About the Garden Spring 2020 Garden Magazine

Page 1

Your local gardening advice for Australian gardens


2020 | ISSUE 94



The Serenity Prayer


Issue 94

Spring 2020 At your local - In season plants - Natives

4 7

Allure of azaleas Pulp passionfruit

10 12

On the table - recipe - Brazilian passionfruit syrup cake - Tomato galette

14 24

Veggie protection Spring lawn care Indoor haven Fungus Gnats

16 17 18 19

About Spring - Edibles - Flowers - Climatic zones

20 21 24

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3, 5-6

Let nothing disturb thee. Let nothing affright thee Who has God. Wants for nothing. All things pass God alone suffices. God never changes. (St Teresa of Jesus) Patience gains all.

Azaleas p10

Con Searle

Front cover image: Lavender ‘Fairy Wings’

www.pma.com.au Managing Director: Conway Searle Contributors: Ashley Searle Magazine Manager: Alana Searle Design & Layout: Alana Searle ATG Group Co-ordinator & Advertising: Jason Searle About the Garden is published seasonally by About the Garden Pty. Ltd. ABN 21 076 919 992 • 4914 D’Aguilar Highway, Kilcoy or P.O. Box 70, Kilcoy Qld. 4515 Ph: (07) 5422 3090 atg@aboutthegarden.com.au

Indoor p18

The material appearing in About the Garden is subject to copyright. Other than as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part of this magazine may be reproduced without the permission of the publishers. No responsibility is accepted by About the Garden Pty. Ltd. for the accuracy of information contained in the text, illustrations or advertisements. Although believed to be accurately and correctly sourced, thereof disclaims any liability against itself, editor/s or employees arising from any person acting on the material herein. The opinions expressed in the magazine, or by contributors, do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. ©Copyright 2020 About the Garden Pty. Ltd.

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25cmH 30cmW



25cmH 40cmW

In warmer areas Bidens (Bidens ferulifolia) flower right through the year, flowering larger and longer than other varieties available.

combinations. For potted colour plant in Searles Platinum Potting Mix. Prune back lightly if any branches become too leggy.

Bidens grow best in full sun in nutrient-rich, free draining soil. Their bright golden splashes of colour contrast against other smaller shrubs and flower borders. They are easy to grow in pots for patio colour and garden pot

‘Goldilocks Rocks’ bears bright yellow flowers on soft, fern like foliage while Bidens ‘Campfire’ lights up the garden with their flame bi-coloured yellow and orange flowers.

Jasminum polyanthum - jasmine

This evergreen climber signals spring with clusters of beautifully scented white-pink flowers on smooth dainty foliage. Its vigorous growing habit makes it ideal for rambling over walls, trellises, fences and archways. Plant in a position where it receives full sun and some shade. Enrich the soil before planting with 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser. For planting in pots, use Searles Platinum Potting Mix which contains 18 months feeding and excellent water retention properties. Prune back regularly to keep the shape you desire. page 04 | About the garden magazine

‘Rockin’ FULL SUN

‘Rockin’ ‘Fuchsia’

All ‘Rockin’ Salvias never stop flowering, making them a great show stopper in formal and informal plantings, patio and terrace plantings and large pots. In mixed garden plantings they hold their own with their large plume like heads of bracts shining like beacons amongst the shrubs around them.


‘Rockin’ ‘Deep Purple’

They are hardy in most situations liking strong light to grow and flower to their best. They send up flower spikes all year long in warmer areas but have a slowdown in cooler climates. Once established, they are somewhat drought tolerant. Their upright flowers and foliage will need some protection from strong winds. They like a well-draining but fertile soil and need to be kept moist to encourage more flowers. A garden or pot in full sun to part shade is best suited to growing ‘Rockin’ Salvias. You can prune to desired size at any time of the year in warmer areas. Particularly when young, pinching of the plants encourages more bracts and flowers. An application of Searles Flourish Flowers & Foliage Soluble Plant Food a couple of times a year will encourage better flowering and foliage.

Go Go ‘Scarlet’

Go Go ‘Purple’


1.2mH 60cmW


‘Rockin’ ‘Golden Delicious’

salvias ‘go go’ All Salvias are blooming machines. They never stop flowering for a great show of spectacular colour. ‘Go-Go’ Purple’ and ‘Go-Go’ Scarlet’ live for two or three years and with attention keep sending up flower spikes all year long. They are hardy in most situations, liking strong light to grow and flower to their best. They are used in formal and informal plantings, patio and terrace plantings and large pots. Their upright bracts sit proudly above its thick foliage and will contrast beautifully amongst other plants in the garden. About the garden magazine | page 05


60cmH 60cmW

Lavender ‘Purplereign’


SIZE 40cmH

A versatile, clumping perennial with attractive blue-green strappy leaves, clusters of blue star-like flowers which appear in spring and summer. Flowers are then followed by shiny, dark blue berries. Ideal for adding colour, form and contrast in mixed beds and excellent for mass planting. Prefers a sunny position in well drained soil, tolerant of dry periods and light frost.

Scaevola aemula



Dianella revoluta ‘Seaspray’


Look out for all your favourite lavender varieties under a new label. LAVINNOVA® represents ‘The Lavender Revolution’ that includes the best Lavender on the market in the minds of Australian gardeners, including all your current favourites such as ‘Fairy Wings’, ‘Ruffles’, ‘Lace’, ‘The Princess’ and ‘The Queen’ completing the series.

proudly Australian bred with a world renowned reputation. They are bred to be dependable and disease-free garden performers that look amazing with little effort.

New to the lavender family is Lavender ‘Purplereign’ boasting deluxe deep purple flowers peaking in early spring with spot flowering throughout the warmer months. Tight LAVINNOVA® labelled varieties and compact mounded habit perfect showcase unparalleled ‘wing’ size for potted colour, coastal and rockeries that sets these plants well outside gardens and low hedging. Plant in of the typical spring-flowering full sun in soil enriched with Searles lavenders currently available. They are Garden Soil.

These days, there are so many wonderful cultivars of the ‘Fan flower’ to chose from. This perennial fast growing ground cover generally grows anywhere from 1-2 metres wide and approximately 30cm high. The Scaevola flowers throughout spring and summer and comes in a range of colours, including white, pink, mauve and purple. Keep an eye out for the new form that produces a yellow and white flower named ‘Suntastic’. This garden gem can be used in rockery situations, where ground cover is needed, in pots and their cascading habit makes them ideal as hanging basket plants as well. page 06 | About the garden magazine

ings’ series

Syzygium ‘Cascade’

This lilly pilly is an outstanding cultivar for backyards, producing the most stunning pale pink powder puff flowers throughout spring and summer. It will grow to around 3m high and 2m wide. It can be used as screening, hedge, or specimen plant and will happily grow in pots as well. They flourish in a full to semi-shade position and in soil that is humus rich with good drainage. They will like a reasonable amount of water to look their best, especially during times of drought. The flowers are attractive to bees and birds.


3mH 2mW

Corymbia ‘Summer Beauty’

Now this is the gum tree you can have in your backyard when you can’t have a gum tree. These hybrid cultivars are a cross between the Corymbia ptycocarpa and Corymbia ficifolia and only grow to around 5m. “Summer Beauty” is a lovely strawberry pink and ‘Summer Red” is cerise. Both produce spectacular floral displays during spring and after the flowers have finished they produce the typical large gumnuts, which adorn the tree for months. The flowers are heavily laden with nectar and attract a wide range of nectar loving birds and bees, both European and native.

Grevillea ‘Carpet Layer’

An easy to grow groundcover with attractive divided foliage is embellished with large deep pink ‘toothbrush’ flowers in spring, summer & early winter long.

This spectacular grevillea has the most unusual mauve and purple toothbrush type flowers framed in a bush of grey foliage with bronze coloured new growth flushes. Growing 3m by 2m it is a decent sized shrub that will lend itself for use as a screen, all the while attracting bees, and a broad range of bird species not only for its nectar but for nesting habitat space as well. As with all Grevilleas, drainage and full sun is a must and only native fertilisers that are low in phosphorus should be used. A great native fertiliser to use is Searles Robust Native Plants.



0.3mH 2.5mW

Can be grown in cool temperate, sub-tropical and semi-arid climates in moist well drained clay or sandy loams, neutral to low acid ph. Searles Native Plant Specialty Mix is ideal for their growing conditions. Will tolerate frost and coastal conditions. Bird attracting.

About the garden magazine | page 07

Dwarf Browallia

Streptosolen jamesonii Browallias are a wonderful flowering choice for any semi shade to full shade position in the garden. This tropical small compact shrub grows moderately fast in warm weather. Stands out planted in group planting, cascading over walls, pots and hanging baskets. Browallias bear trumpet shaped flowers from Spring to Autumn in two main shades orange and sapphire blue, sometimes white can be purchased. Browallias’ emerald green foliage makes an attractive feature in its own right. Keep Browallias happy planted in moisture retentive and nutrient rich soil such as Searles Platinum Potting Mix for pots and containers or mix plenty of rich well composted manures into existing soil for gardens.




Being a tropical plant, they love moist soil. Water regularly and fertilise monthly with Searles Flourish Flowers & Foliage during flowering season to prolong flowering. Closely related, and was initially labelled under the genus of Browallia, the Marmalade Bush (Streptosolen jamesonii), sometimes labelled Ginger Meggs is a popular flowering variety with fiery tangerine and yellow clusters for flowers. They can be planted in a full sun to part shade position where the bird life can enjoy its features. This variety can grow up to 3m high but can be pruned for a more compact shrub shape.

Instyle Succulents Instyle Succulents aims to bring together the most comprehensive collection of succulents and designer plants to add some flare to your home, garden, courtyard and life. Plants in this selection will flourish in pots or the garden, both indoors and out, with minimal maintenance and little effort required to grow and look spectacular. These plants are specifically suited to Australia’s tough climate gardens and thrive on neglect. Their low water requirement, tolerance of hot conditions and ability to grow in small spaces have made Instyle Succulents the perfect choice. Succulents have become increasingly fashionable with interior decorators using them like pieces of art to add style and a touch of green to homes and gardens.

Check out the range at your local garden centre today! page 08 | About the garden magazine

A hardy and effortless performer during spring and summer best in a full sun position. When not in flower its deep plum coloured foliage creates colour contrast all year round. Great for informal hedging and container planting in tubs to suit small spaces. A moist well drained soil will give best results, although once established, it is dry tolerant.


1.2mH 1.5mW

Euphorbia millii and its hybrid cultivars have become quite the popular choice for many people living in high rise apartments with small courtyards or who travel frequently. Needing only a deep watering about once a week during summer and even less during winter, these are the perfect choice as gifts for anyone with limited space or those looking for easy care plants.

About the garden magazine | page 09

Azaleas are one of the most striking of flowering shrubs for any garden, yet have attracted a rather unfair reputation of being “fussy” or difficult to grow. With drought conditions experienced over recent times in many parts of Australia, azaleas have been somewhat overlooked as being able to withstand difficult times. Yet with a small amount of understanding, azaleas can become an amazing, colourful and drought hardy addition to any garden, patio or courtyard space. Most modern hybrid azaleas relish a partly shaded site in the garden, while some older varieties simply relish the full sun for strong flowering. Sun requirements aside, they all have only a few common requests that should be addressed.

Soil for Azaleas

Although most plants will be happiest in a neutral pH zone (6-7), all azaleas enjoy a compost/humus enriched soil that is slightly on the acidic side of the pH scale (5.5). If you have a pH test kit, it’s essential that you take a reading to indicate if the location will be appropriate. Be guided by some of the other plants in your garden as they can be indicators if the location is suitable. For instance, species such as camellias, gardenias, ixora, brunsfelsia, magnolia and tibouchina will naturally indicate acid soil conditions and the chances of azaleas doing well amongst them are far greater. To take to guess work out of choosing the right soil, Searles Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Specialty Mix has all the right nutrients and soil pH for growing azaleas in the ground, and for use in pots.

Azalea Establishment

Azaleas have quite slow-growing, fine root systems and can often take several months to become fully established in the garden. While young, they are not strong competitors with neighbouring trees and shrubs for soil moisture and are easily robbed of this vital resource. To help with this, consider using (hydrated) water storing crystals at the base of the planting hole. Deep watering should be done at least three times a week during warm weather and once a week during the winter months. The addition of Searles Liquid Seaweed at time of planting and again at three week intervals will encourage strong root development and help alleviate transplant shock. Using a liquid wetting agent such as Searles Penetraide at time of planting will be of great benefit for long-term success. To lock in moisture, especially with high summer temperatures approaching, always remember to mulch the surface of the soil. Tea tree or red cypress mulch looks very much at home with azaleas and all woodland shrubs, but sugar cane will also suffice. Allowing a generous establishment period for azaleas will undoubtedly be the most important step anyone can take in ensuring strong, healthy plants, able to withstand drought periods when older.

page 10 | About the garden magazine

Azalea ‘Kirin’


Most of the modern, smaller hybrid (indica) azaleas such as ‘Nice surprise’ (variegated cerise and white), ‘Gretel’ (bi-colour strawberry pink and white) and ‘Happy Days’ (lavender violet) enjoy a lightly shaded site in the garden with some protection from taller trees and shrubs, preferably deciduous, that will shed old foliage throughout the year and, naturally, add to the level of humus in the soil helping to build up a healthy soil ecology. Some other forms such as (azalea indica) ‘Alba Magnifica’ (white), ‘Exquisite’ (mid pink), ‘Magnifica’ (magenta), ‘Mortii’ (white) and ‘Alphonse Anderson’ (light pink) are total sunlovers and enjoy being out in the open, exposed to full sun and climatic conditions. These forms are most commonly seen in older style gardens and can reach substantial heights of over two metres in the garden and should be granted the space to fully develop. If you take the time to place your nose close to the blooms, you will also be surprised at the delightful perfume that they exude which is something that most garden azaleas are not associated with. If space is limited, these taller “sun tolerant” forms can be easily pruned to shape to fit in with most spaces. Some strong cultivars such as ‘Red wings’ and the miniature flowering Kurume forms such as ‘Kirin’ (light pink), ‘Mrs Kint’ (mid pink) and ‘Rose Queen’ (Rose pink) species are happy in both sun and shaded sites. The Kurume forms are striking by their prolific double flowering that seem to completely smother the entire plant. Red wings carries the added advantage of spot flowering throughout the entire year and is highly regarded as one of the very best flowering azaleas. For southern, cooler climate gardens the ‘mollis’ azalea range is an exceptional choice for woodland style gardens where their brightly coloured blooms of gold, orange, pink and lemon simply shine in the gentle, dappled light. These bright colours set these deciduous species apart from their ‘indica’ first cousins and are best grown in temperate, mountainous regions of the country and are an absolute joy to see in bloom from early to late spring. Although most azaleas are able to take frosty conditions, the ‘mollis’ group are outstanding in very cold areas.

Azalea petal blight

Azalea lace bug

Azalea pest & diseases The biggest and most common problems that azaleas seem to battle are from sap-sucking insects such as mites and azalea lace bug. They are easily spotted when the foliage turns from bright green to a mottled, silver patterning on the leaves. If left uncontrolled for several years they can certainly weaken the plant and prevent them from producing enough chlorophyll to naturally sustain their health and growth. Both can easily be controlled by using Searles Conguard and Wettable Sulphur when the plants aren’t in flower. The major fungal problem associated with azaleas is petal blight. This is primarily caused by excessive moisture in and around the plants while in full bloom. This is evident from the rapid browning of the flowers turning them slimy and limp while still remaining on the plant and will affect the entire plant and any (possible) neighbouring azaleas. The sun tolerant forms (as mentioned earlier) seem to have much greater tolerance to this disease and are rarely affected. Spraying a trusted fungicide such as Searles Mancozeb Plus in the weeks prior to flowering will control this outbreak. Removal of all fallen foliage and flowers around the base of the plant is also highly advised as the spores of the fungal problem can remain viable in the surrounding soil. Petal blight is mostly witnessed in regions with high rainfall levels during the spring flowering season.

If space is at a premium in your garden, then consider getting the most from your azaleas by growing them in pots. Searles Azalea, Camellia and Gardenia Specialty Mix is a perfect choice for all potted azaleas as it is specifically designed for all acid loving plants. Make sure to choose a glazed pot as your choice as this will reduce moisture loss from the sides and also reduce lime, (which is alkaline) from seeping into the mix over time. About the garden magazine | page 11


Passionfruit have a climbing habit and can become very heavy when laden with fruit. They require ample room and a strong structure for support. Fences, pergolas, trellises and chook runs all make great support structures. In preparing the soil for planting, be aware that passionfruit must have excellent drainage as they are susceptible to phytophthora root rot. Add plenty of organic matter such as 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser into the soil to improve drainage and supply these hungry feeders with rich nutrients. The best time of year to plant out your vines is between October and April. Once planted, water in well and mulch thickly with lucerne or sugarcane mulch to protect their shallow roots from dry out and temperature fluctuations. Make sure your chosen position is in full sun and is protected from strong winds and frost. Passionfruit vines are most productive and healthy in their first 3 to 5 years of life, after which time they should be replaced with new vines.


Adequate water is essential throughout the growing season. It is critical to keep the water up to your vine once fruit set has occurred and until it has ripened. Inconsistent watering will cause water stress and can result in fruit drop.


For passionfruit to produce well, they need to be fed around three times throughout the growing season. Fertilise with Searles Fruit & Citrus Food every season to ensure your vine has adequate nutrients for successful cropping. Passionfruit have a large root run, so extend your watering and fertilising out to the far edges of their root boundary. Don’t limit your attention to just the base of the trunk.


It is advisable not to prune your passionfruit vine too hard. If necessary, a very light trim in late winter and summer can help keep it in check, size-wise. Passionfruit will produce better crops for longer if left alone.

Pests & diseases Fruit fly and fruit spotting bug both leave similar damage signs; raised, sting-like lumps. It is quite uncommon though to find fruit fly maggots within the fruit skin or pulp. Use Searles Fruit Fly Traps to control fruit fly. Pyrethrum can control fruit spotting bugs.

page 12 | About the garden magazine

Passion vine mite can cause your vine to lose a lot of leaves, especially during dry spells. Apply Searles Wettable Sulphur. Septoria spot, brown spot and alternata spot are fungal diseases and can be controlled using Searles Copper Oxychloride. Phytophthora root rot: improve drainage or choose a better site and replace with a grafted variety. Woodiness virus: Remove and replace vines with more resistant varieties and keep a check on sap sucking insects such as aphids, which can transmit the virus from one vine to another.

Pollination & Flowering problems

Probably the most common problems for passionfruit grown in home gardens are no flowers or poor fruit set. No flowers forming could be from a number of reasons such as pruning at the wrong time, lack of water, insufficient fertiliser, frost or windy weather. These factors could also effect poor fruiting. Not enough bees around to pollinate the flowers may be another factor. One remedy to improve pollination is to hand pollinate your passionfruit flowers yourself. Alternatively, it might be a nice idea to plant other bee loving natives, like lavender, close by. When hand pollinating, use a small brush to stroke the stamen downwards to collect pollen and transfer the pollen to another flower’s stigma. Do this early morning and repeat process until fruit starts forming. Pruning your vine to encourage new growth before flower onset is important. Flowers grow on new growth. Prune early spring. Make sure your purchased vine is self fertile. This means it doesn’t need pollinating from other passionfruit vine varieties. Don’t give your passionfruit vines a high nitrogen fertiliser. This will encourage leaf growth and not fruit. To promote flowers and fruit, liquid feed with Searles Liquid Potash. Potash is a bloom booster agent. Alternatively, fertilise regularly with Searles Fruit & Citrus Food as mentioned earlier.

The passionfruit plant varieties that we can buy for our gardens today all stem from two main species of passionfruit; Passiflora edulis (purple) and Passiflora flavicarpa (yellow). Both prefer a warm, subtropical climate, but P. flavicarpa is somewhat more cold sensitive. P. edulis will grow as far south as Victoria quite successfully.

Grafted Black – medium to small-sized, black to dark purple fruit. Named varieties such as ‘Supersweet’ and ‘Lacey’ do well in warmer climates. For temperate zones, the best choice would be ‘Nelly Kelly Black’. ‘Panama Red’ – Red skinned, very large fruit with good flavour. Heavy cropping.

‘Panama Gold’ – very large, yellow skinned fruit with sweet pulp. Vigorous vine. (Both ‘Panama Gold’ and ‘Panama Red’ come as seedling plants or grafted.)

‘Panama Gold’

‘Panama Red’

Giant Granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis)

The largest of all the fruiting passionfruit, the Granadilla’s oval fruits can reach up to 30cm in length. Unripe fruit can be eaten like a marrow or it can be left to ripen and eaten fresh. Cross-pollination by hand is recommended.

Sweet Lilikoi (Passiflora alata)

Large, orange skinned, white-fleshed fruit with the most stunning fragrant purple and red flowers. Crosspollination by hand is recommended.

Note: Due to their reluctance to set fruit, the Giant Granadilla and Sweet Lilikoi are best grown together for cross pollination purposes; generally they are best hand pollinated.

About the garden magazine | page 13

simple recipes made from garden kitchen produce

page 14 | About the garden magazine

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm round ring cake pan. Beat egg yolks, sugar and butter in a bowl until mixture is light in colour and fluffy.

4 eggs, separated 330g (1½ cups) caster sugar 100g unsalted butter, softened 300g (2 cups) plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 250ml passionfruit pulp (about 12 passionfruit)

Passionfruit syrup 60ml passionfruit pulp (about 3 passionfruit)

Gradually fold in flour, baking powder and passionfruit pulp in batches. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the remaining mixture. Pour batter into a greased cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until cooked throughout. Allow cake to cool while preparing the syrup.

Passionfruit syrup

Over low heat dissolve sugar, pulp and 125mL water in a small pan, then bring to boil for several minutes until mixture becomes thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool completely.

220g (1 cup) caster sugar

Place cake onto a serving plate and drizzle passionfruit syrup to cover top. For more tasty recipes from the garden, visit

Best served warm on the same day. Serve with a dollop of thick cream.


About the garden magazine | page 15

Protect the harvest you have been nurturing from chewing insects. • Cover-up - Create a physical barrier by covering leafy vegetables with a fine weave vegetable netting. Sometimes you need to protect only one plant or row of plants. A cloche is a temporary cover, sized and shaped to fit a particular plant. For single plants, make inexpensive cloches by removing the bottom of a 2L plastic milk bottle and setting them over the young plants. Cloches can create heat buildup on sunny days. Make sure you remove or vent the cloches, so they don’t overheat your plants.

ri g Ma


Pop up fine mesh netting

• Bring in the beneficial insects, birds and reptiles – grow flowering plants near your veggie patch which will encourage beneficial insects and birds to inhabit your sa ttra garden and chew on the bad bugs. Most ct bees common types of beneficial insects found in gardens include ladybirds and lacewings which feed on aphids, small caterpillars, and moth eggs. Spiders and wasps hunt out citrus leaf miner and aphids. • Delay planting out seedlings from trays until they are a little bigger. Chewing pests love young fresh leaves - same as us. • Try to identify what is munching on your leaves. Time for a night stake out. Many pests come out freely at night. So don on your head torch and bust the myth.

Reuse plastic milk bottles for protective cloches

• If you have snails and slugs on the march in your garden, sprinkle Searles Snail & Slug Pellets on the soil. It contains a child and pet deterrent so only the slimy bugs eat it.

Spring is the perfect time for top dressing and fertilising lawns to take advantage of the warm weather growth ahead.

It also contains a fertiliser so it will feed your lawn at the same time.

Spring is the time for painful bindii For a wonderful green lawn right invasion in lawns. If you through to next year, start fertilising have ever walked on a bindii in early spring with Searles Robust and felt the sharp pain Lawn Booster. Searles Robust Bindii they cause, you may be is a slow release fertiliser interested to know that which will slowly feed it is actually the seed lawn roots and leaves that forms the prickle. for up to 4 months to Bindii grows in the promote slowly thick, winter and set seed green, healthy grass from late winter to just like professional early spring. Spray sports fields. A thicker now with Searles Lawn lawn will smother out Perfect. Repeat spraying weeds, reducing weed is important to control weeds spraying. that have germinated after the prior spraying. If your lawn soil is hard and repels water, aerate with a garden fork or It’s very important whenever using a aerator, fill holes with the mix of weed spray, to use it in conjunction sand and 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser with a wetting agent such as Searles (see top dressing lawn tips section, Spredmax. This increases the right). Sprinkle Searles Penetraide weedkiller’s effectiveness by helping Re-Wetting Granules onto the soil to it stick to the leaves of the weed. promote better water penetration.

Don’t let the lawn weeds

take a hold of your lawn over spring. Check out Searles Lawn Weed Chart for the correct lawn weeders for your lawn type.

TOP DRESSING LAWN TIPS Spring is the ideal time to top dress lawns to take advantage of the warm weather rapid growth. Whether you are filling in holes, evening out lawns or adding nutrients to the soil for better growth, applying a 2cm layer of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser will set your lawn up for strong spring growth. Top dressing with 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser will add rich organic nutrients and minerals to encourage the production of new grass shoots and strengthen roots resulting in a thicker greener lawn. A thicker and regularly mown lawn will smother out weeds, reducing the use of chemical spraying. A top dress of organic matter will also encourage microbial activity to break down grass clippings and provide extra nutrients into the soil. Extra organic matter also improves water retention and drainage in the soil. Especially helpful during drier times of the year, but also equally when the ‘big wet’ comes. Before applying, mow lawn the day prior. Add a 2cm layer of 5 IN 1 over the grass and rake evenly. Water well after raking to bed down the soil.

www.searlesgardening.com.au/problem-solver About the garden magazine | page 17


page 18 | About the garden magazine

Photo courtesy of Denise Payne via Facebook.

Hoyas ( wax flower) will quickly become a gardener’s favourite after they experience their hardiness and scented pendulous blooms during the warmer months. With many variations available to suit different climatic zones and large pendulous blooms, this hardy evergreen climber will grow on you.


They will flourish well in tropical and sub-tropical zones. Surprisingly they will grow well in most parts of Australia where the winter is mild or can be protected from heavy frost, preferring to bask in a warm position. Varieties of hoyas vary, with some suitable for cooler regions. Being epiphytic, Hoyas have small roots, traditionally living high in trees feeding from rotting leaf matter. Their small root requirements make them perfect for pots. Ideally, plant hoyas in Cymbidium & Bromeliad Specialty Mix. This mix has open free draining properties and contains a 9 month fertiliser for flower boosting. Hoyas flourish in very bright light, in dappled shade areas and under patios in warmer zones. In southern, cooler zones they will tolerate more sun exposure in winter. They do require some sunlight to flower well. Morning sun or dappled shade are ideal positions for flowering. Protect from harsh summer sunlight. Water well in the warmer months and a little less during the winter months. Feeding hoyas before their flowering season and during flowering will greatly encourage more blooms. Feed at half rate with Searles Flourish Orchid Booster Soluble Plant Food.

Caladiums (Caladium bicolour), better known as ‘Bleeding hearts’, is a gorgeous group of deciduous tropical bulbs which emerge with the warmth of spring and summer and bring intense colour to any tropical inspired garden. Caladiums require growing conditions with dappled light to shady corners in well-drained soil. As the new leaves are pushed through at the beginning of the growing season, they require adequate protection from slugs and snails, as it is at this point in their growth cycle that they are at their most vulnerable for attack. As they are fully herbaceous and disappear completely over winter to an underground bulb, it is sometimes a clever option to grow these in their own display pots where gardeners will always know where the bulbs are and not view an empty spot in the garden as an opportunity to (mistakenly) plant another plant over them. The pots in themselves can be utilized as part of the tropical garden theme, so take the time to pick something that can still remain a visual feature while the plants are dormant.

Fungus gnats (Sciaroidea family) in their adult form can be most annoying invading our interior space in large numbers. But it is their larvae which do the most damage to plants’ roots. Adult flies lay hundreds of eggs at a time in the plants’ soil and their eggs hatch into white worm-like larvae featuring black heads. These larvae wreak havoc by feeding on the roots and soft stem material of the plant, seriously weakening its ability to survive. The Fungus Gnat’s life cycle from egg to adult flies is just three weeks. To detect larvae presence, gently dig around the soil for evidence of the worm-like creature. They can also leave a silvery shiny trail on the top layer of the potting mix, similar to snails.

Tips to controlling Fungus Gnats

• Fungus Gnats love moist wet soil where they can thrive in great numbers. So be careful not to over water pot plants and do let the soil dry out between watering. This will greatly reduce the numbers of eggs hatching and larvae feasting. • Avoid leaving leached water in saucer pots. Drain excess water out after watering plants. • Stop their life cycle by hanging sheets of sticky traps close to the indoor plants to kill the adults before they have a chance to lay their eggs in the soil. • A physical barrier can also be created to stop the adults accessing the soil to lay their eggs. Mulch thickly over the top layer of soil with stones, gravel and small pebbles. • To control larvae and stop eggs hatching in the soil, dunk the pot plant in a half strength solution of Searles Conguard. Leave the pot plant in the solution until the soil is fully soaked with the solution and then remove to drain. Repeat process after 3-4 weeks if necessary.

Plant carrots in spring

spring planting and care guide

> Peas grow well in Spring all throughout Australia. Whether you pick a climbing or bush variety, support their growing habit by installing a trellis. Plant in compost enriched soil. Water bushes regularly at the base of the plant to promote consistent pod production and to reduce the risk of powdery mildew. Pick young and often to encourage more flowers. > Plant warm season vegetables now such as, tomato, capsicum, beetroot, beans & carrot. In warmer areas, sweet corn, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber and beans can also be planted from early Spring. For cooler areas, hold off planting these until mid to late Spring.

Tomatoes like an open, sunny site with deep soil, excellent drainage and protection from wind. The smaller varieties can grow well in large pots or tubs. Taller varieties will need staking, preferably at planting stage to avoid damaging existing roots. Tomatoes will grow in practically any soil, provided it has been dug over with plenty of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser at least 2 weeks before planting. When planting from seed, be sure to thin them out once they start growing as overcrowding can encourage disease. Mulch well around plants to suppress weeds and water the roots rather than the foliage. Feed tomatoes with SeaMax Fish & Kelp fortnightly to feed their developing fruit. Soil-borne viruses like wilt can usually be avoided with crop rotation or by growing in pots. Use Searles Pest Gun for severe infestations of aphids, caterpillars or mites. Hang Searles Fruit Fly Traps to combat fruit fly. To avoid damaging the fruit, include part of the stalk when harvesting and snip off baby tomatoes in trusses. Planting basil near tomato plants is said to improve their flavour and also helps remind you which herb works best in tomato dishes!

page 20 | About the garden magazine

> Strawberries will crop throughout Spring and Summer with many varieties continuing through Autumn. Blueberries love warm days and cool nights. Depending on where you live in Australia, white belled shaped flowers start appearing on the bush in Spring. Then a month or two later the flowers wither and the fruit appears. As a general rule, blueberry bushes flower earlier in Queensland and Northern NSW compared to their southern states. Give berries a sunny position with good drainage and plenty of rich well composted soil. > Place fruit fly traps around the perimeter of your orchard or veggie garden and one trap in the centre to monitor fruit flies. The traps will kill the male flies stopping the breeding cycle and also indicate fruit flies are around. Fruit fly particularly sting the fruit of tomatoes, citrus and passionfruit. Check traps weekly. > Spray mangoes with Searles Mancozeb fungicide after flowering to protect them from anthracnose - a common cause of fruit drop. Spray passionfruit with Searles Bug Beater, a natural pyrethrum spray to control sucking and chewing pests. > Plants are hungry feeders in Spring. Sprinkle 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser Pellets around gardens, lawns and fruit trees to enrich the soil with well composted manures and nutrients for healthy organic growth.

> One of first to show their brilliance in Spring is the beautiful Hippeastrum Hippeastrum reginae. These bulbs are amazing with their large flowering heads that emerge from a dormant bulb in early Spring and sometimes last until Christmas! Needing well-drained, sunny sites, Hippeastrums are perfectly suited for pots and can be mass planted for a large display. They can be combined with smaller annual plants around their base such as alyssum or lobelia for a softening effect. The flowers can be cut and brought indoors for further enjoyment. When not in bloom, the handsome deep green foliage will look lush and cool for any location. > Podranea ricasoliana ‘Pink Trumpet Vine’ This vine will happily grow in most climatic zones and bears the most delicate soft pink trumpet shaped blooms during Spring through to Autumn. Grown successfully in sun or light shaded positions, such as arbours, fences, veranda railings, large baskets and even as a weeping standard. Very hardy and virtually a pest and disease free plant, as well as being drought tolerant once established. Prune when flowering has finished. > Few plants are more synonymous with the arrived of Spring than the beautiful and bold daylilies (Hemerocallis). Their graceful form, long flowering habit and their tolerance of neglect are just a few more of their good points. When daylilies are massed in the landscape they are a truly splendid sight, yet they also look good as individual specimens in the garden or in a pot. This means they suit gardens of all sizes and shapes, from the patio to the acreage lot; as well as all types of gardeners, from the truly dedicated to the lazy weekender. Today’s varieties flower for long periods and when not in flower, the foliage makes an attractive feature. They are not true lilies at all, nor bulbs, but herbaceous perennials which form clumps that can be divided every three years in Autumn. Plant late Winter/early Spring in well composted soil and fertilise during flowering season with a instant release fertiliser - Searles Flourish for continued big blooms. Control mites and aphids with Searles Bug Beater. > Headlining in Spring gardens is the daisy family with an easy to grow habit, making them perfect for Spring garden colour. Plant federation daisies, African daisies, gazanias, erigeron, shasta daisies and sunflowers. > Clivias will be on full display in all parts of Australia. Their hardy nature, thick strappy foliage and when Spring arrives clumps of bright blooms sitting erect from the leaves, make them a stand out.

Cool Scent

• Daphne odora ‘Sweet Daphne’ (pictured above) - sweetly perfumed pinkish white flowers. • Syringa vulgaris ‘Lilac’ - deciduous shrub. • Osmanthus fragans ‘Sweet Osmanthus’ fragrant white flowers reminiscent of apricots. Slow growing. • Choisya ternata ‘Mexican Orange Blossom’ evergreen shrub producing clusters of small white flowers. • Philadelphus mexicana, Bouvardia, Magnolia sp & cultivars.

Native Scent

• Boronia megastigma ‘Brown Boronia’ delicate native shrub with extremely fragrant pendulous tiny cup shaped flowers. Cool climates. • ‘Lushious’ Hymenosporum flavum - dwarf form of native frangipani. Flowering Spring & summer. • Indigophora australis ‘Native indigo’ - Pink pea flowers. Arching growth 2m H. • Prostahthera sp ‘Native Mint bush’ - Native shrub with minted scented foliage. Available in white, pink or purple.

Exotic Scent

• Jasminum nitidum, Jasminum sambac and Jasminum grandiflora ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ are all richly scented exotic perfume.

Spring is a perfect time to re-pot cymbidiums. Use Searles Cymbidium & Bromeliad Mix for the right soil media for healthy growth. This mix contains 9 months fertiliser and water penetration granules.

It is hard to find a great plant with lots of bright blue flowers. Here we have a dwarf shrub which flowers its head off.



This plant makes a statement in frost free gardens. Keep soil moist with good drainage. Any well prepared garden in sun to semi-shade will be suitable area to plant this bright blue specimen. Liquid feed every two weeks with Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food to keep the plant flowering.

page 22 | About the garden magazine



New South Wales Christmas Bush

(Ceratopetalum gummiferum) A lovely, small native tree or shrub (about 3-5m tall) which bears delicate white flowers in Spring, followed by bright, red bracts by Christmas time. Great grown in pots or as a cut flower. Plant in sun or part shade in moist, welldrained soil and prune hard after flowering for compact growth. Try the compact variety ‘Albery’s Red’ (pictured).

Mealy bugs distort new growth of leaves and flower buds on indoor plants, ornamentals, citrus and succulents. Treat with Searles Pest Gun Gun.

Azalea Lace Bug

Bindii the reason you can’t go barefoot on spring lawns. Rid your lawn from bindii by repeat spraying with Searles Lawn Perfect. Spray early at first sight.

Buffalo lawns rid

are sap suckers, responsible for the silvering of the leaves. Spray all over the tops and underneath the leaves with Searles Conguard, early.

common weeds such as bindii and catsear safely from Buffalo lawns including Sir Walter and Palmetto with Searles Buffalo Master. Not suitable on ST varieties.

Dear About the Garden, With pleasure I write to express how much I enjoyed reading the 2019 summer edition of ‘About the garden’ which I collected at Poppy’s Garden Centre, Gateshead. In particular I gathered a lot of inspiration from Kit Prendergast’s article on native bees. During the last year I have concentrated on attracting native bees to the gardens at Glenrock Scout Camp (not far from Poppy’s) that won me the title of the ABC 2018 Gardener of the Year. Thanks to Kit I am now much wiser about the plant species that attract native bees. My wife Pam is my gardening companion at home, caring for her succulents while I help our mixed nature and introduced plants.


Pam & John’s prize winning garden

Our Redhead front garden 2018. ‘Petunias, Patches of parsley for its nice green, California poppies that self-germinate each Spring, blue Salvia, Buxus hedge with Hebe behind it and a Qld Blue Couch lawn. Garden faces South and with the sea cliff 60 meters south of the road Nature’s southerly busters become a bit bossy. Our soil is sand and when we commenced our gardens in 1971, I had access to free bio-solids which help establish our side gardens using front-line coastal exposed site plants. Our Grevillea bailey and in the backyard is very showy with its scented white flowers. In spring we were gifted the sweet perfume from a 4m tall Native Frangipani on the opposite side of our protected backyard.’

Protect herbs, vegetables, trees and shrubs from possums, kangaroos, wallabies, rabbits, hares, bandicoots, deer, foxes and other wildlife. Protect vegetables, fruit trees, ornamentals, seedlings and buildings from cockatoos, crows, ducks, pigeons, rosellas, starlings, swallows, other birds, fruit bats and microbats. Protects homes, gardens, patios, shop fronts and paved areas from both dogs and cats or rats and mice.

Protects one plant or a whole area — perimeter &/or band sprays.

This small evergreen rainforest tree grows to around 5m on average but can be pruned. The big drawcard of this tree is its amazing highly scented white tubular flowers, which are borne directly off the stems and trunks of the tree, they smell like fruit salad, a mix of pineapple, coconut, banana and strawberry all rolled into one. The red seedpods that follow are only edible to birds. In cool climates it may be semi-deciduous. Position in full sun or semi-shade and water in times of drought.

is unique. Reject products said to be "just as good", nothing is at all "like it". For more specific information send 2 x $1 stamps, Please mention your problem, post to:

D-TER, Dept. A, PO Box 3, Oyster Bay, NSW 2225. Enquiries: Phone: (02) 9589 0703 Fax: (02) 9589 0147


Phaleria clerodendron ‘Native Daphne’

Repels — without harming animals or humans. Not considered a poison — no withholding period. Easy to use — spray on. Effective when dry. Safe, Proven and Effective. Available in 100g, 1Kg & 4Kg Sizes.

About the garden magazine | page 23

Rockhampton Gladstone


Hervey Bay Toowoomba Warwick


Grafton Port Macquarie

> Most flowering annuals can be planted now. Make them flourish and produce more blooms with Searles Flourish Flowers & Foliage Soluble Plant Food. > Sow warm season cucurbits such as pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini. Before planting, mix 5 IN 1® Organic Fertiliser through existing soil to enrich the soil with well composted manures and nutrients.

Ingredients 2 cups plain flour 2 tsp. salt 120g chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 700g tomatoes, sliced 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 cup firm cheese (cheddar, or Gouda), finely grated 1 large egg, beaten Sea salt & ground black pepper Balsa mic Vinegar 1 Tbsp. finely chopped chives Pulse flour and 1¼ tsp. salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few peasize pieces of butter remaining. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; drizzle with vinegar and ¼ cup ice water. Mix with a fork, adding more ice water by the tablespoonful as needed, just until a shaggy dough comes together. Turn out onto a work surface and lightly knead until no dry spots remain (be careful not to overwork). Pat into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours.

> Plant watermelon now for a harvest in time for Christmas. Their red and green colour scheme can be a wonderful finishing touch with other Christmas décor. To avoid a watery-tasting crop, minimise watering as fruit approaches maturity. > Keep checking your mulberry tree for ripening fruit and pick regularly when they do come. > Daylilies, agapanthus and hippeastrums are in flower now. Boost flower production by watering with Searles Liquid Potash every two weeks. > Lawns come alive in spring, especially after a bit of rain. Feed with Robust Lawn Booster for slow release continued feeding throughout the season. Bindii will be out in force. Repeat spray with Searles Lawn Perfect for couch lawns or Searles Buffalo Master for buffalo lawns. Repeat spray if necessary to hit the new weeds that have come out after your initial spray.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Gently toss tomatoes, garlic, and remaining salt in a large bowl. Let sit 5 minutes (tomatoes will start releasing some liquid). Drain tomato mixture and transfer to paper towels. Roll out dough on a lightly floured sheet of baking paper to a 35cm round about 3mm thick. Scatter cheese over dough, leaving a 4cm border. Arrange tomatoes and garlic over cheese. Bring edges of dough up and over filling, overlapping as needed to create about a 4cm border; brush dough with egg. Sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt and pepper. Chill in freezer 10 minutes. Bake galette, rotating once, until crust is golden brown and cooked through, 55– 65 minutes. Sprinkle with chives.

Plum Gorgeous is in full bloom now.

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Cairns Townsville Mt. Isa Longreach Carnarvon





> Great time to divide and replant or plant new edible ginger, turmeric and galangal. > Perfect time to plant pineapple heads now. Cut the tops off a pineapple, let it dry for a few days then plant straight into Searles Cymbidium & Bromeliad Mix. Pineapples require two summers before they will produce juicy fruit. > If you have a little room in your backyard, trying planting wet season crops such as pumpkin, zucchini and melons. Look out for powdery mildew and rust and act early. > Heliconias are flowering now. Mulching is very important to keep their soil moist during rapid growth. > Poinciana, Flame Tree, Acacias, Alloxylon flameum – Tree Waratah, Silver Trumpet Tree Tabebuia Argentea all come into full bloom in Spring. > Keep the water up to plants, leafy greens and vegetables especially. Spring can be a very dry season. > Fertilise fruit trees with Searles Fruit & Citrus Plant Food and water deeply. > Watch out for fruit fly on developing vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, mango and passionfruit. Hang Searles Fruit Fly traps to monitor and control activity.

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Spring 2020

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> Indian hawthorn, Pride of Madeira, wax flower, may bush, viburnums and many callistemons are creating a floral display during Spring. > Azaleas are in full bloom making a statement in many home gardens during Spring. Azalea petal blight is a common fungal problem effecting azalea flowers. Remove petals promptly and destroy. If severe, treat plant with Mancozeb Plus and avoid watering over plant foliage and flowers. To encourage more blooms liquid fertilise with Searles Flourish Azalea & Camellia Soluble Plant Food fortnightly. > Watch out for fruit fly on developing vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, mango and passionfruit. Hang Searles Fruit Fly traps to monitor and control activity. > Sap sucking aphids enjoy fast growing Spring growth and will quickly distort foliage and spread other diseases. Control with Searles Bug Beater on contact or for systemic control, spray with Searles Conguard. > For early summer crops, plant capsicum, chilli, eggplant, sweet corn and tomatoes as the frosts have passed and the temperatures warm up. Plant pumpkins throughout spring for crops in late Summer and Autumn. > Hibiscus love blooming in warmer weather. Visit your local gardening outlet to select this seasons flowering beauties.

> During Spring, ‘Eternal Fragrance’ produces tight clusters of classic white flowers at the tips of its deep green foliage. The display doesn’t end there however, with this variety continuing to spot flower repeatedly throughout the year. ‘Eternal Fragrance’ has an exquisite perfume and to top things off it is frost hardy, and both heat and dry tolerant. Also available in pink - ‘Spring pink eternal fragrance’. > Plant prunus, viburnum, may, plum, apricot, almonds, wintersweet, daphne, crabapple, waratahs and apple trees. They look stunning in a cool-climate Spring. > Stay on snail watch as they will take advantage of newly planted spring seedlings. Find some neighbouring chickens who will help you take care of the snails you collect. > Plant berry bushes. Blueberries are starting to appear on bushes. Liquid feed with Searles Flourish Azalea & Camellia Soluble Plant Food for more yummy berries. > Warmer weather vegetable plants such as tomato, basil, corn, zucchini, capsicum, pumpkin and watermelon can be planted late spring when the weather warms up. Dig into the existing soil 5 IN 1 Fertiliser to enrich the soil with heaps of well composted manures for excellent growth. To keep waratahs flowering happily through Spring, plant them in a sandy free draining soil in a sunny spot. Water well.



page 26 | About the garden magazine

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> Sow carrots seeds and plant seedlings into well composted soil now. Ensure the soil is friable and lump free. When sowing the seeds, be careful to sow the seeds about 5mm from the surface of the soil. > Invest in some more hardy Australian natives. Many are on show now such as grevilleas, flowering gums, hakeas and correas. Plant now to establish their roots before the hotter weather arrives. Plant them in a native low phosphorus mix such as Searles Native Plants Specialty Mix. > Watch out for aphids, leaf miners and leaf chewers on vegetables. Control if severe with Searles Ecofend Fruit & Garden spray. > Mulch garden beds and vegetable patches to keep roots protected in preparation for warmer months ahead. > Plant tomatoes now in a bed of well composted soil. Water tomatoes consistently throughout fruiting to avoid poor harvest, bugs and blossom end rot.



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> Western Australia carnival of flowers is here waiting for you. Take a hike and visit Western Australia’s roadsides and national parks to see our country’s spectacular wildflowers.

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> Fertilise roses, citrus and lawns with 5 IN 1® Pellets Organic Fertiliser for a spring boost right through to summer.

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Hervey Bay Toowoomba Warwick



> Many garden insect pests come into their active period in Spring. Be vigilant for aphids, leaf miners, and leaf chewing bugs. Watch out for aphids munching on new branches of roses and citrus. Spray with Searles Bug Beater. Mealy bugs love indoor plants and ornamentals, distorting new growth. Treat with Searles Pest Gun. > Mulch citrus trees and garden beds to help moisture retention in the soil and protect the plant roots from temperature fluctuations. > Time to plant vines such as watermelon, cucumber and rockmelon. Keep spreading mulch as the vines grow to protect fruit. > As the warm weather arrives so does the fruit fly. Monitor and protect vegetable patches, tomatoes, citrus and passionfruit vines from their sting by hanging fruit fly traps. > Establish some Australian natives, in particular, our best flowering species the grevillea and flowering gums. Depending on your garden type and use, there is one to suit your needs. Visit your local gardening outlets for the latest in breeding cultivars and the best natives to suit your area. > Plant petunia, vinca, cosmos, marigold, salvia, portulaca, nasturtium and zinnia early spring for longer flowering time.

Callistemons love the Spring weather. Plant in a native specific soil mix.

Plant coriander, sage, oregano and basil for a ready supply of kitchen culinary flavours.

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Instant nutrition and trace elements for optimal growth Maximised fertiliser content & enhanced water use efficiency

Sublime texture for root enhancement

Ask for Searles quality garden products at your nearest gardening outlet. Ph: 07 5422 3000 www.searlesgardening.com.au