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Gardening Australia

Gardening Australia January 2021

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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

Three years ago, a colleague gave me a punnet of little lamb’s ears. She’d dug up the baby plants from her home garden, where they reportedly ran riot over large areas. I was delighted with their felty leaves and the prospect of a good-looking plant that needed little maintenance. They now run riot in my garden, too, and all I need to do is pull them out where they’re not wanted. They laughed through last year’s water restrictions in Sydney (no hoses, which meant they were rarely watered – if I was lugging watering cans around, I wasn’t worrying about groundcovers). And when the rains came at the start of this year, they flowered. Prolifically. These are the kinds of plants we all need a few of in a summer…

2 min
on the shelf plants

New Petunia ‘Blueberries & Cream’ has large, double, deep purple flowers with white edges that cover the plant from spring to late summer. The plants grow up to 30cm high by 40cm wide and are perfect for hanging baskets, pots or a garden bed that gets full sun. They team well with pink calibrachoa and white alyssum. Remove spent flowers and liquid-fertilise to encourage continuous blooming. ballaustralia.com Hemerocallis ‘Stella Rouge’ is a repeat-flowering dwarf daylily that produces an abundance of fiery red, lily-like flowers, with peaks in spring and autumn. With its blooms standing clear above a dense clump of strappy green foliage that grows 40cm high by 40cm wide, it’s ideal for planting in borders and containers. It’s also a tough plant that tolerates dryness once established. pma.com.au Enjoy agapanthus blooms…

1 min
show us ya yard art

COVID restrictions have clearly given people more time to get creative in their gardens, especially in Victoria, if the recent Show Us Ya Yard Art competition run by ABC Radio Victoria is anything to go by. Judges Costa Georgiadis, Stephen Ryan and Nancy Morgan say they were blown away by the quality of the entries. Costa, who judged the Best Novelty Yard Art category, says, “What I love about the entries is all the different materials people have used, including downpipes and even the front end of an old Mini-Minor. The creativity out there is unbridled!” Standout competition entries included a magnificent draught horse made from hundreds of metal pieces, and a giant mosaic egg. Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners and runners-up. BEST SCULPTURE Dragon was made by…

2 min
on the shelf books

THE GARDEN STATE Richard Allen Photography by Kimbal Baker Thames & Hudson This book offers a spectacular visual experience, displaying 24 of the best private gardens in different regions of Victoria. The variety and beauty of the gardens, photographed across all four seasons, highlights the diversity of the state’s regional areas and demonstrates what can be achieved with passion, patience, imagination and commitment. The chapters are divided into garden types, including Rural Estates, Hill Stations, Climate Conscious Gardens, Coastal Retreats and Old Curiosities, and cover a range of styles, such as stately historic homes and gardens, and gardens created in the past 20 years. The history of the gardens, along with explanations of how each works within its particular landscape, and the methods used to adapt to changing environmental conditions, also make…

4 min
ablaze with colour

Blooming throughout the warmer seasons, portulaca have gorgeous flowers with petals resembling crumpled silk. Annual forms have slightly wavy petals surrounding a luxurious boss of yellow-tipped stamens and needle-like, succulent foliage. Also known as moss rose, portulaca are one of the few annuals that happily bask in the blazing summer sun. They’re easy to grow because they thrive with modest amounts of water, storing moisture in their thick, fleshy foliage and tuberous roots, and they’re not fussy about their soil, growing in most types if it drains well. You can get portulaca in every colour except true blue. There are about 40 species, including the Australian natives Portulaca bicolor, which has pink blooms, and P. cyclophylla and P. intraterranea, which have yellow flowers. The most popular species is the annual Portulaca grandiflora, which…

2 min
soft touch

I like lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) because it’s a touchable plant. This little ornamental perennial lives up to its name. It’s soft and felty to touch, and spreads like a carpet, making it an ideal ground-hugging border or edging plant. The plant blooms with woolly spikes of purple flowers from summer to autumn, but I think the most attractive part is the silvery leaves with dense, soft hairs. It’s one of the reasons the plant can stand up to intense heat – the light-coloured hairs reflect sunlight, and together they create an insulation layer, which helps to reduce evaporation. Native to Turkey, Iran and Armenia, Stachys spp. are found as an ornamental plant in temperate zones throughout the world, and tolerate dry times once established. They grow in most temperate places in…