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Gardening Australia

Gardening Australia December 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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2 min

Whatever Christmas ends up looking like this year, one thing I think will remain firmly in the mix is our need for beauty. This is a time of year when a lot of us take extra delight in being able to exchange planty gifts – cuttings, produce, bunches of flowers – and decorate our surroundings with lots of greenery. To help you make your garden sparkle with as little effort as possible, we had some fun putting together ideas for feature flower pots. They’re quick to make, create an instant impact, and you can mix and match them around the garden. (For further impact, add Crystal the cat. She is one of several that call this garden home!) Turn to page 14 for flower pots, a succulent tree, and other decorating…

1 min

Planted en masse, the new trailing Calibrachoa x hybrida ‘Goodnight Kiss’ really lives up to the plant’s common name, million bells. Small, trumpet-like, rosy-pink blooms with a darker centre and a novel yellow star pattern appear from spring until late summer. Growing up to 25cm high by 30cm wide, this low-maintenance, self-cleaning plant provides a burst of colour in hanging baskets, pots or garden beds. It prefers a sunny or semi-shaded spot. ballaustralia.com A magnet for bees, butterflies and small birds, the new Buddleja Humdinger range of flowering shrubs is low and compact, with panicles 20–30cm long. Butterflies love the nectar of Buddleja ‘Lavender Cupcake’ (left), sipping from its wands of fragrant purple flowers. Featuring grey-green foliage, it grows to 1.2m high by 1.35m wide. Slightly shorter, B. ‘Magenta Munchkin’ (above)…

4 min

THE FIRE WOMBAT Jackie French & Danny Snell Angus & Robertson There aren’t many writers who could take a subject as serious as the obliteration of animal habitat at the C hands of fire, and swing it round into a picture book for children. But Jackie French pulls it off, infusing her book with the wholly original language and phrasing that is her signature as she tells a tale of renewal and resilience through the lens of a wombat fleeing fire, along with a number of other panicked animals. The ‘vast carrot migration’ is a stroke of genius, and together with the gentle nature of the illustrations, helps to temper the emotion. Working across mostly double-page spreads, in ochres, browns and soft greens, illustrator Danny Snell manages to render the flight and…

7 min
christmas in the garden

THE FEATURE POT Set the scene with a big pot of flowers. It’s an easy way to create a focal point, and make a space feel special. For extra impact, cluster several pots together, and plant them with flowers in complementary heights, colours and patterns. We’ve chosen a really big pot in aqua, along with two smaller pots in blue, and clustered them on steps where guests would be walking past or sitting nearby, and directly in their line of vision from the lunch table. These pots contain a mix of annuals and perennials, with a white, blue and pink theme. Make your selection from what is available at your nursery, and group the plants according to their sunlight and water requirements. what’s in the pots POT 1 Calibrachoa ‘Aloha Conga Rose Kiss’ Calibrachoa ‘Paintball Cherry’ Calibrachoa…

1 min
care for your pots

Keep plants well watered, especially during the hottest months. Fertilise fortnightly with a liquid or soluble fertiliser formulated for flowers. The calibrachoas are self-cleaning (meaning they drop their spent flowers and refresh all by themselves), but the daisies, lavenders and heucheras benefit from regular deadheading to keep the flowers coming. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and lavender (Lavandula spp.) can be sheared off by a third when flowering has finished, to keep them compact. All these plants can later be moved to the garden or planted in bigger pots.…

1 min
plants & props

Flowers from thegreengallery.com.au; mixed herbs from bunnings.com.au; glazed Margaret Rimless Planters in Aqua and Blue (61cm and 30cm) from potsonline.com.au; Ashra Fringed Blush Table Runner and Napkins, and Sevilla Natural Placemats from pillowtalk.com.au; Flemington Outdoor Jug, Tumblers and Wine Glasses from frenchknot.com.au; Bittergurka white planter, Strala LED lighting chain, Lugga candles, and twine from ikea.com/au; white herb planter and mini blackboard plant labels from kmart.com.au; fabric from spotlightstores.com; gold plate from aldi.com.au; gold-rimmed white plate from target.com.au; stylist’s own candle holders and pegs.…