The humidity and late summer rain, has given a burst of growth to the garden. Bougainvillea’s are putting on a lot of vegetative growth over the last few weeks, so make sure you keep these plants in check, with judicious pruning. The Heliconias (see below) are also loving the summer rain and flowering profusely. They are such a great plant for the Gold Coast garden, renowned for their colour and leaf texture.
After a good downpour of summer rain it is an opportune time to mulch the garden beds. A 50 mm top up of good quality mulch, will help retain moisture and inhibit weed growth.
You will recall from a previous post on the added bonus of summer rain- storms and lightning.
A lightning bolt is 27,000 degrees Celsius, hotter than the sun and contains up to a billion volts of electricity. The intense heat and electric charges produced by lightning causes the nitrogen molecules in the air to cling to the oxygen molecules. This bond forms Nitric Oxide (NO), which then oxides into Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), then to Nitric Acid (HNO3). This will either fall from the sky, or be collected by the rain drops – bringing a form of nitrogen that can now be used by the plants.
When plants receive this supercharged dose of available nitrogen, it helps them become brighter, healthier, and greener.
So when the summer rain and storms come, remember gardeners love lightning more than the light show. We love lightning for all those nitrogen charged rain drops packaged as natural fertiliser that falls from the sky.