Spring is the time of year that we see the secrets of good earth revealed. It is the time of regeneration, renewal and revival as plants of all sizes, shapes and textures produce wonderful displays of fresh new foliage and flowers.
In cooler regions gardens are alive with brilliant colour as deciduous trees such as flowering cherries, flowering peaches, flowering plums and ornamental pears transform the landscape with stunning displays. Magnolias are absolutely covered in tulip shaped flowers in shades of whites, pinks, mauves and purples. Lilacs are beginning to bloom and add their fragrance to the wonderful sweet scents of spring. Ornamental foliage trees such as maples, elms, ashes, gleditsias, liquidambars and plane trees are covered in the shades of spring growth and freshness.
In warmer areas Bauhinia trees are covered in spring flowers and looking bright and beautiful. Deciduous feature plants such as Frangipanis are beginning to burst into leaf and will soon be producing their tropical colours and fragrances. Poinciana and jacaranda trees will soon be transforming streets, parks and gardens with colour.
Prepare for Success
There are so many fantastic plants to create wonderful gardens and landscapes. The better your soil, the better your garden. Rocky Point’s ActivGrow is a well-balanced organic soil improver designed to reinvigorate garden beds and tired soils. ActivGrow is suitable for all soil types and will help produce healthier, lush plants and increased yields. Once planting is complete, adding a generous application of Rocky Point ActivGrow Fertiliser Pellets will ensure the very best results.
The Time of Planting
Local garden centres and plant retailers are an exciting destination during Spring. They are filled with inspiration, life and colour. There are garden treasures everywhere to delight the senses. With the changes that we are experiencing in our world, Brunfelsia is a great old fashioned plant that is brilliant for these times. Commonly known as the ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ plant, the flowers of the Brunfelsia change from opening a violet colour, fading to lavender blue and then white, with the three colours on the bush at the same time. The flowers are sweetly perfumed and the plant flowers prolifically from early September to late November and will thrive in most regions. This plant is a great reminder that the beauty of the past, the reality of the present, and the hope of the future can all work together with stunning results.
Carpets of Colour
As well as the vast selection of trees, shrubs, climbing plants, fruiting plants, flowers, herbs and vegetables, there is a wonderful range of low growing plants that create carpets of brilliant colour during the Spring.
These plants are often called ground covers and are fabulous to grow in garden beds with other taller plants or mass planted to become an impressive feature on their own. Ground covers are excellent to grow on steep banks and slopes. They will stabilise the ground, minimise erosion and have these hard to maintain areas looking bright and beautiful.
Osteospermum or African Daisies are very hardy low growing plants. There have been many new varieties bred over recent years and there is an amazing selection of colours and forms available. This plant has adapted beautifully to Australian conditions. They are drought hardy and will flower almost all year with outstanding spring displays being produced.
There are also some wonderful climbing plants that become ground cover plants when there is not a structure to grow up. Trachelospermum jasminoides or Star Jasmine is a fast growing vine that can be grown as a climber or ground cover plant. It has lush green foliage and will cover in highly perfumed white star-like flowers in spring and summer.
There are also many great native plants that produce brilliant displays of colour carpets. Brachycome grows naturally in many regions of Australia and produces long flowering displays of dainty blue, pink, mauve or white flowers throughout the Spring and Summer. There are low growing varieties of native plants including Grevilleas, Banksias, Teatrees, Myroporums, native pigface and Thryptomene that will create wonderful carpets of colour.
Because of their low spreading habit, ground cover plants are also great to create hanging gardens in baskets and pots. As with all plants grown in pots or hanging baskets, the quality of the potting mix used is crucial for success. Rocky Point Coco Pro is the professional nursery grade potting mix suitable for most types of plants. Sustainably produced with 40% Coir, Coco Pro features premium quality slow and controlled release fertilisers that feed and nourish plants for up to 14 months.
Lawns are the ultimate living carpet. The warmer temperatures and increasing daylight hours of Spring is the green light for lawns to grow. Now is the perfect time to rejuvenate your lawn. Top dressing the lawn will level out humps or low patches. Rocky Point OptiLawn is perfect for this now the lawns are actively growing. With lawns growing so well, there is the temptation to shear these off, but it is best to lift your mower blades to allow a longer lawn and a stronger, deeper root system. Dethatching, aeration, coring, scarification, pH checks and corrections, conditioning, weed control, fertilising and drought proofing the lawn can all happen now. Sounds complicated but it’s not. Ask your garden retailer for the best expert local advice to achieve beautiful green lawn carpets.
The Edible Garden
There is an abundance of fruiting trees, berries, small fruits, herbs and vegetable seeds and seedlings to plant during the Spring. A visit to your local garden retailer will have you excited about the options of growing your own fresh and healthy food at home.
The planting of tomato plants is a highlight of Spring gardening. Tomatoes love the warmth and grow best in southern areas of Australia from mid spring into the summer. In warmer areas, they can be grown all year. The plants are fast growing and fruits form and develop quickly once the conditions are favourable.
Where to grow
Tomatoes love plenty of light and require at least 4 hours of direct sun each day. A nice sunny garden bed with lots of air circulation is ideal. Plant tomato seedlings once the soil temperature reaches 15 degrees and the risk of frost has passed.
Prepare the soil
If planting in garden beds, prepare the soil by digging through quality garden compost and animal manure. Rocky Point’s range of quality composts and animal manures are perfect for the task. Rocky Point ActivGrow is a well-balanced organic soil improver that is brilliant for preparing the Tomato patch. ActivGrow is suitable for all soil types and will ensure a bumper harvest of healthy and tasty fruit.
There are many varieties of tomatoes. They produce different sized fruit from cherry tomatoes to large fruits such as Beefsteak or Big Red. There are different colours, flavours, shapes and growing habits so check with the experts at your garden centre to select the best varieties that suit your needs.
Tomato plants are available in seedling punnets, cell packs or in single pots. These single pots are very popular as they allow a selection of different varieties to be made without ending up with too many plants.
Whichever variety you select, the fruits are all filled with nutrients, antioxidants and home-grown tomatoes are fresh, flavoursome and fun to grow.
Tomatoes in Pots
Growing tomatoes in pots is very popular and gives the opportunity for an early start in a sheltered position before moving the potted plant out once conditions are right.
Although most tomatoes will grow in a suitable size pot, shorter growing varieties such as Patio Prize and First Prize are ideal without the need for tall stakes or trellis.
When growing tomatoes in pots, always use a premium quality potting mix with slow release fertiliser added as well as water retention granules. There are some specialised potting mixes that are formulated for growing tomatoes, but Rocky Point Coco Pro is designed to replace the need for multiple specialty potting mixes and is ideal for growing tomatoes in pots and containers.
Pests and Diseases
Tomatoes grow quickly and generally a healthy well-fertilised and well-watered plant will not be prone to serious disease problems. Should a tomato plant experience any major problems, it is better to discard the plant rather than risk the problem spreading to other healthy plants. There are a few bugs to watch for such as aphids and caterpillars. Safe sprays are available so ask your garden retail expert for the best local advice.
With so much Spring gardening activity happening, complete every project by mulching. To mulch existing and newly planted garden beds will help to hold onto any precious moisture that has soaked the earth. It will have the garden beds looking great and will help to suppress weeds. Rocky Point is proudly one of Australia’s leading producers of the finest mulches for the home garden. There is a great range available to suit every garden style.
Enjoy the discoveries of the earth’s secrets that will be revealed in the garden this October.