We are into planting season for much of the country that means spring is here. However for some of us it will be a little while longer before we are sure we have seen the last frost. Don’t let that stop you from beginning your herb garden. It can start in pots indoors and be transplanted outside when the weather is right.
About 5km from Winchelsea in rural Victoria, Australia is a farm that is home to Australia’s largest collection of dahlias. Over 2000 dahlia varieties are grown at the property, lovingly tended to by Jenny Parish, a specialist dahlia grower. Every year, for a few weeks in early autumn, the farm is open to the public to view and inspect the dahlias. For any dahlia lover to be able to see so many varieties in one place is well worth the trip. Orders for can be made when you visit and tubers are dispatched in early October to mid-November ready for planting in the summer garden. For more information visitCountry Dahlias
The sun rose this morning on a misty world, finding its way through scattered clouds. Although the air is chill, yet there is a feeling of spring burgeoning with determined inevitability in the hedgerows and fields. Houses huddle together for warmth, and in their gardens, sheltered by their fences and walls, warmth and light is contained and held, and flowers bloom there. I am missing my old garden… the new place is green, small shoots and the first leaves adorn my tiny flowerbed, but the riotous energy of earlier springs is absent.
It seems a little odd at first glance that these man-made oases should see the blossoming of springtime before the garden of Mother nature herself, yet perhaps it is not really so. The flowers and buds that retain their wildness are less showy, less colourful, perhaps, than the cultivars that we plant and tend assiduously, and we notice…
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The summer garden wouldn’t be the same without hydrangeas. These old-fashioned shrubs have made a resurgence in recent years but for us they never really went out of fashion. When planting hydrangeas think position, position, position- they need a semi-shade spot away from the harsh afternoon sun and strong, hot winds. Other golden rules are to water deeply and regularly through summer (leaves will start to droop telling you its time to water), apply a liquid fertiliser in spring and autumn and mulch year round to protect roots. The colour of these spectacular blooms will alter depending on the soil – more acidic soils produce blue blooms, alkaline soil produce red, pink and purple whereas white will stay white regardless of the soil. Following a few simple rules will reward you with beautiful blooms every summer.
Whether you live in the countryside with acres of land to spare, or in the middle of the city with only a balcony you can create a simple herb garden that will provide you with an abundance of herbs. Here are some of our top tips to get you started:
- Choose the right position. Most herbs like up to 6 hours of sunlight per day so try to find a sunny, sheltered position preferably close to the kitchen so you can easily access your herbs when you are cooking.
- Use a variety of pots in different shapes and sizes to add interest and make the garden visually appealing.
- Use good quality potting mix, or if you are using soil from your yard or garden make sure it is well fertilised.
- Some herbs (like mint) can grow like wildfire so check each seedlings label to choose the right size pots.
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