In the Garden: November



With summer days on the way here are some handy tips for shady gardens under trees.

If planting under trees - ensure that it is weed free - loosen surface of soil with garden fork - avoid heavy digging or risk damage to tree roots.

Spread manure and a wetting agent over area, fork in lightly and water well.

The wetting agent will give your new plants a fighting chance by helping the soil to accept moisture more readily.

Choose plants in small pots so they will be easier to plant among the tree roots - for large areas consider selecting some spreading ground-covers.

After planting; mulch the surface to help moisture retention.
Some plants to consider:

  • Bromeliad, Clivia, Dietes,

  • Liriope, Lomandra, Vinca

Want to bring in the birds?

If you would like to entice a few more of our feathered friends to make a flying visit consider some of these flowering beauties to attract them.

Some of the best natives with high nectar content to consider are:

  • Grevillea, Banksia, Bottlebrush.

Others to consider for food attracting properties are:

  • Kangaroo Paws(Bush Gems),Lillypilli, Tea Tree,

  • Flannel Flowers, Wattles.


Prune plants such as Gardenia and Azaleas after flowering then feed with liquid fertilisers.

Other shrubs just need tip pruning.

For large trees or shrubs only prune dead or diseased branches as the hot weather and humidity can encourage fungal infections to take hold.

Major pruning should be done in the cooler months.

Natives such as Bottlebrushes, if pruned ruthlessly as their flower spikes fade, will become dense and bushy.

Next season they should produce an even greater number of flowers.


Native and Exotic.

This time of year marks the end of the flowering season for many ornamentals.

All your ornamentals can be given a sprinkling of blood and bone or a soil improver, ensure to water first and then again after spreading.

Natives that have finished blooming can be pruned to give a bushier, wind resistant shape. eg: Acacias, Banksias, Boronias and Grevilleas to name a few.

Exotics - many of these can also be given a light prune or at least dead headed to remove spent flowers.

Plants like Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Camellias have shallow root systems which can dry out very easily. Help prepare them for the hotter weather by watering deeply and then reducing moisture loss by mulching heavily around them.

Annuals - while relatively short lived are well worth the effort - they are very adaptable and rewarding, as in one season they pass through every stage of growth and most time is spent in bloom!

While they can be grown all year round they are used mainly for summer display.

They can be used to fill in gaps between existing plants, in a bed of their own; even tubs or container display.

Seeds or seedlings to consider this month:

  • Alyssum, Amaranthus, Aster (and the aster family), Balsam, Begonia, California and Oriental Poppy, Carnation, Celosia, Cornflower,Chryasanthemum, Cosmos

  • Dahlia, Daisy(incl Black Eyed Susan - Rudbeckia), Delphinium(and family), Dianthus, Gazania, Geranium, Gerbera, Gypsophila(Baby's breath), Hollyhock, Impatiens

  • Lobelia, Lupin, Marigold, Mimulus, Myosotis(Forget me Not), Nasturtium, Pansy, Petunia, Phlox, Portulaca, Salvia, Snapdragon, Statice, Stock, Sunflower

  • Torenia, Tritoma, Verbena, Vinca, Zinnia


(e) this is the last month to plant out and achieve best results

(p) there will be another chance next month to get it in the ground.

(b) this is the beginning of the season so in general we will have a bit of time.

(su) start undercover in seed trays before transplanting to garden.
(t) transplant seedlings to beds  

  • Asparagus(e), Basil(t), Beetroot, Cabbage(t), Cape Gooseberry, Capsicum(t), Carrot(e), Celery(t), Chilli(t), Chives, Choko(p)(e),

  •  Climbing Beans, Cucumber, Dwarf/ French Beans,  Eggplant(t), French Tarragon, Ginger(p), Globe Artichoke(e),

  •  Lemon Balm(e)  Lettuce, Marrow(t), Mint(t), Mustard Greens, Okra(t), Oregano,  Parsley, Pumpkin, Radish, Rockmelon(t), Rosella, Sage(e), Silverbeet,  Squash(t), Sunflower,

  • Sweet Corn, Sweet Marjoram(t), Sweet Potato/Kumara(e), Taro(e), Thyme(t), Tomatillo(t),Tomato(t), Turnip, Watermelon(t), Warrigal Greens(NZ Spinach)(t), Yam(e),  Zucchini(t)

Young carrots that were sown in August/September will be ready to thin and to eat. Try to weed control between the rows to give them the best possible chance once thinned.


Planning to Plant

As the warmer weather begins a lot of gardening activities will need to be done early in the morning or late afternoon.
You need to keep the vegetable patch well watered (as restrictions allow) at regular intervals and mulched with sugar cane or Lucerne to help prevent the beds drying out too quickly.
If they do dry out too much plants can bolt (run to seed) or produce small and bitter fruit.

Everything is growing fast at this time of the year and regular feeding is needed to keep them in perfect health.
A liquid fertilizer such as Searle’s Fish and Kelp or Seaweed solution will help promote growth.
Organic manures can also be used such as Searle’s 5 in 1.



All parts of the garden will want water quite desperately from now on - and once it has been allowed to dry out  - resists being brought back to a moist state.
If water is applied at the wrong time of day most can be lost by evaporation within a couple of hours.
If the wrong amount is given it is possible to make plants more vulnerable to drought conditions.
Generally as a basic rule of thumb, it is much better to water occasionally but deeply rather than often and lightly.
Of course with all rules there is the exception.

If you have a vegetable garden this will of course be one of the most important parts of the garden when it comes to priority.
This will need to be watered daily unless it rains fairly heavily for more than a couple of hours.
The most effective way of watering the vegetable garden is with a soaker hose.
They have great coverage and if you have a large vegetable garden more than one hose can be joined together. With reasonable pressure these hoses may end up with a wetting width of up to 4 metres.

Ornamental gardens including Camellias, Citrus and Roses benfit more from the drip type hose.

Watering by means of hand holding or a sprinkler is good for young seedling or other plants - but once a tree or shrub is established this is a worse than useless exercise.
Unless you are happy to stand at each plant for long periods;  shallow watering usually occurs causing roots of plants to head to towards the moisture -meaning the surface - making them susceptible to drought conditions they may have otherwise survived.

Whether you have a flat or sloped site will make all the difference to watering techniques applied for best results.
This is covered under Lawn.


With the weather having warmed up quite substantially already you can now give any houseplants a huge treat by placing them outside whenever it rains.
Ensure to keep them out of wind and full sun. Also be mindful if the rain turns extra heavy to salvage them quickly.

Now is also the time to increase the rate of watering and regular feeding - be mindful to remove surplus water from saucers.


These seem to be affected by the increase in early heat more than other plants -meaning that with in a few days of blooming the flower may be spent or withered.
It makes it very important to remove these spent blooms to keep the plants energy on creating more flowers rather than seed formation.
Just snapping off the dying blooms is enough to ensure another lot of buds - however if you are able to prune back to the next healthy leaf junction it should ensure good quality second round of blooms - even if not quite as good as the first.

Feeding and watering is also one of the essential tasks to keep Roses at their peak.

A big mistake would be to only water lightly - allowing moisture penetration only a few centimetres below the surface -as the roots of the plant will then head towards the surface seeking the moisture - which will make them more vulnerable as the heat and dry of summer proper approaches.


If sowing lawn from seed they can still be sown this month.
If summer is dry it will mean non stop watering every day for months.

For established lawns watering can be virtually sacrificed, knowing that recovery is inevitable.
While you may end up staring at brown withered grass - recall the vigourous growing.. and mowing over the last couple of months.

You can help Lawn conserve any water applied to it by allowing a little more length when mowing.
This in itself will help shade the roots from the suns heat as well as drying effects of wind.

The most effective way of watering a lawn on a slope or showing signs of becoming dry is in short bursts of 5 minutes at a time.
Eliminating run off and allowing time for it to penetrate deeply.

You may have noticed already - the grass grows quite fast at this time of year, if possible try and cut each week to about 25mm, if you go lower than this you can scalp the lawn which then provides bare patch for weeds to establish.
If weeds do occur we have a wide range of weed killers for all types of lawn including buffalo.
To keep the lawn green and lush use a fertiliser such as Eco 88.
If you do have bare patches we can provide turf for quick results or lawn seed in various kg sizes. By re- establishing you will reduce the chance of a water repellent crust forming

Citrus / Fruit

Over-vigorous fruit trees can be pruned for effective control and any unnecessary inward growing wood can be removed.

All fruit trees can do with plenty of water and liquid fertilisers as they are producing both fruit and foliage and their moisture needs should be constantly satisfied otherwise weakness will set in and yields lessen.


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