28 Jul 2019

Winter tasks in your garden

Frangipani are small trees and their perfumed flowers are evocative of the SE Queensland subtropical environment. Most common are the deciduous varieties. At this time of year they are relatively dormant and any branches that have been pruned to restrict size can be used to create new plants.

Branches as small as 100-150mm can be left in a dry place for a week or two for the cut ends to seal and dry.

Ensure cuttings are potted in a stable size container of free draining potting mix and supported well. Place in a warm area of the garden and water sparingly. They can be planted out once roots have formed.

As part of the winter cleanup, if there are still fallen frangipani leaves on the ground, ensure they are collected and placed in a household rubbish bin, to reduce incidence of re-infection with frangipani rust.

Like Frangipani, Citrus (below) don’t generally require a lot of pruning, but now is a good time to formatively prune for shape and size and remove dead and unhealthy wood. This includes swellings caused by the gall wasp.

Another winter task for your lawn is not to forget that now is the time to attack Bindii. If you wait until prickles form, it’s too late to save your your feet during the summer months. It is simple to check the lawn for the low-growing rosettes of carrot-like foliage (below). In some circumstances single plants can be dug out by hand, but larger infestations may require a selective spray. Clover can also be a particular problem at this time of year, but be mindful that the bees use this as a good source of nectar. Ask at your local garden centre for suitable control products.


17 Feb 2019
Autumn garden

Autumn in your garden

Although summer is usually the wettest season on the Gold Coast, this year has been drier the usual, with January one of the driest on record. A lot of specimen trees have been suffering from lack of water, but the Ivory curl trees, Buckinghamia celsissima (below), have been a picture, this month.

Autumn garden
Ivory curl tree in full flower.

Water stressed plants are more susceptible to pest and disease infestation, so they will benefit from an application of general fertiliser, to give them a boost for the autumn growing season. Small frequent applications are beneficial, especially if we get late summer rain and storms, which can leach out nutrients.

Pay attention to pH, as acidity in the soil can also have a detrimental effect on plants. Lime (calcium carbonate), or dolomite, which has magnesium, both help improve soil pH and reduce acidity. Vegetable gardens also benefit from an application of lime, if you are planting peas or beans this time of year.

Just remember February still has high temperatures, so if it is too hot to get outside start planning for the cooler months ahead.

03 Sep 2018

Spring gardening

The spring has sprung on the Gold Coast. September heralds the beginning of the growth season in the garden. Time to get out in the garden

15 Apr 2018
Autumn gardening

Autumn gardening


The  weeks after the Easter break herald the time to start your autumn gardening. When I see the Ivory Curl tree, Buckinghamia celsissima, flowering (below), I know that this marks the end of summer and the time to prepare for the cooler months ahead. On that note, this year, the Ivory curl trees around the Gold Coast, are putting on a fabulous display. It has been a good growing season with the trees covered in long creamy re-curved flowers, producing an amazing fragrance and being exceptionally popular wth the birds. Heliconias (pictured below) are also flowering profusely and are an integral part of any subtropical garden. Easy to grow and propagate.


Autumn gardening


Autumn Lawn Care

Lawn care needs to be at the  top of your autumn garden planning to do list, as March and April, because of soil warmth, are the optimal time to fertilise your turf. Fertilizing while the lawn is actively growing, will encourage strong root growth and help it retain its green colour and maintain overall health and vigour throughout the winter months. You need to be especially vigilant this time of year for signs of lawn grub as they can devastate your lawn. If you notice any discolouration, or brown patches in your turf (below), it is time to get out your grub treatment to eradicate these pests.


Autumn gardening

Autumn Gardening Care

Autumn brings a jubilant display of colour and lushness to the garden, not to mention a bountiful harvest from the vegetable garden. The latter days of summer also encourages a profusion of pests. Grass hoppers and caterpillars are still on the roam, so keep an eye on your leafy greens. My basil is a good indicator, as chewed leaves warrant a closer inspection and a timely pest treatment of your herb and vegetable garden.

Pruning of trees and shrubs to remove dead, dying and diseased wood and spent flowers and the trimming of hedges is another must do autumn project. The latter is important, as a trim now will keep your hedges bushy and compact, before the onset of winter. When pruning always make sure you use clean, sharp tools, to avoid the risk of infection and to encourage a speedy healing process within the plant tissue.


Autumn gardening


Planting  of trees, shrubs and perennials can be undertaken in autumn, as there is still enough warmth in the soil for them to establish. Remember, Fruit trees can be planted in Autumn, all you need is full sun and soil with good drainage. An addition of mulch this time of year, to your garden beds and around tree bases will help retain moisture, inhibit weed growth and freshen up your garden.

With the promise of cooler days ahead, sit down and start your Autumn garden planning, then get outside next week and tackle those must do gardening jobs.

Before you know it, Spring will be upon us!

26 Mar 2018
Autumn rain

Autumn rain

The summer storm season has been prevalent this year and the autumn rain has been welcome in the garden.

18 Jan 2018


Grasshoppers are in abundance in the garden at this time of year and if left unchecked can cause devastation to your plants. The warm temperatures at present are favourable for grasshoppers to breed.

12 Jan 2018
Spectacular gingers

Spectacular Gingers

At present, we are seeing some spectacular gingers flowering in the garden. We are all familiar with the ginger rhizome we use for culinary purpose, but there are some interesting species that are not used as often as they should.

04 Jan 2018


Mealybugs are prevalent in the garden at this time of year. They are small insects covered in a white mealy coat.