Eremophila Eupatorium (mist bush)
Euphorbia cotinifolia (new leaves)
Fiddlewood (turning yellow)
Gardenia Graptophyllum ilicifolium
Robinia Pseudo-acacia ‘freesia’ (new leaves)
Roses Ruttya fruticosa
Arthropodium (Renga Renga lily)
Iris Lousiana Iris versicolor
Knifofia Lapeirousia grandiflora
Maurandya (climbing foxglove)
Tecomanthe ‘Roaring meg’
Lorraine Lee Rose
Tecomanthe 'roaring Meg'
WHAT IS FEATURING IN THE GARDEN IN OCTOBER:
Because we are in our driest period, it is imperative to keep an eye on the watering. Make sure the garden beds do not dry out too much. The subtropical and tropical plants do expect a dry period and although they may look a little languid without water, they will recover well. It is best to wait until the summer rains come before planting any new plants as they need follow up water until their roots are established. Even drought tolerant plants need water to establish.
Irises have been around for a long time and their flowers are stylised in the model for the fleur-de-lis. Their flowers have 6 petals: 3 erect petals known as standards and 3 downward-curving petals known as falls, which may be bearded, beardless, or crested. Iris is Greek for rainbow as irises come in many different colours.
There is an iris for just about any situation, it is a matter of knowing which one is best suited to where. There are two water irises which grow very well here in the South East. The Louisiana Iris and Iris versicolour. Both these irises don’t mind if they dry out for a short period and will grow in a boggy situation or sitting in about 15 centimetres of water. Louisiana Iris flowers are large and ‘blowsy’ and come in a wonderful range of colours from white, yellow, pinks, mauves and purples. Iris versicolour is blue like the Dutch iris but like the Louisiana iris it has a rhizome. Both these irises flower in October and must have constant water throughout winter.
The irises that grow well in a dry part of the garden is Iris wattii and a small purple hybrid which is probably from the pacific coast. Wattii is also called the walking iris as it gets plantlets on the tip of its leaves and will root where it touches the ground. It is however a good plant for a hanging basket or a very dry situation which will keep it in check. The Pacific Coast iris is happy in full sun in a well drained situation.
All these irises like full sun and will spread to form a clump. Once the clump has become large it can be divided and this is best done after flowering has finished.
The Cliveas are putting on a wonderful show. They look particularly good planted en-masse as most bulbs should be planted. They don’t mind our dry spring, in fact they relish in it and are quite happy under trees where they don't mind the competition of tree roots. Last years flowers are showing off lovely red and cream berries which can be left to seed naturally in-situ or potted and put in a bush house or under a shady tree. The cream berries are indicative of the plants with cream flowers and the red of the orange flowers. They do take several years to flower but are a good source of new plants and just maybe you will get a new type. I leave my Clivea plants to clump up rather than divide them as I find they flower better if left undisturbed. Cliveas are very undemanding plants and are happy with some leaf mould and mulch during the summer months.
Jobs to do:
Cut back Brillantasia, Eranthemums, Senecio petasites, Poinsettias, Spiraea, Photinias, Banksian Rose and Eupatoriums after they have finished flowering. It is always wise to take cuttings of perennials in case you loose them or if you want more plants to put in. The cuttings can be put in a pot and put in a shady place and keep well watered. The Poinsettias will strike better if they are left a week to dry out a bit before you put the cutting into a pot of soil. Early morning is the best time to take cuttings. Cut a piece of stem about 50 mm below a good node and cut the top off, leaving a cutting about 30 cm long. Cut any leaves off the stem and place the node about 50mm below the level of the potting mix.
Collect seeds from Sweet peas and nasturtiums for next year’s crop. Store them in an envelope and mark with date and name. I also do this with vegetable seeds as I think it is better to re-seed tried and true vegetable strains than buy in ones you don’t know. When I collect seeds from Frangipani trees or vines which are large, I tie a paper bag around the stem so that they automatically disperse into the bag instead of the air and loosing them.
Nasturtiums are browning off with the heat, so rake all the long runners onto the garden beds and mulch over the top. Being from the pea family they do provide a good nitrogen source for the soil. They will come back again next year from this year’s seeds which you can leave or collect to sow them in a different place in autumn.
Watering is essential in the vegetable garden in this hot and dry period. It is very rewarding to be able to pick a variety of herbs as well as silver beet, beans, lettuce and tomatoes.
Repot Cymbidiums, Cattleyas, Dendrobiums Vandas and Oncidiums.
A good sign that orchid media has broken down is if there are weeds in the pot or if you see a white mould in the base of the pot. Roots hanging over the side of the pot or basket is not a problem as the roots of orchids search for food and water
Always use orchid bark as it is the hardest bark and does not break down like ordinary bark. I always use the largest bark.
IN THE GARDEN