garden with its large, spectacular flowers. New on the scene, Clematis ‘Barbara Harrington’ has dense foliage and deep fuchsia-pink blooms as big as your hand. It is quick to establish on a pergola or trellis, and is covered in flowers from midsummer to autumn. Growing to 3m high and 1m wide, this deciduous climber is…

6 min
summer dalliance

Dahlias are the classic ugly duckling of the plant world. From elongated, rather odd-looking tubers, they rise to produce tall stems of lush leaves and flamboyant flowers within a few months of planting. Easy to grow, these bushy perennials add spectacular colour to the garden, with most flowering throughout summer and autumn. The flowers come in a huge range of gorgeous colours, from bright and vibrant to soft and pretty, and many different forms, so there really is something for everyone. Introduced to European horticulture from Mexico in the late 18th century, dahlias then spread to Australia’s colonial gardens. Those early dahlias had single flowers, but after centuries of breeding and selection, modern dahlias – mainly hybrids between Dahlia coccinea and D. pinnata – are known for their large, full flowers in…

3 min
prepare to pamper

Some plants are tricky to grow, but worth the trouble. You might have heard of boronias – a group of small native shrubs that produce dainty flowers with a fabulous fragrance. You might have also heard that they’re, shall we say, temperamental? It’s true, but as often happens, the really special things in life sometimes require a bit of extra work. Boronias are typically small to medium shrubs. Their needs seem simple enough: moist, well-drained soil, cool roots, dappled light and wind protection. Each of these elements plays a role in their success, as they have shallow, fibrous roots that must never be allowed to dry out. Most boronias are covered with small, four-petalled flowers from midwinter to spring and even into summer, offering serious cottage garden appeal. Flowers are usually star-like…

1 min
tips for success

CLIMATE Boronias don’t do well in the tropics or in very hot or humid areas. SOIL They grow best in a light, moist and well-drained soil. If you have heavy clay, create mounded beds at least 20cm high using bought garden soil. POSITION Some species, such as winged boronia (B. alata), tolerate full sun, but in the wild their roots are shaded by rocks or other plants. Err on the safe side and position your boronias in dappled shade and to the east of taller shrubs. They tolerate morning sun but definitely not afternoon sun. Choose a spot protected from strong winds or they’ll dry out quickly, and they won’t forgive you! CONTAINERS Boronias grow well in containers, but keep their roots cool by using a pebble mulch and surrounding the container with other plants for insulation. COOL…

3 min
star performer

If the desert rose has imposter syndrome, it’s in name only. Though not really a rose, Adenium obesum is an equally striking plant that flowers for most of the year and comes in a range of colours, from purple, red and pink, to white, yellow and all shades in between. Rising from a bulging trunk, its branches support masses of long-lasting, single- or multi-petalled flowers amid waxy green leaves. These unusual-looking plants are great for adding a spark of colour in pots or in the ground. For a dramatic display, plant a couple of desert roses in contrasting colours together in a large container. growing tips The desert rose is a large succulent shrub to small tree. It generally grows 1.5–2m high, but in its native environment in the semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan…