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Your local gardening advice for Australian gardens


2021 | ISSUE 99


The Serenity Prayer

Summer 2021


Issue 99

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

At your local - In season plants - Flowers - Natives Lilly pillies Summer harvest

6 7 8 10

On the table - recipes Bun Cha Som Tum

14 15

Water wise - summer Why mulch? Good bugs - aphid midge Latin Names - leaves

16 16 17 17

Aussie Winners - Managing Director: Conway Searle Contributors: Ashley Searle, Jillian Coomb. 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

About Summer - Edibles - corn, avocadoes

- Flowers - rose summer care

- Dirt Doctor - Tips for using spray bottles

- Climatic zones

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.

Natives p7

19 20 20

Lilly pillies p8

Front cover image: Gaura ‘LillipopTM Soda Pop’

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 2021 About the Garden Pty. Ltd.

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Salvia Mirage series Salvia Mirage flowers readily with large flowers during late summer right through to autumn. Foliage is lightly scented. Plant in a sunny, warm position as salvia loves the heat. Perfect for informal hedges, garden beds and containers where birds and butterflies can enjoy their flowers.


35cmH 40cmW

Nine intense colours available from two reliable brands at all good garden centres.


40cmH 30cmW

Gaura ‘Lillipop Soda Pop’ - Gauras are a true winner for any sunny garden or pot and will compliment many popular Australian garden styles across most climatic zones. Once established they are drought tolerant and keep flowering from late spring through to autumn with an abundance of white flowers. An easy care plant, that requires a trim at end of flowering and will keep creating a magnificent display year after year.

These creamy white, deliciously fragrant flowers are everpopular, appearing freely both in mid spring and autumn. Many new forms are available including double, semidouble, single, golden-flowered and ground cover varieties, all carrying that alluring fragrance which beckons admirers. All gardenias are acid-loving plants, requiring a soil pH of around 6 to 5.5. Plant in a mix specifically designed for gardenias. Gardenias are susceptible to mineral deficiencies. Searles Flourish Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Soluble Plant Food applied every fortnight will usually prevent such problems and maintain general vigour.

classic white & fragrant ‘Florida’ grows sun. 1m tall in full

Plant in nutrient rich and free draining soil, mulch and water regularly until established. Prune back if looking shabby to encourage more flowering. FRAGRANT

page 04 | About the garden magazine

‘Stella Rouge’ close up

‘Stella Tangerine’ Lovely dwarf size daylily with flowers sitting proud of the foliage are ideal to splash colour around cottage style gardens, pots, containers and borders. This evergreen variety is a fast growing plant that has a quick impact for garden colour and is great for ground cover. Planted in the ground in small clusters, or en-masse as wide drifts, this Daylily deserves a spot in any garden. Repeat flowering with a spring and autumn peak. Plant in well composted soil and water especially during summer for best results. A light tip-prune after flowering will keep the plant neat and tidy and encourage good flowering the following season. Harmful if eaten.

‘Stella Rouge’

‘Stella Citron’

Images & information courtesy of Plants Management Australia

Choose from three vibrant colours of ‘Stella Citron’ (yellow), ‘Stella Rouge’ (fiery red) and ‘Stella Tangerine’ (peach-like).

About the garden magazine | page 05


70cmH 60cmW

‘Lavender Cupcake’

‘Magenta Munchkin’


Buddleja Humdinger - ‘Magenta Munchkin’ and ‘Lavender Cupcake’ are the latest additions to the Buddleja range. They are more compact as well as being heavy flowering shrubs. Flowers are large which FULL SUN attract bees, butterflies and honeyeater birds. Growing from 60cm to 1m they form into easily maintained plants for gardens and large plant containers.

Image -

Carex ‘Feather Falls’ is a highly decorative Carex with outstanding garden and pot performance. The long clean and crisp foliage will reward you with a year round maintenance free plant. A highlight of this new variety is its beautiful plumes of feathery flower stems that emerge from the centre of the fresh new variegated foliage during the spring months. Image & information courtesy of Plants Management Australia

Bracteantha ‘Sundaze Golden’

Brachyscome ‘Pacific Reef’



4-6mH 3-4mW

The large showy yellow-green flower heads of Summer Scentsation produce a spectacular summer display across the Christmas to early autumn period, and the attractive perfume adds a heady touch to the festive season. The shiny grey-green leaves are a bright contrast to darker foliage even when not in flower, and the clean trunk supports this small tree. So important is Summer Scentsation as a food source for a wide range of small birds that it should be at the top of your garden planning list, whether you live near the seaside or in drier inland climates. The flowers last for a long time in a vase, but keep your windows shut as the birds may feel that they’re being deprived of lunch.

Callistemon Summer Days with its arching habit and dark wine-red brushes which are held out on the ends of the branches, will appeal to the honeyeaters. Flowering time is generally much later than most Callistemons, right into summer, and thereby extending the mutually beneficial pollination-by-birds.


1mH 1.5mW

Adaptable to very wet or moderately dry soils, in cold to sub-tropical climates, it’s frost hardy, likes full sun, suits a coastal garden and works well in any mixed shrubbery of one to two metres in height. A foliage trim after flowering will double the display each year, and heavier clipping produces a very nice hedge.

Grevillea ‘Dorothy Gordon’ - The honey filled flowers of this Australian native are bird SIZE 3mH and insect attracting. Along with the 2mW unique flower colour, Dorothy Gordon, has nice habit and form for use in most garden situations. The flowers keep well in floral arrangements. 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.

Native daisies are equally at home in cottage-style gardens as they are in native gardens. They can be more in harmony with the natural environment than other plants and of course, they’re also adorable! Here’s how to grow native daisies for summer colour... Bracteantha (Bracteantha bracteata)

Also called everlasting daisies, bracteanthas are famous for their dry, crackly petals that do not wilt with water loss or as the flowers die.

Brachyscome daisy (Brachyscome multifida)

Tiny, daisy shaped flowers and feathery foliage are key traits of this deceptively hardy native perennial. Flowering from late winter until early autumn and growing about 60cm wide and 40cm high, this sprawling ground cover is great in rockeries and useful for smothering weeds and softening borders. Both brachyscome daisies and bracteanthas can be grown in much the same way as other daisies. Both require little attention once established. They don’t mind being given a complete fertiliser such as Searles Native Plant Food applied at the recommended rate. To grow them in your garden, native daisies need a sunny position and preferably a well drained soil, rich in organic matter. For best results, dig in Searles Premium Compost to improve the structure of the soil before planting. About the garden magazine | page 07

Syzygium ‘Resilience’

The lilly pilly is an evergreen rainforest plant that has it all: beautiful flowers, attractive, edible fruit, glossy leaves with colourful new growth and the ability to attract native fauna. They’re also easy to grow and are suited to most Australian soils, so why not plant one this summer? Lilly pilly are easy to establish, will grow in sun or shade and are not fussy about soil. Lilly pilly is the common name for a group of Australian native rainforest plants which range in size from small, compact shrubs no more than a metre in height, to giant, rainforest emergents exceeding heights of 45 metres. Related to eucalyptus and including around 1100 different species, lilly pillies are now categorised under four separate genus names: eugenia, syzygium, acmena and waterhousia. Whatever the name, lilly pillies are best known for their distinctive, berry-like fruit, some varieties of which are pleasanttasting enough to be eaten straight off the tree, others make a refreshing cordial or conserve.

Powderpuff lilly pilly blossoms. (Syzygium wilsonii)

Choosing a variety

Given the size variation in lilly pilly species, it’s important to select a plant that won’t outgrow your garden, especially if space is limited. Garden centres will usually stock only varieties suited to most home gardens and offer a wide range of very compact varieties, but always ask if you’re not Syzygium ‘Cascade’ sure. If you want the plants to imitate the look of English box in blossoms. hedging or topiary, or are after a very formal look, it may be worth selecting varieties that are especially resistant to psyllid attack (see ‘Pests and diseases’) such as Acmena smithii and Syzygium luehmannii dwarf or the Acmena ‘Allyn Magic’ and ‘Minnie Magic’. Information about fruit, flower and new growth colour can usually be found on the label.


Acmena ‘Cherry Surprise’

While lilly pillies are not fussy plants, taking the extra time to properly prepare the soil before planting can help reduce your lilly pilly’s watering needs in its early years. Like most other natives, lily pillies prefer a free draining, low phosphorus soil. At planting time, dig a hole about the same depth and at least three times the width of the pot the lilly pilly came in, fill the hole with Searles Native Plant Specialty Mix and mix into existing soil. If your soil is very heavy clay or sandy, Searles Native Plant Specialty Mix is ideal to aid better drainage and add nutrients back into the soil. Finally, water it well and add a generous layer of mulch to insulate.

page 08 | About the garden magazine

The fruit of the small leaved lilly pilly or ‘riberry’ (Syzygium luehmannii) is known for its flavoursome berries.

Syzygium ‘Resilience’ Syzygium ‘Cascade’ Syzygium luehmannii Syzygium ‘Big Red’ Syzygium wilsonii Syzygium floribundum* Acmena ‘Allyn Magic’ Acmena ‘Minnie Magic’ Acmena ‘Cherry Surprise’

white flowers, psyllid resistant pink flowers, 2.5m good screen, pink/red new foliage small leaves, taller growing bright crimson new foliage, white flowers, susceptible to psyllids red flower, loves the shade, very slow growing weeping habit, 10-30 metres high, white flowers in summer psyllid resistant, small, good colour in new growth dwarf and variegated lovely fiery red new growth

*Syzygium floribundum was previously classified as Waterhousea floribunda, common name weeping lilly pilly. A lot of these have name changes regularly between Syzygium and Acmena.

Syzygium ‘Big Red’

Weeping lilly pilly (Syzygium floribundum)

Acmena ‘Allyn Magic’

Image & information courtesy of Plants Management Australia

Watering/ Mulching

Young lilly pillies will grow and establish more quickly if they are kept moist. Water every day for the first two weeks after planting and continue to water a new lilly pilly occasionally for the first few years of its life. To test for dryness, push your finger through the mulch and a couple of centimetres into the soil. The soil should be moist but not wet. Established lilly pillies should not need too much watering, though an overly dry lilly pilly will shed it’s inner leaves. Maintaining a layer of mulch about 5cm thick will keep the roots cool during hot weather and limit the need for watering. Reapply it every 6 months, depending on the material.

Pests and diseases

Many young lilly pillies are affected by an insect called a psyllid. This is a tiny, native, cicada-like insect whose young suck sap from the foliage (usually the new growth), causing a scar that resembles a tiny pimple on the leaf. Some gardeners consider this unsightly, but it does not seriously harm the plant and usually disappears as plants mature. Excessive psyllid activity can be a sign of plant stress, usually from lack of water. Affected foliage can be removed and spraying with Searles Conguard can prevent further psyllid damage.

psyllid scarring


For healthy growth, young lilly pillies will benefit from a dose of Searles Native Plant Food every three months during the growing season. About the garden magazine | page 09

Ginger can be grown in compost enriched garden beds or in large containers filled with Searles Premium Potting Mix. Plant rhizomes about 2cm beneath the surface of the soil. Make sure the growing buds or ‘eyes’ are pointed upward before covering them over with soil. Ginger likes warm weather, humidity, rich, moist soil and plenty of water, especially during summer. In the tropics, it usually needs a shade position, but in cooler areas, light shade is usually best. Keep ginger away from winds and frost. Shoots should break through the soil surface about a month after planting. Allow at least another 5–6 months before harvest. As winter approaches, the leaves will begin to die down. In frost prone areas, the roots should be dug up and dried out a little in the sun to help preserve them. Put aside as much as you want for your own use and store the rest over winter in a dark, dry place. Replant it in spring. In tropical and subtropical zones, ginger can be left in the ground throughout the year. Ginger grown in pots should also be divided or harvested when the pot is full, normally 8–12 months after planting. To harvest, trim off any leaf stalks and either tip out the whole contents of the pot or dig them out with your hands. page 10 | About the garden magazine

Plant capsicums in the sunniest part of your vegie patch or into large pots, but never let them dry out. In pots, use Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix; in the garden, dig in plenty of 5IN1 Organic Fertiliser before planting. Give the bed a long, deep watering before planting and make sure seedlings are kept moist and have plenty of space to grow. If growing tall varieties, erect a stake and tie each plant onto the stake as it grows. Keep plants well mulched and well-weeded. Feed fortnightly with SeaMax Fish & Kelp Organic Fertiliser up until fruit set. (Plants grown in pots should be fed weekly). Capsicums are a perennial in frost-free climates and will start bearing bigger fruit in their second year. When fruiting has finished in late autumn, cut them back and they’ll reshoot the following spring. Don’t prune them during summer as this can expose the fruit to sunburn. Hide fruit among the foliage on very hot days to protect them. Few pests and diseases affect capsicum. If fruit fly becomes a problem, remove affected fruit, install Searles Fruit Fly Traps and harvest fruit as soon as it is ripe enough to eat. Crop rotation can minimise soil-borne diseases like spotted wilt and powdery mildew.

Sweet corn can be planted from late spring until early autumn throughout Australia and all year round in the tropics. Sweet corn can be purchased as seed or seedlings. It is important to bear in mind that only one variety of corn should be cultivated in the garden at any one time as cross-pollination can adversely affect the quality of your crop. Pumpkins are so easy to grow that they have been known to spring up out of the compost heap or self-seed in worm farms, and will grow just about anywhere there is space for them to spread out. The most popular types of pumpkin are available as seeds or seedlings. Pumpkin can be planted in most parts of Australia during the summer. In the tropics, some varieties will be more suitable than others so check with your garden centre for varieties most suited to your area. For best fruiting, plant pumpkin in full sun or part shade. Because pumpkins spread over a far greater area (3m x 3m) than their root zone, there is no need to dig over an entire garden bed; simply cultivate a small pocket of soil for each plant, about 30cm wide x 30cm deep and plant into that according to the instructions on the seed packet or punnet. If you have limited space, pumpkin vines can be pruned to a more compact size. If this is done before flowering, it will cause the plant to grow more densely, producing a greater number of stems in a smaller space without significantly reducing the yield. Pumpkin vines grow rapidly and require ample water to reach their full potential, so keep them well mulched and water them as required during dry weather. For best results, sprinkle Searles Penetraide over the soil after planting to ensure deep water penetration and water in well. Continue to lay mulch under the vine as it grows. This will inhibit fungal diseases by preventing the stems and developing fruit coming in direct contact with the soil. Excessive humidity can cause outbreaks of fungal diseases like rust and powdery mildew on pumpkins. This can be curtailed by growing vines in full sun and watering only in the mornings. A fortnightly application of SeaMax® Liquid Seaweed can also improve the plant’s resistance to such ailments. Existing cases of fungal disease can be controlled with Searles Wettable Sulphur or Searles Mancozeb Plus. Pumpkins are pollinated by bees, so it is very important not to use insecticides around them. Harvest when the vine has withered and the stalks have turned brown and dry. Always take at least 4cm of the stem away with the fruit when picking. This will preserve the fruit for longer by preventing air and moisture from reaching the flesh. Store pumpkins in a cool, airy position.

They need deep, rich soil, and a sunny position in a wind-protected area. Dig in 5IN1 Organic Fertiliser into your soil before planting to promote lush growth. Sweet corn pollinate themselves more effectively if grown in blocks rather than in rows of plants. Always plant seed to the depth and spacing recommended on the packet. Keep moist and well-mulched. Sweet corn demand a lot of water. However, it is important to keep the cobs dry as they mature, so water only the roots and avoid watering the foliage and developing cobs. As the tall stems develop they often produce roots above the ground. Build a layer of mulch up around these to prevent them from drying out. Spray for aphids, borers and caterpillars of the corn earworms in the tops of the cobs with Searles Bug Beater if the infestation is bad. Protect developing corn from birds. Harvest corn when the silk tassels which hang from the top of each cob turn dark brown. To test whether the corn is ripe enough to eat, peel back a small section of the papery casing and break open a kernel with your fingernail. If the liquid that comes out is milky it can be harvested immediately.

Cucumbers are an abundant producer and are quick and easy to grow. There are many varieties of cucumber but all are annual vines with similar growing requirements to the cucurbit family, such as pumpkins. Cucumbers need a warm, sunny position, a well-drained, loamy soil and space to ramble. Cucumbers can be planted just about anywhere in Australia during the summer. Plant more plants every two months to ensure a constant supply of fruit. Water well after sowing, then mulch. About the garden magazine | page 11

Kaffir lime leaves

Pawpaw trees can be male, female or bisexual (meaning they produce flowers which have both male and female functioning parts). It’s important to be aware of this as male specimens won’t bear fruit and female trees will need a male tree somewhere nearby for fertilisation before they can set fruit. Bisexual varieties, which are now readily available in garden centres, are self-pollinating which can make them an easier option. Pawpaws grow best in soils rich in organic matter, but good drainage is important to prevent root rot. Two weeks before planting, mix plenty of 5IN1 Organic Fertiliser into the soil. Pawpaws don’t like very acid soils. Pawpaws are prolific fruiters in warm climates. Plant them in a warm, sunny position and keep them well protected from frost. When planting, allow enough space between the trees to encourage air flow which will reduce mildew attack and allow pollinating insects to roam freely around them. Mulch & water well after planting. Pawpaws are heavy feeders, so for best fruit production apply 5IN1 Fruit & Flower Organic Fertiliser throughout the growing season. Water requirements depend on the weather, but watering pawpaws once weekly throughout the growing season or twice weekly during drier weather is a good guide. Some trees can take up to 12 months before they start bearing fruit. Harvest the fruit just before it ripens so pick it when it’s about two-thirds golden in colour and allow it to finish ripening indoors. In the tropics, fruits will grow all year round. In the subtropics, fruiting will usually cease during the winter months. Control broad mites with a sulphur spray. Keep an eye out for aphids and caterpillars. Monitor and control fruit fly by hanging Searles Fruit Fly Traps around the trees. To reduce fruit rot and fungal problems, pick the fruit early and ripen it indoors, as described earlier. In humid weather watch for mildew, which can be discouraged with good airflow around the plants and can be controlled with Searles Mancozeb Plus. page 12 | About the garden magazine

Asian cuisine encompasses the refreshing and often pungent flavours of Burmese, Vietnamese, Lao, Cambodian, Indonesian and Thai cooking. Dishes are mostly an amalgamation of four contrasting flavours — hot, sour, sweet and salty and herbs and spices play an important role in this fusion. Here are some commonly used herbs of South-East Asia.

Vietnamese mint

Vietnamese mint is a pungent herb also known as polygonum, hot mint, laksa leaf or Vietnamese coriander. Traditionally, it is commonly served with noodle soups. Vietnamese mint is readily available in garden centres. It is a prolific grower and performs best in semi-shaded position. Water well.

Lemon basil

Lemon basil gives a great lift to salads and stir fries. Plant in a sunny position and water it regularly. Harvest leaves regularly to promote more leaves and pick off flower and seed heads to keep plants compact. Beware of frosts.


Chillies are really just tiny capsicums — with a much hotter taste! They grow in sun or part shade and are tolerant of a range of soil types. They also grow well in pots. Keep them moist and lightly mulched. Chillies come in a range of different ‘temperatures’ and also a range of colours. Regular harvest promotes further fruit development. Chillies won’t ripen off the bush.


Lemongrass is delicious in cooling summer drinks like fruity iced teas. Lemongrass is rich in vitamin A and is an essential ingredient in many Thai dishes like curries, soups and fish dishes. Its 1.5 metre tall, grassy clumps will grow in pots or garden beds. In stir fries or curries, only the soft, inner stem is used — give it a whack with the back of a knife to release its flavours before using it. Grow lemongrass in a full sun, frost free position with plenty of moisture for a better flavour. In cooler climates, they can be grown in pots and brought inside, positioned in direct sunlight during the cooler months.


Sometimes called ‘cilantro’, coriander is used abundantly in South-East Asian cooking. Its flavour provides a ‘freshness’ to dishes. Coriander prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position with protection from frosts and should be watered

regularly. A cool-season crop, much care must be taken to keep removing its flowers during the summer or it will quickly bolt to seed.

Thai basil

Plant the beautiful and delicious Thai basil year-round in frost-free zones. It has a subtle ‘licorice’ flavour which is delicious in Thai dishes, but also Middle Eastern-style dishes. An annual like other basils, give it 4–5 hours of sun per day and harvest its flowers to prolong its life. Unlike other basils, its flavour is not sensitive to cooking times.

Kaffir lime

This is a citrus tree whose leaves are used like a herb and give an authentic shot of flavour to Thai dishes. They’re also an essential ingredient in green curries, many fish dishes and soups. Care for kaffir lime trees as you would any other citrus, although they seem to be more shade tolerant than other citrus. The leaves have a unmistakable, ‘double leaf’ appearance. Kaffir lime fruit is tiny, with dry, pulpy flesh.


In the garden, ginger is an attractive understorey plant. It grows best in light shade in a moist, well-drained soil. The rhizomes beneath the soil can be harvested as needed — cut off as much as you need with a sharp knife to avoid damaging the rest of the plant. Alternatively, the whole plant can be dug up and the rhizomes stored in the freezer for up to a year.

Curry leaves

When the leaves are bruised, curry leaves emit a mild spicy aroma and flavour, ideal for indian and asian cuisine. Leaves can be used as a whole in cooking and removed before serving, or finely chopped or minced for use in pastes, powder and marinades. Whole leaves are excellent to flavour rice. The curry plant likes a fertile, free draining soil, mixed with plenty of compost. Plant in a full sun position, protected from frosts. They are slow growing so container planting is suitable.

Protect herbs, vegetables, trees and shrubs from possums, kangaroos, wallabies, rabbits, hares, bandicoots, deer, foxes and other wildlife.

Plant basil in a sheltered position and keep it wellwatered in the heat of summer. Pruning (or regular harvest) can keep the plants compact and also extend their productive life. Unlike most herbs, its flavour increases with cooking.


Hardy in garden beds or in pots, plant chives in full sun but don’t let them dry out. If the weeding gets away from you, chives can be distinguished from surrounding grass by its hollow stems and pungent aroma. Remove flowers to promote a long life.


Mint is easy to grow and can actually become a little invasive if allowed to escape from its pot. It grows in either full sun or shade and likes a well-drained soil. Keep it moist for best results and remove flowers for a longer productive season. Look out for peppermint, spearmint, pineapple mint or chocolate mint.

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. 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.

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:

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Protect vegetables, fruit trees, ornamentals, seedlings and buildings from cockatoos, crows, ducks, pigeons, rosellas, starlings, swallows, other birds, fruit bats and microbats.

About the garden magazine | page 13

simple recipes made from garden kitchen produce

For more tasty recipes from the garden, visit

page 14 | About the garden magazine

Caramelised pork meatballs and noodle salad, traditional Vietnamese cuisine from the streets of Hanoi.

Meatballs: 300g pork mince or chicken mince 1 tbsp fish sauce 2 tsp white sugar 1/3 cup finely chopped green onion 1 clove garlic, minced Pinch of white pepper and salt Vietnamese Dressing: Nuoc Cham 3 tbsp white sugar 3 tbsp fish sauce 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar 2 tbsp lime juice 1/3 cup (85 ml) water 1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped Serving: 100g vermicelli noodles, dried A handful bean sprouts Few lettuce leaves, shredded Julienned carrot Handful of coriander & mint Sliced red chilli, lime wedges (optional)

Famous Thai green papaya salad

5 cherry tomatoes, halved 2 chillies, finely sliced 1 tablespoon dried shrimp* 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce* 1 clove garlic 2 cups shredded green papaya (can be purchased at Asian supermarkets pre shredded) 1 lime, juiced 1 1/2 tablespoons palm sugar 2 tablespoons toasted peanuts, optional *For vegetarians: omit dried shrimp and substitute fish sauce for soy sauce.

About the garden magazine | page 15

water crystals re-wetting granules

Put simply, re-wetting granules aid water penetrating into the soil, water crystals act like water reservoirs in the soil for when the plants need the water.

provide optimal moisture handling for improved plant health. This product also contains a 12 months controlled release fertiliser.

Re-wetting granules

Sprinkle them over the top of soil around your pot plants, garden beds, shrubs, fruit trees, lawns and water will penetrate and be absorbed for months, even after a complete dry out.

Re-wetting granules are ideal to add to dry, harden soil in gardens and potting mixes. Water repellent soil is a common problem. Inconsistent watering and poor nutrient soils can compact and harden over time, causing the soil to become water repellent. This can be a problem as the applied water does not always reach the plant roots where it is needed, instead it runs off the soil and the plants may wilt and sometimes die. Use Searles Advanced Penetraide Re-Wetting Granules to prevent and correct water repellent soils improving water & nutrient delivery to plant roots and

Water crystals

Think of water crystals as tiny water reservoirs. Each crystal is super absorbent, capable of holding up to 400 times its own weight with water. When the plant needs water, the roots penetrate the expanded crystal and extract the moisture it requires. Water crystals are best mixed throughout the soil before planting. They are of no use sitting on top of the soil.

Benefits of mulching • • • •

Protect the soil from extremes of weather conditions Weed suppression Soil retains moisture, doesn’t evaporate as quickly Aesthetic – design features

Which mulch types are best to use

Mulches are usually made from organic materials which are either degradable or non-degradable. A degradable mulch is made from compostable materials like straw, cane sugar, barks, or other composted organic matter. These materials break down after time and provide the soil with extra nutrients to aid plant health and growth. Wood chips such as pine bark and cypress mulch are larger in size and are ideal to let the water penetrate through to the soil underneath. They also take longer to break down and generally are easier to spread due to their lightweight properties. Nondegradable mulches are generally made up of rock and pebbles. Popular rocks used are, river stones,white quartz, gravel and scoria. In a gardening sense, they don’t breakdown and as such, are more suitable for front entrance page 16 | About the garden magazine

gardens, small gardens around patios and pot plants, to add some design highlights.

How thick do I mulch?

It depends on the material used. If you are using mulch in packaging, good suppliers will state on the back of the packaging the rate of application. Applying the mulch at the optimum rate will save you money, time, protect and water your plants effectively. Mulch that is applied too thickly will act as a water barrier, water will soak into the mulch and not reach the soil and roots. Importantly, keep the mulch away from the base of the plant. Thick mulch up against the plant stem can lead to root rot.

Mulch, not to use?

Lawn clippings are unpredictable. They can contain grass seed heads and weed seeds. Don’t risk it.

Fertilise, before mulching

Use a slow release fertiliser, such as Recharge Pots & Gardens and water into the soil before applying the mulch.

Aphid midge adult

Aphid midge larvae feeding on green aphids The adult Aphid Midge or Aphidoletes aphidimyza, is one of the good guys in the garden, though its name makes you want to scratch. They look very much like tiny flies with long, slender legs, often standing with their antenna facing backward over their head. Hiding under leaves through the day, they emerge at night to reproduce. The female aphid midge can lay over a hundred eggs at a time, and these shiny orange eggs are carefully laid amongst a colony of aphids, so there is a sufficient food supply for her young. To make sure they get the most from the aphid colonies, the adult aphid midge feeds on the honeydew that the aphids produce and supplement their food supply with the nectar and pollen from plants. The adults only live for a few weeks but can lay a few clutches of eggs throughout the garden.

content out of the aphid, before moving on to the next aphid. They can devour over fifty a day during their short life stage as a larva. In under a week, they are at full size and sated and drop to the ground where they burrow into the soil to pupate into their next life stage. Just over a week later, they emerge as adults and the cycle starts all over again.

The larvae hatch in a few days and immediately start to feast on the aphids. They inject a paralysing toxin into the leg joints of the aphid and then proceed to suck the body

When you see a gathering of aphids use a magnifying glass and hopefully you will see our small heroes hard at work for us.

lanceolata refers to lance shaped leaves latifolia refers to wide leaves longifolia refers to long leaves macrophylla refers to large leaves microphylla refers to small leaves ovalifolia refers to oval leaves parvifolia refers to small leaves quercifolia refers to oak shaped leaves rotundifolia refers to round shaped leaves tenuifolia refers to slender leaves tomentosa refers to woolly trifoliata refers to three lobed leaves villosa refers to a hairy leaves viscosa refers to tacky leaves

These glutinous little larvae can eat more aphids than their better-known counterparts of Lady Beetle Larva and are not fussy about which aphids they devour. Over 70 different species of aphid are on their menu, and so are commercially grown as predatory insects for the horticultural industry.

Hovea lanceolata, Lance Leaf Hovea Brunsfelsia latifolia Ficus longifolia Hydrangea macophylla Buxus microphylla Prostanthea ovalifolia Myroporum parvifolia Hydrangea quercifolia, Oak Leaf hydrangea Peperomia rotundifolia Zoysia tenufolia Kalanchoe tomentosa Citrus trifoliate Pultenea villosa Hovea viscosa, Sticky Hop Bush


summer planting and care guide

Sweet corn can be planted from late spring until early autumn throughout Australia and all year round in the tropics. Plant one variety of corn. Plant in blocks of a dozen or more plants, grown at three-monthly intervals for a continual supply.

> Time to plant pumpkin, rockmelon, capsicum, chillis, cucumber, watermelon, eggplant, summer squash and sweet corn.

> Harvest macadamias from the ground. Store them in a dark, dry place to prolong their sweetness. > It is mango harvesting season. Protect mangoes from birds by picking fruit slightly early or netting fruit. Watch for anthracnose on mango leaves and developing fruit. Spray with Searles Mancozeb to stop the fungal disease from spreading. > If growing tomatoes, keep your watering regime consistent and regular to avoid blossom-end rot. This disease is caused by insufficient calcium supply however, the most common cause is from irregular or insufficient water during the critical growing period of the young fruit. Even when calcium is in sufficient supply, a plant receiving insufficient or irregular water will have difficulty absorbing and delivering calcium to the fruit.

Avocadoes can be planted in summer, some are fruiting now. There are several varieties of avocadoes available to home growers, including Hass, Fuerte, Wurtz, Sharwil and Hazzard. Give trees full sun and shelter from frost and strong winds. Although they like extra water during dry periods, they hate boggy conditions, so good drainage is essential. Soil should be sandy and well composted to ensure good drainage. Avocados grow well on sloping ground, where water does not settle around the roots. > Grow heat loving herbs and pick regularly for better taste. Plant chives, lemon thyme, lemon myrtle, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, chilli, coriander, kaffir lime, mint and ginger in warm and sunny parts of the garden. > Pumpkin and watermelon grow well during summer in most Australian climates. Plant in full sun and give them plenty of room to spread their vines. Dig in plenty of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser before planting and mulch under vine leaves as they grow. Provide ample water during fruit development to create a tasty harvest. > During the warmer weather leafy greens will turn bitter quickly if not watered daily. Provide a shade for them until the hot days have passed. Harvest young before they start to head. > Those fruit destroying fruit flies are at their peak during the warmer months. Hang Searles Fruit Fly traps around the perimeter and at the centre of your veggie patch or orchard to monitor activity and stop their breeding cycle. > Keep water up to fruit trees as they are starting to develop flowers and fruit. Add some Searles Fruit & Citrus Plant Food for these hungry feeders.

Plant sunflower seeds now

Your rose bushes need special attention at this time of the year when the heat of summer puts them under a good deal of stress. > Sow summer loving beauties like ageratum, alyssum, amaranthus, asters, Californian poppies, cleomes, cosmos, dahlias, dianthus, gerberas, gomphrena, Iceland poppies, impatiens, marigolds, nasturtiums, petunias, phlox, primulas, stocks, salvias, sunflowers, verbena and zinnias. > Climbers are wonderful space-savers and not all of them are rampant. Allamandas (yellow, dusky pink, purple and maroon), dipladenias and mandevillas (both pink, white or cerise) can all be kept within manageable proportions. But if you have got the space for something bigger, nothing beats bougainvilleas for brilliance. Again, it’s the bracts which are the focal point and these appear for most of the year in every colour except blue.

These new form flowering aloes have been bred for their flowering ability during summer and impervious to the heat.

> Fertilise gardenias, hydrangeas, magnolias and all acid loving summer flowering plants with Searles Azalea & Camellia Soluble Plant Food to promote flowering.

> NSW Christmas bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) and New Zealand Christmas bush (Metrosideros sp.) are two hardy, summer flowering bushes, both with pretty red flowers peaking around Christmas. Poinciana (Deloniz regia), golden shower (Cassia fistula), and leopard tree (Caesalpinia ferrea) are on show during summer.

> Drought busting bloomers for summer colour are dianthus, lobelia, strawflowers, marguerite daisy, butterfly bush (buddleja), geraniums and salvias (Heatwave series). > Plant summer flowering plants for colour - agapanthus, frangipani, geraniums, hydrangeas, hibiscus, petunias, mandevillas, crepe myrtles, salvias, zinnias, bacopa, New Guinea impatiens, dahlia and osteospermum. > Summer flowering native trees, such as water gum (Tristaniopsis laurina) and the red flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia), have wonderful summer flowers and make great shade for small gardens. Other summer stunners are the crepe myrtle, pompom tree (Dais cotinifolia) with its scented, mauve-pink pompom flower heads and the persimmon tree makes a lovely floral display in summer before the autumn harvest. > Hibiscus flowers are on full display this season. Keep feeding the procession of blooms by fertilising with Searles Hibiscus & Bougainvillea Food at the start of the season.

Maintaining moisture at root level is also necessary and a deep watering at least weekly should be undertaken. More often if planted in pots. Mulching of beds will also assist in keeping the dampness of soil at the proper level. It is important to maintain a regular spraying programme for black spot because the more foliage retained on the plant the better it is able to cope with those hot days. Searles Rose Pro spray will treat black spot as well as aphids and thrips, both of which plague roses in warmer weather. White scale may appear on some bushes. This debilitating condition usually attacks the older wood so if the main part of the plant has lost its lush green colour and is not producing buds it might be time to prune the stem off at the base. The rest of the bush’s stems and lower ‘bud’ area should be sprayed each month with Searles Pest Gun which is a white oil spray. This will suffocate the scale and while the bush will take on an even whiter appearance for a time, it should make a complete recovery. Do not use if shade temperatures exceed 32˚C. Its important to apply fertiliser regularly to keep flowering strong. Apply Searles Rose & Flower Plant Food every season and liquid feed fortnightly with Searles Flourish Flower & Foliage Soluble Plant Food. Each week, the blooms which are not picked should be dead-headed by removing the spent flowers and then pruning the bush back to an outside bud. On mature bushes it should be possible to prune to where the stem is about the thickness of a standard pencil, but you should go more lightly on younger bushes which are still developing. Don’t prune heavily during the heat of February, as this will put the bushes under unnecessary stress.

Rockhampton Gladstone


Hervey Bay Toowoomba Warwick


Grafton Port Macquarie

by climatic zone

> Plant warm season cucurbits such as pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber, summer squash and other vegetables artichoke, beans, capsicum, celery, Chinese cabbage, eggplant, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, okra, onion, potato (tubers), radish, rhubarb (crowns), rosella, silver beet, spring onion, squash, sweet corn, sweet potato and tomato. For herb gardens, plant basil, chives, coriander, fennel, gotu kola, heliotrope, lemongrass, mint, parsley and tarragon. > Sow ageratum, aster, balsam, celosia, cockscomb, coleus, gomphrena, impatiens, marigold, salvia, sunflower, torenia, vinca and zinnia. > Portulacas will power on through the most relentless of summer heat or drought, and come in a range of striking colours. This spreading succulent annual loves full sun and any well-drained soil, including poor and sandy soils. Give them a prune if they become leggy. > Poincianas, crepe myrtles, lemon scented myrtle, bougainvilleas, frangipani, ornamental gingers, clivias, bird of paradise and buddlejas all flower in summer.

A great way to stop chemical contamination of your spray bottles is to use separate bottles for herbicides (for controlling weeds) and insecticides (controlling insects). A third bottle would be ideal for any organic based sprays. Label each spray bottle with what chemical its used for. After each spray use, thoroughly clean and rinse the bottle and nozzle with clean water, ensuring water is pumped through the nozzle. Store sprayers away from sunlight to prolong bottle integrity.

> For a smallish shrub of fairly delicate habit, hibiscus sure can produce the most enormous, flamboyant flowers. They are tough too. Monitor your hibiscus for hibiscus flower beetle. This pest attacks flower buds causing them to fall before flowering. Control with Searles Conguard Insecticide. Hibiscus ‘Snowflake’ red-flowering hibiscus whose variegated foliage makes it a real standout even when it is not in flower. 1.5m H. Full sun.

For more information for what to grow in your climatic zone visit page 20 | About the garden magazine


Cairns Townsville Mt. Isa Longreach Carnarvon





> Heliconias are displaying their bold leaves and brilliant coloured flowers during the warmer climates. They grow in almost all soil types enriched with organic matter. Add Searles Premium Compost to the soil for good results. Heliconias like to be kept moist. Most heliconias are equally at home in full sun or part shade. However, some species are suitable for shade only. The colours and shapes of flower stems are just about endless. > Heliconias, strelitzias and frangipani dazzle during summer and make great screens with a lush tropical appearance. Give them plenty of organic matter such as 5IN1 Organic Fertiliser and keep up the water. Many types of ginger are flowering and at their peak. Plant shell ginger, roscoea, blue ginger, torch ginger plus the commonly edible Zingiber officinale, cardamom and galangal. > Time to plant capsicums, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuces, melons, mustard, pumpkins, radish, spring onions, squash, sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes and zucchinis. Harvest veggies while still young and tender. In the tropics the heat and humidity can ripen vegetables quickly. > Harvest summer fruit like avocadoes, mangoes, pawpaw, passionfruit and custard apples. Lookout for fungal diseases on fruit and spray infestations with Searles Copper Oxychloride. Pink Euodia (Melicope elleryana) This rainforest tree is fast growing and bears pretty-pink flowers in spring & summer. Can grow to 6m in sunny gardens, it’s adaptable to a range of soils but likes good drainage. Can tolerate moderate frosts but dislikes strong winds.

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Rockhampton Gladstone


Hervey Bay Toowoomba Warwick


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> Plant beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, English spinach, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, silver beet, spring squash, swede, sweet corn, tomato, turnip, watermelon and zucchini. Plant basil, chives, coriander, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thyme. Borage is an easy no fuss annual herb with dainty blue star shaped flowers appearing in summer. Grow borage for herbal tea, salads and its myriad of medicinal qualities. > Plant ageratum, alyssum, cineraria, cleome, cyclamen, forget-me-not, Iceland poppy, lobelia, lupin, marigold, pansy, petunia, phlox, primula, stock, verbena, wallflower and zinnia. > Frangipani, corymbias, metrosideros, gardenias, crepe myrtles, hydrangeas and mandevillas are all flowering beauties on show during summer. > Watch out for fruit fly activity on tomatoes, citrus and capsicum. Monitor with Searles Fruit Fly traps.

Euphorbia ‘Silver Swan’

Variegated greygreen foliage and stunning in structure with spikes of creamy coloured flowers produced from late winter through spring. This compact plant is a winner as a feature container and garden plant. Like other Euphorbias, they like full sun and are drought tolerant.

> Agapanthus, ageratum, alyssum, aster, boronia, calceolaria, cleome, cosmos, California poppy, cyclamen, dahlia, gazanias, geraniums, Iceland poppy, linaria, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, phlox, salvia, stock, sunflower, verbena, vinca, viola, wallflower and zinnias give summer gardens colour. > Time to plant beans, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, capsicums, celery, cucumbers, cress, eggplant, leeks, lettuces, melons, mustard, pak choy, pumpkins, radish, rhubarb, rocket, silver beets, spring onions, squash, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomatoes and zucchinis. Plant basil, chives, coriander, fennel, gotu kola, heliotrope, lovage, mint, parsley and tarragon. > Aphids commonly appear on flushes of new growth and quite often they will only remain on the plant for a short period of time. Generally, if there are predatory insects in the area such as ladybird larvae, the aphids will be kept under control. In severe cases, spray them with Searles Bug Beater, a natural pyrethrum spray or an organic spray Searles Ecofend Vegetable & Garden Insect & Mite spray. > Hydrangeas and crepe myrtles are great summer bloomers. Nandina ‘Lemon and Lime’ has a compact, evergreen form and tight habit. With stunning lime green foliage and an explosion of lemon tones year round, this Nandina is extremely versatile and tolerant of frosty conditions and full sun planting. 90cm H. Image & information courtesy of Plants Management Australia


page 22 | About the garden magazine

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> Red-hot pokers provide summer gardens with structural foliage and striking red, orange or yellow flowers spikes. > The heat of the day will bring on fast growing vegetables such as climbing beans, melons, pumpkins and zucchini. Keep the water up to tomatoes and sweet corn crops. > Sage, thyme, lemongrass, parsley, Vietnamese coriander and rosemary all survive well during the hot summer. > If you are growing leafy greens during the summer, grow them quickly and with regular watering. Pick young. > The hotter the temperature, the more water is required for your garden. > Salvias, crepe myrtles, mandevillass, petunias, hydrangeas, bougainvilleas, geraniums, dahlias, portulacas, verbena and zinnias love the summer.


70cmH 90cmW


Abelia ‘Kaleidoscope’ From bright yellow with light green centres and soft pink petite flowers in spring to darker foliage in summer, then bright orange foliage in autumn turning into fiery red in the winter months.


Armidale Tamworth Orange

Grafton Port Macquarie Newcastle


Canberra Wodonga



> Plant tomato, zucchini, sweet corn and capsicum. Keep well watered. A second crop can be planted a month later for extended harvest. Keep watering tomatoes constantly during the summer months. Irregular watering will encourage blossom end rot caused by calcium deficiency.


Toowoomba Warwick


Tamworth Orange

Hervey Bay



Port Augusta


Rockhampton Gladstone

Emerald Carnarvon

Hervey Bay Toowoomba Warwick



> Hibiscus make an impressive display signalling summer is here. Promote more flowering with Searles Hibiscus and Bougainvillea Plant Food. > If your lawn is dying off in patches, check for armyworm or lawn grubs. They decimate lawn roots quickly. Control with Searles Dead Grub Pro. > The heat of summer encourages tomatoes to grow quickly. Keep watering consistent and watch out for fruit flies. > Plant petunias, scaevolas, calibrachoas or portulacas for hanging basket and pot flowering splendour. Plant in a premium potting mix with advanced water technology. Searles Platinum Potting Mix contains 18 month fertiliser and is excellent on water conservation. > Bougainvilleas are available in many shapes, sizes and dazzling long lasting colours and love the summer sun and dry conditions. Feed with a tailored fertiliser such as Searles Hibiscus and Bougainvillea Plant Food for a better display. > Summer growing vegetables such as tomatoes, capsicums, eggplant, cucumbers and zucchini are perfect to grow now. Watch out for powdery mildew on the leaves and spray with Mancozeb Plus to control the damage. > Keep the water up to fruit trees. They require more water to bear fruit than flowering plants in summer.

Grow zinnias in full sun. Promote more flowering by dead heading blooms.

Image & information courtesy of Plants Management Australia or follow us on About the garden magazine | page 23

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