FLOWERSAll zones: Alyssum, cineraria, lobelia and stock.
Zones 2-5: Ageratum, calendula, Californian poppy, delphinium, foxglove, helichrysum, hollyhock, pansy, polyanthus, poppy, primula, snapdragon, sweet pea and viola.
Zones 6-8: Candytuft, cornflower, cosmos, nasturtium and nemesia.
VEGETABLESAll zones: Beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, radish and silverbeet.
Zones 2-6: Broad beans, brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, onion, peas, potato and spinach.
Zones 7-8: Capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, endive, lettuce, pumpkin and zucchini.
In your garden
- Add impact with the newly released, bright red Alstroemeria ‘Letizia’. Flowering for up to nine months of the year in sun or shade, it’s part of the Princess Lilies range from Ramm Botanicals.
- Inject cool blue with Plumbago ‘Royal Cape’. An oldie but a goodie, its clear, deep blue flowers appear from spring through to autumn.
- Look for the new Extravaganza Series of chrysanthemums, bred especially for garden planting. They form large domes of flowers up to 70cm high from late summer to autumn, with colours ranging from pastel lemons to hot orange and red tones. They’re released through Colourwise (www.colourwise.com).
- Keep petunias flowering and vigorous right through to winter with regular fertilising and deadheading.
- Drinking Guinness is a tradition on St Patrick’s Day, but 17 March is also the perfect time to plant sweet peas. Sow the seed in well-dug soil that drains well, water and fertilise regularly, and give them something to grow up.
- Smarten up patchy and worn lawns by re-sowing bare spots. Simply cultivate the bare soil with a rake or similar and sow a lawn repair mix – the best contain lawn seed, lawn fertiliser and a wetting agent.
- Spend the heat of the day inside with a good book, such as From Our Gardens, which celebrates the 150-year anniversary of the Royal Horticultural Society of NSW (www.rhsnsw.org.au).
- Divide clumps of bearded iris to increase numbers. Simply lift, separate and replant in a sunny spot. Water them in well.
- Give hedges a pre-winter shaping trim.
- Renovate citrus trees now to encourage a bumper fruit crop. First spread citrus food under the drip line of the tree and water in well. If leaves continue to show yellowing, also apply a solution of iron chelates. Look for pests such as scale on stems and foliage, or leaf miner, which shows up as silvery trails on leaves – spray with PestOil to treat both. During hot dry weather, water trees deeply at least once a week.
- In humid areas, look for fungal diseases, which often show up as white powdery residue on the upper or lower leaf surfaces. To treat, use a general purpose garden fungicide like Baycor. For black spots on rose leaves, use a rose-specific fungicide.
FLORAL FLOATAdd interest and tranquillity to a dull corner of your garden with a beautiful float bowl. They’re an ideal way to display flowers and petals that fall off before their time. Blooms that readily float include camellias, gardenias, gerberas and orchids – just remember to leave a short length of stem under the flower head to help with stability. Ornate glazed ceramic pots and planters make perfect floater bowls – simply seal the drainage holes with waterproof silicone.
If you love begonias, set aside Victoria’s Labour Day long weekend (March 10-12) to visit the 60th Birthday Ballarat Begonia Festival. There’ll be traditional garden displays as well as plenty of activities for the kids, including Australia’s largest portable farmyard. The event, which attracts more than 20,000 people each year, will be held at the stunning Ballarat Botanical Gardens and along the foreshore of Lake Wendouree – open daily from 10am to 5pm. Visit www.ballaratbegoniafestival.com for more details.