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September 20th, 2019 by admin

October in the garden

SPECTACULAR: Magnolias have been spectacular this year after our wet and mild winter. Picture: Liz ChappellGardens across the New England are on the cusp of a remarkable spring after an unseasonably wet and relatively mild winter. Have you noticed already how much taller the stems are on the first flowers of hellebores and daffodils?
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Our garden is colder than most, being very close to the river, so many spring delights like camellias and magnolias, already fading in warmer gardens, are just reaching their peak, and fingers crossed, will escape a late frost.

We rarely see October through without at least a couple of frosty nights though. So I follow the old advice of not planting out tomatoes until after Melbourne Cup Day. That also applies for petunias, marguerite daisies and any potted plants that have been raised in warmer areas.

Many of the exotic plants and bulbs we grow have their origins in Mediterranean climates where winters are typically wet and summers hot and dry, more like south-eastern Australia than the New England. This damp winter has suited them well. Deep soil moisture will give new shrubs and trees a great start too.

I’m especially thrilled to find that several favourite plants I thought had succumbed to the extended dry weather last autumn are now springing back to life. Once of my favourite cranesbill geraniums, G. Mrs H D Maddox, which is fully herbaceous, has reappeared and some clematis, including the lovely double purple C. Kiri te Kanawa, have healthy new shoots after looking most dejected a few months ago.

JOBS THIS MONTHPruning is an ongoing task in a large garden. Now is when we tackle the hedges and evergreen shrubs. Our large Leyland cypress hedge is starting to look a bit shaggy so a tidy up now will keep it in shape until after Christmas. Most of the common evergreens used as hedges and structural shrubs: Elaeagnus, Pittosporum, Escallonia and Euonymous to mention just a few, benefit from a light prune now and another shape up in mid-summer.

Modern and floribunda roses will have fresh new growth after pruning in August. But if you didn’t get around to that, don’t stress. They will flower anyway and you can prune instead of dead heading after their first flowering. Many old fashioned and heritage roses, however, are a different matter. Those that only flower once, such as the damasks, gallicas, spinosissimas (Scot’s roses) and many rugosas should only be pruned after flowering. Our rugosa “Vanguard” was missed last summer and is now as tall as the garage. Its lovely double apricot blooms will be out of sight, but I will cut it down to size later.

GARDEN VISITINGVisiting other gardens in our area is one of the best sources of new ideas for plant choices and design inspiration. Usually the garden owners are very happy to chat with visitors and share tips. Some also have plant stalls. We have a fine array of garden events coming up in the district.

October 7 and 8 (Friday and Saturday): Stanthorpe Garden Fest. Plants, Landscaping supplies, crafts. (07)46811363.

October 29 and 30. Invergowrie Homestead, Armidale. Sesquicentenary garden opening proceeds benefit Heritage Rose Garden at Saumarez Homestead, also open same weekend. Contact: Australian Garden History Society, 67750046

November 7 and 8. St Peter’s Gardens Armidale. Ten gardens in and around Armidale.

November 19 and 20. Glen Innes Anglican Church Garden Tour. Four of the district’s finest gardens.

Walcha garden festival. Contact Walcha Visitor Information Centre 67742460.

Liz Chappell is author of “Celebrate the Seasons: Garden memoirs from New England” and former regional coordinator for Australia’s Open Garden Scheme. 苏州美甲培训lizchappell苏州美甲培训419论坛

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