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Your local gardening advice for Australian gardens


2021 | ISSUE 98


The Serenity Prayer

Spring 2021 At your local - In season plants - Flowers - Indoor - Natives Bottlebrushes Veggies for small spaces Spring bulbs Know your three ‘R’s - Reduce, reuse, recycle

On the table - recipe Veggie couscous salad About Spring - Edibles - passionfruit, berries

- Spring pests - Flowers - azaleas, lavender

- Dirt Doctor - How to store potting mix properly

- Climatic zones


Issue 98

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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.

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Veggies for small spaces p12


20 21

Con Searle

Front cover image: Bacopa ‘Megacopa - White’

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

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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

Recycle garden 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 2021 About the Garden Pty. Ltd.

About the Garden Magazine is proudly produced from sustainable resources.






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see what’s new at your local gardening outlet Salvia farinacea ‘So Blue’ is a semi-perennial dwarf plant that is covered in spikes of intense clear blue flowers. ‘So Blue’ is a sterile hybrid selected because it flowers all through the year with peaks in summer and autumn in most temperate areas. It does best in the warmer months of the year in southern gardens but flourishes year long in the subtropics. Plant in full sun through to lightly dappled shade position for best results. Perfectly suitable to gardens which grow Geraniums and Chrysanthemums and for patio potted colour as they are clean plants holding the flower heads well for a long time.


60cmH 40cmW

This is an easy care plant once established needing little supplementary watering except in dry times. Most soils are suitable, well worked up and with compost incorporated. Trim for shape and size as needed for better flowering.

This variety flowers earlier than other verbenas varieties. The Verbena ‘Cadet’ series forms upright, uniform masses of flowers from early spring. This variety has strong disease resistance to powdery mildew. Will flower from spring right through to autumn, withstanding the high heat of summer. Plant in nutrient rich and well draining soil. For pot plant displays, plant in Searles Platinum Potting Mix and Searles Premium Garden Soil Mix for the garden. Liquid feed fortnightly for continuous flowering and plant health for 9 months of the year.

Available in 8 vivacious colour choices

– White, Violet Blue, Red, Purple, Pink, Magenta Wink, Lavender Blue, Hot Pink Wink page 04 | About the garden magazine


25cmH 35cmW

HibisQs® Petit™ ‘Orange’ SIZE


36cmH 51cmW

‘Sunshine Beauty’ has vibrant orange edges, which fade into a yellow centre. Flowering in spring through to autumn, new blooms emerge in brighter, more vibrant hues, which leads to three shades of blooms at one time. Heat and drought tolerant. Ideal in landscapes, containers or hanging baskets.

Look out for HibisQs Petit range.

About the garden magazine | page 05


30cmH 30cmW


Bidens ‘Campfire’

Bidens ‘Mini Bee’ - compact, no pruning variety. SIZE

25cmH 30cmW

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

Bidens ‘Goldilocks Rocks’ Improved

> roses > wisterias > argyranthemums > osteospermums > phloxes > buddlejas > armerias

page 06 | About the garden magazine

‘Goldilocks Rocks’ Improved bears bright yellow flowers on soft, fern like foliage. This improved variety will produce larger flowers and has the ability to flower into warmer weather, versus the original. Bidens ‘Campfire’ and ‘Mini Bee’ light up the garden with their flame bi-coloured yellow and orange flowers. Ideal for front garden displays, mass plantings, filler and spillers and potted and hanging displays. ‘Mini Bee’ is the dwarf and more compact variety of the two, ideal for garden colour without the pruning. 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 combinations. For potted colour, plant in Searles Platinum Potting Mix. Prune back lightly if any branches become too leggy. This plant makes a statement in frost free gardens. Keep soil moist with good drainage. Liquid feed every two weeks with Searles Flourish Flowers & Foliage Soluble Plant Food to keep the plant flowering.

‘Flaming Fire’

We love this foliage plant for its tight crispy wave like leaves. Also known as Birds Nest Ferns, these plants are easy to care for if positioned in a spot with bright indirect sunlight, and keeping the soil just lightly moist consistently will ensure their glossy leaves continue to sparkle.

Fittonias display compact and tightly knit leaves on a small plant base, making them a great designer piece for smaller indoor decor settings and terrarium arrangements. They are low maintenance and available in an appealing range of foliage colours.

A premium indoor mix ideally designed for all of your indoor plant growing needs. Ideal for ferns, palms, monstera, philodendrons & other foliage beauties.

• Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Zenzii’* • Pileas • Philodendrons • Boston Fern • Ivys • Asplenium nidus


Liquid feed indoor foliage plants with Searles Flourish Indoor & Greening every fortnight, from early spring, for full benefits of spring lush growth. Note: for sensitive and delicate plants, apply at half rate.

*For planting Zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘Zenzii’, use Searles Cacti & Succulent Mix and fertilise with Searles Robust Cacti & Succulent Fertiliser About the garden magazine | page 07

Bracteantha Sundaze - ‘Dazette Elektra’



25cmH 40cmW



20cmH 40cmW

The flowers of the Sundaze® range are paper-like and are featured either fresh or dried in floral arrangements. These Australian natives have proven themselves with showy, vibrant colours, which shimmer in the wind. plant Sparkling bright blue blooms engulf the . mer sum and g sprin from late winter into e. Whilst They grow best in full sun to part shad ates, clim ler coo in well Lobelia erinus grows areas mer war in well s Lobelia Lucia also grow s. frost from d of Australia if protecte

Sundaze plants flourish quickly planted in pots. Position potted plants in a sunny position where they receive some shade during the heat of the day if possible. In garden beds plants grow quickly, flowering almost immediately. Watering is important. Keep the soil moist but not too wet. It is important to shear the bushes every few months to remove old flowers and seed heads.

perfect This variety has a neat compact habit, colour. ed pott or ur colo en for low growing gard ed fertile Lobelias like to grow in well compost r spring afte e prun tly Ligh soil that is kept moist. colour. mer sum for rs owe to encourage more fl


Sundaze - ‘Totally Yellow’


page 08 | About the garden magazine

da Sun


Fertilise natives in small amounts with Searles Native Plant Food to keep growth compact. Keep plants well mulched.

Want to decorate that old paling fence or screen out the neighbours? Here’s the plant for you. Like so many Aussie plants Pandorea Wonga Gold Sunset combines hardiness with beauty, and it does it fast. It’s a light climber of only medium vigour, and you won’t have to spend weekends keeping it controlled with a chainsaw. Austraflora bred this plant with small spaces in mind so you’ll have the effect you need in just a short time. The purple-pink and golden trumpet flower bunches bloom throughout spring, completely covering the glossy leaves which will give you a screen all year. Full sun or light shade, and climates ranging from cool temperate to tropical and even semi arid, suited to well drained soils.


100cmH 100cmW SIZE

5mH 3mW

The leaves are a vivid blue and round in shape, with new growth tips a blushing lilac. Cream flowers are produced between May and November, and the large fruits that follow are cup-shaped. Birds, butterflies and bees absolutely love this plant. Use as a standalone feature plant in the landscape, or mix with others to form an interesting contrast. Clip back to maintain shape, it can also be used for cut foliage in your floral arrangements to bring its beauty indoors. Will tolerate frost and dry conditions – simply plant in a location that’s full sun to part shade, in well-drained soil.

About the garden magazine | page 09

‘Wilderness White’

Callistemons (or bottlebrush) are some of the most beautiful and versatile native plants in Australian home gardens. This group of floriferous trees and shrubs are unrivalled in their ability to bring colour and attract native birds to the garden. An icon of the Australian garden, all species of Callistemons are true show stoppers when in bloom and if you happen to stand in a close proximity to one, no doubt it will be simply buzzing with the activity of bees!

Planting Callistemons

‘Hot Pink’

‘Tangerine Dream’

Depending on the cultivar and your location, Callistemons can be in flower from mid-winter right through until midsummer. They range in size from tall shrubs to ground covers. They make attractive screening plants in their own right and some even as feature trees. Callistemons tolerate a range of soils from moist clay to sand and can be an excellent option where the soil is too clayey for other natives like grevilleas, banksias or waratahs. Callistemons are highly adaptable to drought conditions once fully established. For best flowering results, plant in full sun, however they can also perform well in part shade. They enjoy any climate from cool temperate to tropical, as well as second line coastal conditions and medium level frosts. They are extremely hardy and given the right growing conditions can delight you with flowers for up to 40 years. When digging a hole for planting, mix in some Searles Native Plants Specialty Mix. Honey bees in particular enjoy continuously foraging in amongst the fine bristles of the flowers and can often be witnessed doing so from first light until late dusk. Having one of the larger specimens such as ‘Dawson River Weeper’ grown as a central feature to the garden will encourage bees to forage through many other species of flowering or fruit trees around your garden.

page 10 | About the garden magazine

Fertilising Callistemons

To encourage flowering, use only a low phosphorus fertiliser that is specifically designed for Australian natives such as Searles Native Plant Food. Callistemons do not require a lot of fertiliser. Apply an application in spring and another in autumn.

Pruning Callistemons

Keep callistemons well pruned after spring flowering and most will flower well the following autumn. Each time callistemons are pruned or the spent flowers are trimmed off, it encourages even better flowering next season, whether in spring or autumn. So the moral is, prune! Most callistemons will flower from spring to summer but with regular pruning can flower at any other time throughout the year.

C. Green John

1m x 60cm


C. Lavender Shower

2-3 x 2-3m

hot pink

C. white Anzac

1m x 3m


C. Wilderness White



C. Tangerine Dream



C. Slim

3m x 1.3m

red, narrow spaces

C. Purple Splendour

2-3 x 2m


C. Mauve Mist

2m x 2m


C. pachyphyllus



C. Hot Pink

2m x 2m

hot pink

All colours and heights vary slightly due to soil and growing conditions. ‘Green John’

Callistemon ‘Slim’ & ‘Green John’ provided by Ozbreed

‘Purple Splendour’

Callistemon ‘Slim’ is ideal for slim line hedging.

close up of ‘Slim’

About the garden magazine | page 11

Photo Credit: GAP Photos/Nicola Stocken

Tomato varieties suitable for hanging baskets; Sweet Bite, Yellow Pear, Yellow Cherry, Cherry Roma, Cherry Truss, Grape.

Growing tomatoes in pots and even hanging baskets is a great way to control their sunlight and position requirements, while adding a degree of functionality to gardens and outdoor spaces restricted in size. Tomatoes need a sunny site and good drainage. As their roots are restricted in their growing space, plant in soil enriched with plenty of nutrients to maximise growth. For potted tomatoes and tomatoes in hanging baskets, use Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix to pot up. This mix, boosted with instant and controlled release fertilisers, will feed plants for up to 9 months, and importantly contains re-wetting granules to reduce the risk of soil dry out, which many pot plants are susceptible to. Use smaller varieties of tomatoes that will grow more compact and don’t require as much nutrient and water. Tomato varieties named ‘Bush tomatoes’ and ‘dwarf tomatoes’ are ideal varieties to plant. These are readily available and require less space to grow and fruit. To plant in hanging baskets, use a basket no less than 40-45cm in diametre. The smaller the basket the quicker the soil drys out and the nutrients are used. Tomatoes planted in baskets require page 12 | About the garden magazine

more attention and regular watering, but when you meet their requirements, are a worth while feature plant, worthy of garden club talk.

/tomatoes in pots

For tomatoes in pots, again use larger pots rather than smaller ones. Plastic pots are fine to use, but can easily capture alot of heat during the hotter summer months. Monitor the soil temperate and move pots to a shadier place until the hot weather has past. Self-watering pots are a great way to regularly water plants when you forget. If using terracotta pots, seal the inside of the pot with terracotta pot sealant to reduce the loss of water through the pot walls. Tomatoes are heavy feeders, though using the right fertiliser regularly will promote better health, pest resistance of the plant and increase fruit yields. For tasty, long-lasting fruit and resistance to pests and disease, apply SeaMax Fish & Kelp (for a liquid organic option) or Searles Flourish Vege & Tomato Fertiliser fortnightly. A regular watering regime tailored to your plant variety and pot/basket size is paramount. The smaller the pot/basket the quicker the soil will dry out. Hanging baskets are more exposed to air flow, drying out the mix quicker.

Beans are an easy-to-grow, productive and nutritious warmseason crop. Beans are available either as ‘climbers’ or ‘bush beans’. Climbing beans grow vertically and can produce large volumes of beans in relatively little garden space. They can be ideal for sunny courtyards and smaller gardens. Bush beans are ideal for pots and even vertical gardens. Beans can be easily grown from either seed or seedlings and handle transplanting well. In cool or mountain areas, make sure the last frost has passed before planting. Space plants as recommended on the seed packet or punnet — avoid planting them too closely as overcrowding can encourage fungal diseases. For climbing beans, support their growth by installing a trellis before planting. Use a premium potting mix with excellent water holding features and long term fertiliser. Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix is ideal for pot planting.

Photo Credit: GAP Photos/Juliette Wade

Keep beans moist, but not wet while they are growing and water the roots of the plant, not the foliage or flowers. A dripper system and a layer of mulch can be ideal. Alternatively, dig a trench between rows and water it deeply once a week. Beans are heavy croppers and harvest can begin when they are very small. The more beans you pick, the more they will produce and healthy plants can keep cropping for months. Liquid feed with an organic fertiliser SeaMax Fish & Kelp Organic Fertiliser to encourage better flowering and beans.

A sudden bout of wet weather after a dry period can cause ripening tomatoes to split. This can also be caused by irregular watering. Keep moisture levels consistent by watering tomatoes regularly and keeping them well mulched. Water tomato plants on the roots — not the foliage. This will reduce the risk of fungal infections and will also limit water loss through evaporation.

grape tomatoes

Many tomato diseases are spread by sap-sucking insects, so controlling them will reduce the likelihood of a disease outbreak.

Most common pests can be kept at bay with an all-purpose organic spray such as Ecofend Vegetable & Garden. Try organic solutions before looking to use chemical treatment options. Fruit can be covered with paper bags just before it starts to colour up. Fly paper attached to stakes and fruit-fly baits can also reduce pest numbers.

Tomato ‘Red Tumbler’ - Suitable for a hanging baskets. Grows 0.4m H

Tomato ‘Tumbler’ - Suitable for a hanging basket. Grows 0.4m H

Tomato ‘First Prize’/’Patio Prize’ - Suitable for a hanging baskets & pots. Grows 0.5m H

Tomato ‘Tommy toe’ - Grows 1.5m in height. Must be staked.

Tomato ‘Sweet Bite’

- Grows 2m in height. Must be staked. About the garden magazine | page 13

Maximise your outdoor living space by creating a vertical herb garden. Choose a structure style that will support the vertical area and your culinary needs. There are a myriad of DYI and ready-to-go vertical wall kits available to erect within minutes, or use your creativity to customise something unique to suit your style of space.

For a quicker final result, plant advanced plants or seedlings. Choose plants that don’t outgrow the space provided or hang intrusively over walkways. Use premium quality potting mix which allows free drainage and can hold in the moisture in at the same time. Premium potting mixes like Searles Platinum Potting Mix contain excellent water holding capabilities and controlled release fertilisers to feed plants for up to 18 months for stronger and thicker growth. To maximise watering ingenuity, create a vertical wall system which waters from the top and the excess water runs down to the lower tiers. Some premade vertical wall kits cater for dripper systems. Keep in mind some herbs require their soil to be moist while others like it a little drier. Group plants together which have the same water requirements. For example, Mediterranean herbs such as thyme and rosemary need well-drained, drier soil and are best positioned together and at the top of the wall. Herbs which require regularly moist soil, such as, mint, basil and lemongrass, are best planted at the lower levels of a vertical garden.

page 14 | About the garden magazine

Photo Credit: GAP Photos/Anna Omiotek-Tott - Designer: Andy Bending

Choose herbs and edible flowers that are suited to the amount of light the area receives. Most herbs and flowers require a good amount of sunlight per day. Plant parsley, thyme, mint, lettuce, dill, rosemary and for a touch of colour tuck in a few edible pansies, nasturtiums, salvias and marigolds. Try to avoid herbs that grow too tall and go to seed quickly.

Coriander, parsley, basil, mint, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, nasturtium, salvia, lemongrass, chives, chilli, tarragon, oregano, Vietnamese mint, fennel, chervil, dill, lovage, watercress, wild rocket, stevia (sugar bush) and ginger.

Pansies, violets, snapdragons, nasturtiums, salvias, marigolds, daisies (Bellis perennis), chamomile, dianthus, etc. Don’t forget many herbs have edible flowers, thyme, dill, borage, etc.

Lettuce trays.

Mint, oregano & lettuce love container life.

Gardeners with limited growing space can easily raise mesclun mix, lettuce, herbs, sprouts, and any other leafy greens, in seedling trays, planting troughs or recycled Styrofoam boxes. Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix will be ideal for sowing your seed or planting seedlings, as it contains both readily-available and controlled release fertilisers for up to 9 months of nutrition. It also holds adequate water for plump, juicy leaf growth as it contains peat moss, Penetraide rewetting granules and water crystals. Ensure your planter is in a sunny, protected position for maximum growth. It’s vital that adequate nutrition is available for rapid growth of your leafy greens. Slow growth and hungry plants will produce bitter-tasting greens all round, something to be avoided at all costs. Once seedlings emerge, fertilise immediately with Searles Flourish Vegetable and Tomato Soluble Plant Food and then every 10-14 days afterwards. For increased resistance to pest and disease attack, it’s also recommended to apply Searles Seamax Organic Fish & Kelp every fortnight. Smaller containers need more watering than larger ones. Water leafy greens daily to keep the soil moist and crop tastier. Harvest greens as often as you can. The younger leaves have the most flavour.

Zucchini are a warm season crop. They can be grown in either full sun during spring and autumn, or semi-shade in the heat of the summer. Compact varieties of Zucchini can be grown in pots. As a general rule, plant one plant per pot. Good drainage and soil containing plenty of nutrients is important to aid quick growth, and free drainage also helps to prevent fungal infections. Soil should be kept very moist up until the time that the fruits begin to mature, after which watering should taper off so the roots remain slightly damp. When watering, it is important to use a dripper system, so the foliage, stems and fruit are kept dry. Mulch after planting to protect the shallow roots from drying out and to prevent the above-ground parts of the plant from coming into contact with the soil.

About the garden magazine | page 15

simple recipes made from garden kitchen produce

Vegan friendly

1 cup couscous grilled vegetables of your choice such as squash or zucchini cherry tomatoes coriander eshallots lemon, wedges

page 16 | About the garden magazine

For more tasty recipes from the garden, visit


When it comes to bulbs many think of daffodils, freesia, and ranunculus but there is so much more to bulbs than the winter flowering varieties. To get reoccurring colour in your garden, bulbs are a very underrated plant. They are easy to plant, require little fuss, and will return each year with brilliant colours. There are many types Zephyranthes of bulbs, be it a warm region or a cool one, and some you will not even think as being bulbs. For example, Zephyranthes are commonly called Rain Lily, they are lovely additions to the garden, perfect for edging or as a filler, and flower after rain.

Scilla Bluebells


Dahlias are stunning, with showy flowers and some varieties of dahlias can reach 1.5m. Plant in spring for a magnificent show in late summer and autumn. They make amazing cut flowers, though they have a short vase life. Hippeastrum come in a range of colours, classic dark red to rose pink, white or even lemon or lime, as well as some with striped flowers. The clumps come back each year getting bigger masses, which can be split and moved around the garden when they die down.

Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ is a bulb that is highly under used, survives harsh conditions, and goes dormant during the hotter months. They can have over twenty dainty flowers on each plant and are exquisite as a long-lasting cut flower. Sprinkled through the garden they often give a surprise of blooms, whilst being a true survivor. Plant all bulbs in a friable soil with plenty of organic matter such as Searles Mushroom Compost or Premium Compost Mix blended thoroughly through the soil. For better flowering use Searles 5 in 1 Pellets every few months and water them with SeaMax Fish and Kelp, which the entire garden will enjoy. Some clever gardeners use bulbs which flower in different seasons as fillers in their garden. The dash of colour can change season by season, with some of these varieties taking over from the daffodils, freesias, and ranunculus for varying colour and textures. In pots, plant in Searles Platinum Potting Mix as seen in the video by Gardenettes on the Searles website.

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.

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:

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


The vivid blues of Muscari or Scilla Bluebells are a brilliant foil to orange-coloured flowers such as Kniphofia Red Hot Pokers, as they are on the opposite end of the colour wheel and draw the eye as they fight for colour dominance. Alliums have an amazing flower that makes them such a draw card in the garden. When they Brodiaea start at the end of spring you never want them to stop. Related to the allium, Tulbughia violacea is known for having edible flowers and leaves. This plant is incredibly hardy, and flowers prolifically from spring through to autumn.

What do we do with items we have finished using? Well, if you know your three ‘R’s, you can stop them ending up in landfill and bring a little personal character to your garden decor.

Save unused items from a trip to landfill. With an open mind, just about anything lying around the house can be upcycled. • Used takeaway coffee cups are perfect to reuse for planting out seedlings or sowing seeds. Puncture a few holes in the bottom of the cup for essential drainage, use your favourite premium potting mix and plant away. Egg cartons are also great to sow seeds. • Reuse shaker fertiliser bottles. Refill contents and shake away. • Old busted tyres, reinforced concrete steel, old windows and doors can all be garden features. • Any unused household objects that you can drill holes in the bottom can be used as a planter. Woven baskets, bowls, etc. • Use old hessian or patterned fabric to make kokodama balls. • Reuse used perfume, diffuser bottles as vases. Reshape old barbed wire • Smash up broken ceramic pots to line new into a decorative pots for excellent drainage. trellis

page 18 | About the garden magazine

Reuse reinforcing concrete wires as a wall trellis.

Paint old tyres in multiple colours to match flowering plants.

Frame your garden with old

window frames.

Photo Credit: GAP Photos/Sarah Cuttle

Colander hanging basket. Also use old cake tins, wine crates, anything you can hold potting mix in and poke drainage holes in the bottom.

SAFE DISPOSAL OF OLD CHEMICAL CONTAINERS What do you do with old chemical bottles and containers that are either full or empty? Disposing of hazardous materials such as bleach, garden and pool chemicals, and cleaning solvents in your general waste or recycling bin is not safe. They can be flammable, corrosive, explosive or toxic. Hazardous materials can cause fires in bins or garbage trucks, creating a safety hazard for truck drivers, the community and the environment.

Reuse plastic pots for seedlings and younger plants.

Some councils offer free household hazardous waste disposal days throughout the year. These disposal days are for items that cannot be disposed of via sewers, rubbish bins or Council facilities during general operations. Contact your local council for suitable facilities.

Re takeaway cuupse s

RECYCLE USED POTTING MIX BAGS All Searles potting mix, compost, mulch and garden soil soft plastic bags can be recycled at any soft plastic recycling program such as REDcycle participating drop off centres.

ins eb ags b


• Follow the directions on fertiliser packaging to ensure you are not over fertilising plants. • Look after your tools after each use. Follow the label care directions. They will last longer. Buy good quality. • No need to rush out to the hardware for tools. Share and swap tools with your trusted garden friends. • Grow plants and edibles that are suited to your climate and particular season. Less chance they will die and need replacing. • Rot your food waste and make organic compost for your zerowaste home garden. • Give unused seedlings to your friends. • Harvest whatever is ready to eat, and plan your meals around what you are growing so you don’t waste any of your delicious home-grown produce. Share with your friends or freeze excess produce. • Reduce water usage by installing drippers - only wet the part of the soil with roots, thus reducing wastage from evaporation and run-offs. • Reduce chemical use by treating pests and disease early before it spreads. • Dare we add another ‘R’ - REFUSE. Easy way to reduce is refuse. Buy only what you need, refuse excessive packaging and share, share, share.

Quick tip: After use give each bag efore recycling a quick rinse with water, dry off and cut the plastic down to A3 size before recycling. Our bags you can recycle: Potting mix and specialty mix bags, compost and mulch bags, 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser DIG-IN bags & Garden soil mix.

spring planting and care guide Even if you have limited garden space, a passionfruit vine can provide not only two delicious fruit crops a year but also beautiful, shiny green foliage and breathtakingly ornamental, purple and white flowers. All this in a vertical growing space! 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. If drainage is a problem, add gypsum and plenty of organic matter such as Searles Premium Compost to the soil. The best time of year to plant out your vines is between October and April. Once planted, water in well with SeaMax Fish & Kelp Fertiliser and mulch thickly. Make sure your chosen position is in full sun and is protected from strong winds and frost. 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. Using a combination of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser and Searles Fruit & Citrus Plant Food will ensure your vine has adequate nutrients for successful cropping. For more information on pruning, pests and diseases and why my passionfruit is not flowering + yummy passionfruit recipes to try, head to our website

> Cucumbers can be planted all year in the tropics, in spring and summer in the subtropics and from late spring to summer in the cool temperate climates after the last frosts. Enrich the soil with plenty of compost before planting and water regularly to keep the fruit sweet. > For a Christmas harvest of watermelon for friends and family to devour, plant now. To avoid a watery-tasting crop, minimise watering as fruit approaches maturity. > 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. Place traps in trees and check them weekly, starting late August in the tropics, September in Brisbane and October in cooler climates such as in Sydney areas. > Before planting spring veggies, mix into existing soil a good dose of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser. Plant warm season vegetables 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. > 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. > 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.

page 20 | About the garden magazine


Strawberries will crop throughout spring and summer with many varieties continuing through autumn. Raspberries are generally available throughout garden retailers in cooler climates and ready to plant in winter and, depending on the variety, flower and fruit at different times from late spring to late autumn. Support shrub with a trellis. Mulberries are hardy in most parts of Australia. They generally grow as tall as a tree, but you can prune them to remain in a shrub. Dwarf varieties suitable for pots and small gardens are available in garden centres. The red fruit develop to their distinctive purple colour quickly in early spring in tropical and subtropics regions and more gradually in cooler regions giving these regions an extended harvest period. 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. Strawberries can be planted in hanging baskets so their fruit over hang, easy to pick. For berries in pots, plant in Fruit, Citrus & Rose Specialty Mix.

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Blueberry cake recipe

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> Don’t let pests and diseases take hold. Control them early to ensure less spray will be used and the plant can continue to flourish. > Sweet corn can be planted from late spring until early autumn throughout Australia and all year round in the tropics. Plant in blocks for better pollination. Dig the soil deep, at least 30cm, incorporating generous amounts of 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser to promote lush growth.

Sometimes mealybugs are quite obvious, small white blobs, usually on soft leaves and new, tender stems of plants. Other times, you may have to go digging for them, as they love to inhabit the “hard to reach” parts of plants, such as the crowded crown of a palm, the sheathing base of soft indoor plants, even the indents in the calyx end of navel oranges. Scales usually attach themselves to the underside (occasionally upper surfaces) of leaves and plant stems, and can be black, brown, red, through to white, and in massive numbers. You may see ants and sooty mould on infected plants, a certain indication of scale, mealybugs or both! And the ants defend them from predators! Best treated with Searles Pest Gun (repeat applications may be necessary). For residual control, use Searles Conguard, sprayed at dusk. An organic alternative would be Searles Ecofend range.


This fungal disease is dormant in winter and becomes active during spring and summer. If left untreated, will attack the fruit of stone fruit such as peaches and nectarines. Bulbous puckering and leaf distortion, often with a pinkish colour is a indicator of its presence. If severe, premature leaf and fruit can occur. Apply Copper Oxychloride early at bud swell.


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.

Look out for

azalea lace bug.

This sap sucker, its responsible for the silvering of the leaves on most varieties of azaleas. Treat promptly with Searles Conguard.

spring planting and care guide

There are many types of azaleas suited to a range of lighting conditions from full sun positions to shaded areas. This gives an excellent range of azaleas to choose from to suit almost any area of your garden. Enquire at your local garden centre for the best azalea varieties suited to a specific position in your garden. When planting azaleas, remember that they love an acidic soil, rich in organic matter. Improve the soil by planting into Searles Azalea & Camellia Specialty Mix. This will give your azaleas the right mix of nutrients and pH for a great start and strong, healthy growth. Water them regularly, avoiding the petals which can result in petal blight. Feed them with Searles Flourish Azalea & Camellia Fertiliser, which gently acidifies the soil, provides essential iron and promotes strong growth and brilliant flowering.

Lavender has enjoyed universal and enduring popularity in Australian home gardens and the reasons are quite clear. They are hardy and resistant to disease as well as being stylish — suiting most garden or landscape styles, regardless of fashions or trends. Lavender needs full sun to grow and flower well. Without at least 6 hours of direct sun (preferably afternoon sun) every day, flowering will be poor. Lavender traditionally comes from a dry, Mediterranean climate and dislikes humidity. If you live in a warm or cool temperate climate you should be able to grow most lavenders. However, some modern hybrids have an increased resistance to humidity and can even be grown in the tropics if the right conditions are given such as excellent drainage, free air circulation and full sun. In warm climates choose varieties from the Italian and Spanish family. French lavender is by far the best for warmer climates. Lavender dislikes long periods of heavy rain but can survive if it has proper drainage. Lavender is a great choice in seaside gardens as it tolerates windy conditions, sandy soils and some salt spray. It also has excellent resistance to dry spells and frost. page 22 | About the garden magazine

Although each daylily flower only lasts a day, it is usually replaced by another on the same stem the following day. Daylilies benefit from being kept moist and well fed, so mulch well and use Searles Flourish to boost blooms. Plant in full sun. Daylilies grow happily in dry, well-drained or boggy soils. They cope with drought, frost, windy and seaside conditions and have little trouble with pests and disease.

> Now is the time to fertilise native plants, but only use fertilisers specifically designed for natives, such as Searles Native Plant Food. Native plant foods are low in phosphorus, which is ideal for plants such as grevilleas, callistemons and banksias. > The sudden flush of Jasmine polyanthum flowers signals spring has arrived. Plant one in a sunny spot with room to ramble and enjoy the sweet fragrance as you walk outside your house every morning.



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> By now, Clivias will be on full display in all parts of Australia. Their hardy nature, all year thick strappy foliage, and when spring arrives clumps of bright blooms sitting erect from the leaves make them a stand out.

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> Perfect time to re-pot cymbidiums. Use Searles Cymbidium & Bromeliad Mix for the right soil media for healthy growth. > Prune hibiscus in early September and fertilise with Searles Hibiscus & Bougainvillea Plant Food. If you live in the tropics or subtropics, beware of hibiscus beetle in flower buds and hibiscus mite (which appears as wartlike galls on the leaves). If you see evidence of these pests, spray them with Searles Conguard. > Scented beauties for spring time scent; Port Wine Magnolia, Rondeltia amoena, lavender, daphne & native frangipani. > Jacarandas, Silky Oaks, Tabebuias, Illawarra Flame Tree, Prunus (ornamental cherry) and Malus (apples) are flowering now. > Cyclamen are the perfect plants for indoors or shady areas in Winter. They have a long, continuous flowering period — usually from May until October. Cyclamen aren’t fussy. Even though cyclamen grow fantastically indoors, they love the cold; it seems to refresh and revitalise them. Every few days give your cyclamen a drink and put them outside for the night. They will appreciate the cold, frosty night more than us! Never let your cyclamen sit in a saucer of water permanently — this will cause a yellowing of the leaves, rotting of the stems, and eventual death of the plant. Cyclamen appreciate a feed with a liquid fertiliser. If done fortnightly with Searles Flourish Liquid Fertiliser, cyclamen should continuously bloom until mid-Spring.

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If you have sown seeds that didn’t come up, consider the simplest explanations such as the soil was too dry, too wet, seeds eaten by birds or blown away in the wind. Check the use-by date before planting. Planting in seed trays can improve your success rate but it’s still a good idea to plant 10% more than you need to allow for some failure. To increase success rate use a germination enhancing mix like Searles Seed Raising Mix.

Rockhampton Gladstone


Hervey Bay Toowoomba Warwick


Grafton Port Macquarie

> Great time to plant spring salad vegetables, such as lettuce, cucumber, beetroot, okra, pumpkin, melon varieties, zucchini, rocket, beans, capsicum, spring onion, sweet potato, sweet corn, silver beet and tomatoes for a quick harvest within weeks. Plant in rich well composted and nutrient packed soil for fast growing. Searles Herb & Vegetable Specialty Mix is designed for hungry feeding vegetables. > Mulberry trees are developing their distinctive red fruits in early spring in tropical and subtropics regions. Harvest mulberries when they are fully ripened on the tree. Eat promptly as they spoil within a day or two. Look out for blueberry bushes on sale at gardening outlets. Plant in Searles Azalea & Camellia Specialty Mix for the right nutrients to grow plenty of blueberries. > Azaleas are in full bloom now, look out for Azalea lace bug and control with Searles Conguard. > Daylilies, agapanthus and hippeastrums are in flower now. Boost flower production by watering with Searles Liquid Potash every two weeks.

Many of us store our flour in a sealed container to keep out the weevils. Similarly, to maximise the longevity of unused potting mix and keep out unwanted pests breeding in the mix, reseal bag and store in a sealed container. Place container in a dry, sheltered area away from the sun and moisture, preferably indoors. Remember potting mix does degrade over time. If you have had a bag in the shed for over 12 months, spread the old mix onto a garden bed and buy a fresh new bag of potting mix for potting new plants. The old adage applies, ‘fresh is best’.

> Most flowering annuals can be planted now. Make them flourish and produce more blooms with Searles Flourish Flowers & Foliage Soluble Plant Food. Plant aster, amaranthus, celosia, cleome, gomphrena, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sunflower, torenia & zinnia.

For more information for what to grow in your climatic zone visit page 24 | About the garden magazine


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> Plant alyssum, amaranthus, begonia, celosia, cosmos, marigold, petunia, gomphrena, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sunflower, torenia & zinnia for spring colour. > Native Frangipani are in full bloom and spreading their heavenly scent about early spring. > Watch out for fruit fly on developing vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, mango and passionfruit. Hang Searles Fruit Fly traps around the perimeter of your garden and orchard to monitor and control male fruit fly activity. > Spring can be a very dry season, keep the water up to plants and veggies, especially lettuce, tomatoes, ferns, etc. > Plenty of edibles can be planted now. Plant carrot, choko, cucumber, eggplant, French beans, lettuce, radish, spring onion, squash, tomato, capsicum, kohl rabi, okra, pumpkin, rosella, sweet potato, tomato, rockmelon, watermelon & zucchini. Dig into existing soil plenty of organic fertiliser before planting to feed their hungry growth. > Lift, divide and replant ginger, turmeric and galangal in readiness for the hot wet growing season when they will take off.

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Spring 2021

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> The Fruit fly is common in the warmer times of year. After mating, the female lays her eggs under the skin of the fruit. When the maggotlike larvae hatch, they burrow deeper into the fruit causing it to rot. Searles Fruit Fly Trap is an effective reusable trap to monitor and control fruit fly activity around vegetables, particularly tomatoes and citrus trees. It contains a wick that attracts male fruit flies, traps and kills them, stopping the breeding cycle. > Plant carrot, choko, cucumber, eggplant, French beans, lettuce, radish, spring onion, squash, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage and silver beet. Plant capsicum, chilli, zucchini, pumpkins, eggplant, tomatoes and sweet corn once the soil has received its spring warmth. > The growing vines of jasmine, Hardenbergia, passionfruit, Golden Trumpet Vine (Allamanda cathartica) and wisteria are a blaze of floral displays. Don’t be afraid to prune during the season if the vines become unruly. > Hibiscus, Azaleas, 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.

> Time to throw some organic fertiliser pellets, rich in nutrients around gardens, fruit trees and potted plants. These pellets will feed plants for the rapid growth ahead. > Revel in the stunning ‘blossom season’ that in Spring. See flushes of heavenly blooms from prunus, viburnum, may, plum, apricot, almonds, wintersweet, daphne, rhododendrons, crabapple, waratahs and apple trees. > Passionfruit and blueberries are appearing on bushes now. Liquid feed with Searles Flourish Azalea & Camellia Soluble Plant Food for more yummy fruit. > 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. Carrots, spinach, lettuce, beetroot, peas and silverbeet can be planted at the start for spring. > Late spring is the perfect time re-pot and divide plants. The impending warmer weather will kick start new growth in their new home. > Stop snail and slugs in their tracks by sprinkling Searles Snail & Slug Pellets. They love young newly planted seedlings. Watch out. Spring time Rhododendrons

> Watch out for spring pests such as aphids, mealybugs and thrips that love indoor plants as equally as outdoor ones. Regularly check and treat promptly to save your plants from severe damage.


page 26 | About the garden magazine

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> Bottlebrushes are alive with blooms early spring. 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. > Strawberries, passionfruit and citrus trees can be planted during spring. > Watch out for blackspot on roses this time of year. Ensure bushes have good air movement around the branches to keep fungal problems to a minimum. Aphids, leaf miners and leaf chewers enjoy vegetables at this time. Control if severe with Searles Ecofend Fruit & Garden spray.

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> After the last of the frosts, plant warm season vegetables, such as capsicum, tomato, sweetcorn and pumpkins. Carrots can be planted early in the season. For strong growth to support veggie production enrich the soil with 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser. After planting seedlings mulch to insulate soil from warming temperatures.


Armidale Tamworth Orange


> Repot indoor plants that have become root-bound with Searles Premium Potting Mix. This will give them a fresh start and long lasting feed for a happy, healthy year ahead. > Perfect weather is still here to stay for a little while longer. 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. > 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. Monitor and protect vegetable patches, tomatoes, citrus and passionfruit vines from fruit fly sting by hanging fruit fly traps.

> Western Australia’s roadsides and national parks are ablaze with some of the best Australian spectacular wildflowers. Grab your keys and hit the road.

> Splash some colour around the garden and verandah, plant petunia, vinca, cosmos, marigold, salvia, portulaca, nasturtium and zinnia early spring for longer flowering time and liquid feed them with SeaMax Fish & Kelp every fortnight to keep their growth strong during the warmer months.

> Encourage tomato fruit set and reduce risk of fungal diseases by a liquid application of the fertiliser - SeaMax Fish & Kelp.

> Inland areas have a good climate for growing all types of herbs such as basil, rosemary, coriander, sage and oregano.

> Watch out for fruit fly on developing vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, mango and passionfruit. Hang Searles Fruit Fly traps around the perimeter of your garden and orchard to monitor and control male fruit fly activity. > Re-pot root bound potted plants with Searles Platinum Potting Mix to revive their growth or blooms and foliage.

Melons and other cucurbits vines can be planted now. or follow us on About the garden magazine | page 27

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