Uncategorized Archives - Hedge and Stone

Summer garden pests and diseases

Posted by | Garden Design, Garden Maintenance, Landscape Advice, Pests and diseases, Seedlings, Snails, summer gardening, Summer gardens, Uncategorized, Vegetable gardens | No Comments

Snail

Many common garden pests emerge as the warmer months ensue. By mid to late summer, if allowed to proliferate unchecked, these pests can cause serious damage to plants. Healthy plants will always have a better chance at resisting the scourge of pest infestations; working on the overall health of your garden will minimize the impact of common pests and diseases.

Common pests and diseases include…

Snails and slugs – familiar to us all, there are many home remedies for controlling snails and slugs. Labour intensive but effective, is manually removing them by torchlight, on moist nights, when they appear on paths and lawns to feed. You can set out beer traps, saucers of beer, which the snail are attracted to then remove the snails by hand – two hours after sunset is the best time. Many chemical controls are dangerous to other children, pets and animals – snail pellets with an active ingredient of iron sulphate are a safer solution however still dangerous to dogs if consumed in quantity. Far and away the most important step you can take is eliminating habitat; snail and slugs hide away during the day in leaf mold, under pot rims, in rock borders etc. – if you keep these areas clean, you can limit the number of snail and slugs in your garden.

Aphid

Aphids

Aphids are tiny, prolific sucking insects, commonly green however can also be black, brown and pink. They attack new growth on ornamental flowering plants like roses as well as many vegetables. They weaken the plant by sapping nutrients and damaging the plant stems and buds and making the plant vulnerable to diseases.

Aphids can be removed manually by squishing the aphids, wiping and spraying them off with water. Alternatively, they can be controlled with soap sprays and white oil.

Scale

Scale are similar to aphids, scale are sucking insects however are immobile and appear as small, dry, white bumps on the surface of leaves and stems. They weaken the plant similarly to aphids.

Scale can be removed by manually brushing from the leaves and stems with soap spray. There are chemical products available to help control serious infestations.

Thrip and mites

Difficult to see because of their size, the effects of thrip and mites are obvious on your plants when you have an infestation on your hands. Spider mites affect azaleas in particular, causing the leaves to appear stunted and bronze in colour.

Control mites by installing aerial spray irrigation systems as the mites cluster on the underside of leaves and can be inhibited by regular spraying with water. Chemical miticides are available but not always effective. Biological controls such as encouraging lady beetles and other ‘good’ garden insects as well as under-watering from spring through summer will help minimize the impact of thrip and mites.

White fly

White flies

White flies infest the shady lush parts of your vegetable garden, clouds of tiny, irritating white insects emerge when disturbed. They feed on the surface of leafy plants such as lettuce, silverbeet and parsley. They damage the leaves and cause them to appear mottled and unhealthy.

White flies can be controlled to a degree with pyrethrum and soap sprays. Their numbers fluctuate seasonally and during periods of high humidity you just have to wait them out.

Mildew

Sooty mould, powdery mildew and downy mildew are all fungal infections that occur on the leaves of some plants. Encouraged by high humidity, they create a dusty film and patches of grey and white fuzz on the leaves – the spores are spread by wind.

Control by removing infected foliage and applying fungicides such as sulphur dust,

Black spot

Black Spot

Black spot is a fungal disease commonly affecting roses and fruit trees, black spot attacks the leaves causing them to whither and drop prematurely. As with most fungal diseases, it is encouraged by humidty.

Leaves affected by black spot should be removed and disposed of in the garbage – do not compost. Plants can be sprayed in late winter to prevent any outbreak with a copper based fungicide.

 

Summer pruning tips

Posted by | Garden Advice, Garden Maintenance, Hedges, Ornamental Trees, pruning, summer gardening, summer pruning, Uncategorized | No Comments

hydrangeaThere are a couple of great reasons to prune our flowering ornamentals and fruit trees in summer…

Summer pruning and removing spent flower heads encourages repeat blooming through the end of summer and on into autumn. With roses, for example, removing not only the spent flower but cutting back 30cm of stem, will encourage an additional flush of long stemmed blooms on the end of the cut branches within six to eight weeks.

Generally speaking, summer pruning retards growth where as pruning in winter prior to the growing season, encourages vigorous regrowth. Pruning in summer, especially for deciduous plants, give you a good opportunity to do some formative pruning while the plants are in foliage and you can really see how the framework looks and how each plant relates to the space around them. Keep in mind that removing too much foliage exposes the plant to more sunlight and just like us, plants get sunburned; citrus and crepe myrtles are particularly susceptible.

Hedges are also great candidates for a summer prune once the mad spring growth has slowed down. A summer tidy up should see you through to their next burst of growth in autumn.

Here is a list of plants that enjoy a prune after they flower in late spring early summer:

Azaleas & rhododendrons

Spirea

Flowering crabapples

Hawthron

Hydrangeas

Magnolias

Philedelphius

Laurel

Serviceberry

Watering…

Posted by | Garden Advice, Garden Design, Garden Maintenance, Uncategorized, Vegetable gardens, Watering | No Comments

4581-gardenwaterleadUnderstanding your soil type is the first step to effective watering.  Soil types can be broken into three basic categories, loam, clay and sand.

Loam soil – Loam is the ideal soil type, it holds water and drains well and can be watered deeply and infrequently.

Clay soil – Clay soil holds moisture for long periods however if allowed to dry out can become hard and hydrophobic and water can just run off. It can be improved by tilling with organic matter and by adding gypsum. Water deeply and slowly so that water can soak through.

Sandy soil – Sandy soils should be watered frequently in smaller volumes as water tends to drain away and soil will dry out again quickly.

This diagram shows how water is distributed in different soil types:

images

Building a loamy soil by adding compost and organic matter, breaking up clay with gypsum and adding coco-peat to sandy soils will make a huge difference to your garden’s water needs.

Great elements for building soil are cocopeat, compost, green manure, composted animal manure, straw and worm castings.

As discussed in an earlier article Mulch, mulch, mulch  – mulch can potentially reduce your water requirements by up to 60%. Cover beds with 75mm of composted pine mulch or 40mm of pea or cane mulch for vegetable beds.

At the end of the day, the plants in your garden will dictate how much you need to water. Good garden design and understanding the cultural needs of your plants will allow you to make decisions about when and how much water needs to be added.

One you know your soil type and your plants requirements, you water accordingly. If you are hose watering, you can test the flow rate by measuring the time it takes to fill a 10L bucket, which will give you a good idea, of how much water you are applying. Add water directly to the root zone.

Rather than frequent, surface watering, deep watering through the root zone encourages deep root development. In the long run, encouraging deep root development circumvents the need for regular supplementary watering – do this for juvenile trees, shrubs and perennials to establish strong root development and cut down on water consumption in the future. Plants with naturally shallow or fibrous root balls such as Camellia’s will always need frequent, regular watering as well as a good layer of leaf mold and mulch to keep the root ball cool and moist. Pot plants, annuals and vegetables will need frequent, regular watering.

Installing irrigation systems cuts out the labour and along with developing your soil can provide a customized supplementary water program that will allow your garden to flourish.

 

 

Hedging outside the box…

Posted by | Courtyard Garden, Garden Advice, Garden Design, Hedges, Landscape Advice, Uncategorized | No Comments

Want to create or update a hedge using something other than the ubiquitous English box or Cyprus?

Here a some ideas for creating beautiful hedges using less common plants, to great effect…
photo2Strawberry guava or Feijoa sellowiana creates a dense, soft grey hedge with gorgeous flowers and delicious fruit…an edible hedge!
Lulu-FoliageThere are many varieties of Lily Pily being produced such as Syzygium australe and Syzygium luehmannii that make wonderful hedges. They are native and therefore much better suited to our dry climate. There are many, many cultivars being produced with a wonderful variety of foliage colors to complement their gorgeous, cream blossoms.
Port-Wine-Magnolia-Hedge-2The beautiful and fragrant Port Wine Magnolia or Michelia figo can be cultivated as a beautiful hedge.
ficus_pumilaB
Creeping Fig, Ficus pumila can be used to quickly cover ugly brick or masonary fences to give the appearance of a low maintenance, neat, dense hedge.
maxresdefaultSalt Bush, Rhagodia spinescens, has soft grey foliage and is extremely hardy. With it’s silvery foliage it can be used to great effect as a hedge.
Correa-pulchella SG-2Correa pulchella or Salmon Correa has deep green leaves and punchy salmon pink blossoms. It makes a great, low hedge and as a native, is is very hardy.

SONY DSC

Flowering Quince, or Chaenomeles japonica makes a beautiful hedge. It is available in the deep pink/red or white flowering varieties. The blossoms appear before the leaves in late winter and make a stunning herald to spring.

Camellia

Sasanqua camellias are the fine leaves, prolific flowering camellias with the looser, more adaptable structures that can be encouraged to hedge.
l_plum_gorgeous11Loropetalum chinense is most commonly seen in its pink form, which has variegated foliage that blends from green to burgundy. It is a common hedging plant in Asia.
Callistemon-Perth-Pink-1Some varieties of Callistemon or Bottle Brush lend them selves beautifully to hedging such as. As natives, they are very hardy. Callistemon ‘Perth Pink’ is a great example.

b7494bccf0e1b238cdede177afbe0e08Leptospermum are commonly known as Manuka or Tea Tree and some varieties lend them selves beautifully to hedging, with their fine foliage, prolific flowers and gorgeous range of colours.
63c67155bdf98b411cd4bbbfbba5f1d8Rose hedges will require ongoing maintenance but are worth the effort for the stunning blossoms and that unbeatable fragrance.
backhousia-citriodora-lemon-scented-myrtle-5339
Lemon Scented Myrtle can be cultivated into a hedge and with its scented foliage and soft white blossoms makes a beautiful alternative.

Magnificent Magnolias

Posted by | Courtyard Garden, Garden Advice, Garden Design, Landscape Advice, Magnolia, Mulching, Ornamental Trees, Uncategorized, Winter | No Comments

magnolia-soulangeana_magnolia-genie-flowerHeralding the coming of spring, Magnolias, especially the deciduous varieties hold a special place in the hearts of many a gardener with their stunning displays of large, fragrant blooms on elegant naked branches. Originating in Asia there are over 100 species and unnumbered cultivars. They are well adapted to Australian conditions and provided you give them a good position and adequate food and water they will reward you for many years.

Magnolias can be a little sulky for the first few years so feed them well when you first plant them with a good compost, build a well around the base of the trunk to direct water into the root zone and mulch well to keep the roots moist and cool. Choose a north or east facing position with shelter from hot winds and frost.

Here are 10 of our favorites with a brief description and their height and width noted so you can make a good choice for your site:

Deciduous varieties

magnolia_x_soulangeana_flowers_16-03-11_1-2Magnolia x soulangeana
cv. 3m X 3m; one of the old varieties and the basis of many cultivars Magnolia x soulangeana is perhaps the most common Magnolia seen in Melbourne gardens.

Magnolia_stellata_RJBMagnolia stellata 1.5m X 1.5m; a slow-growing medium-sized deciduous shrub of broadly rounded habit, flowering in early spring. This Magnolia is particularly stunning because of it fine white petals. It also comes in a pink variety Magnolia stellate rosea.

Magnolia-Caerhays-Belle2-590by387Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ 7m X 5m; a very narrow, fastigiate shape, excellent for a small garden because it needs almost no pruning and has a beautiful fragrance.

Magnolia Philip TMagnolia ‘Phillip Tregunna’ 5m X 3m; an upright tree, with a vivid purple flower and a beautiful fragrance.

Magnolia rubyMagnolia ‘Ruby’ 3m X 2m; a beauty because of the beautiful, exquisite shape of the bud and also a white edge around each of the petals. Does well in a smaller garden and can be pruned to shape.

Magnolia vulcanMagnolia ‘Vulcan‘ 3m X 2m; a hybrid raised in New Zealand. The flowers are large, wine red and lightly perfumed.

Magnolia elizabethMagnolia ‘Elizabeth’ 4m X 2.5m; with perfumed primrose yellow fading to cream coloured flowers. It is later flowering than other magnolia varieties blossoming in late spring.

magnolia-royal-purpleMagnolia ‘Royal Purple’ 3.5m X 1.2m; a beautiful new magnolia from New Zealand; a narrow yet stunning column with 20cm cup and saucer shaped blooms, dark red purple with a gorgeous perfume. A great choice for a small space.

Evergreen varieties

magnolia Little gemMagnolia ‘Little Gem’ 5m X 2.5m; a very popular plant used as an ornamental lawn tree or as for screening and even hedging. It is an outstanding variety of Magnolia grandiflora with a compact habit, deep green discolourous leaves and large white blooms.

 Magnolia st maryMagnolia ‘St Mary’ 6m X 3m: A wider growing variety with large glossy apple green leaves. It is a hardy and versatile plant that will tolerate a range of conditions and is relatively pest and disease free. During the warmer months it produces beautiful, creamy-white, fragrant flowers and will flower from an early age.

Mulch, mulch, mulch

Posted by | Garden Advice, Garden Maintenance, Landscape Advice, Mulching, Uncategorized | No Comments

ch_wide_mulch_20121126231108575608-620x0
In our climate, mulching is one of the most sensible, cost effective treatments you can apply to your garden for all round positive results. Using the right mulch and using it the right way, can reduce the need to water by up to 60%, improve soil conditions, help minimize the need for manual weeding or herbicides and nourish your garden.

Your options for mulching are organic and inorganic. The inorganic mulches are pebbles, scoria and gravel – these should be used judiciously as they can be a challenge to maintain in some situations. Organic mulches range from lawn clippings, leaf litter, cubed mulches, baled lucerne or pea straw to the hardier composted bark mulches.

Organic mulches are your best option for overall garden health; as they slowly breakdown they encourage microbial activity and worms, which in turn nourish and oxygenate the soil as well as adding organic matter and improving soil structure. Good mulch will secure moisture in the top layer of the soil and discourage weeds, which compete with plants for nutrients and water.

Lawn clippings and leaf litter are a handy option, however are better put to use in the compost, as they are yet to breakdown. Using them as mulch can have the unwanted side effect of reducing the nitrogen in your soil, as the little microbes that will do the composting require nitrogen to go about their business. This is called nitrogen drawdown and anything that is not fully composted before adding to the garden can have this effect. It can however, be easily counteracted by applying a good fertilizer.

Cubed mulches, which are a chopped pea straw or lucerne, are easy to spread but will soften and break down quickly so are excellent as soil conditioners but not a mulch with any long term prospects.

Baled lucerne and pea straw are another great option, especially in productive garden beds as they supply all the benefits of good mulch but can be easily dug in to the soil at the end of a season to add essential organic matter. They are also inexpensive, easy to come by and easy to handle. Ordinary hay should be avoided, as it will invariably carry unwanted seeds.

If you are going for the bark mulch option, always choose composted bark mulch and select the grade or ‘coarseness’ carefully. Fine grade mulch can actually act as a barrier to water as it compacts and can also form a seedbed for unwanted weeds. The mulch should be medium to large grade and spread up to 7.5cm deep. These larger particle mulches allow water to trickle through to the soil and do not compact over time. Most of the bark mulches available to us are by products of the pine industry, which is an advantage, as these products tend to acidify the soil as they decompose which is great, as most plants prefer a neutral to lower pH soil.

Happy mulching!

mulched garden

Already know what you need? Click here to contact us. CONTACT US FOR A QUOTE