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Garden with Jill

Hi gardeners, 

Welcome to 2024. How joyful our gardens are at the moment with the rain we have received, which promotes flower colour, dense foliage and rapid growth of your plants. I am not Nostradamus, the 16th century French astrologer, but my vision for the future is for abundant blooms, excellent fruit and veggies and our January gardens to survive the summer conditions. 



Impatiens and fuchsias can be subjected to attack by red spider mite, due to the hot humid conditions. Impatiens will be getting leggy and will enjoy a summer prune, with both varieties of plants enjoying a feed of either Charlie Carp or Maxicrop. 


Aphids will be attacking your roses. Weeds growing around the roses hide these pests, so a regular check and an insecticide spray should be able to control the aphids. 


Dahlias may be cut back to the second or third set of leaves from the base.  Apply a slow-release fertiliser, then a liquid fertiliser once the flower buds form. 


The most important thing to do for your garden is to MULCH NOW. I know I do bang on about wetting agents and mulch, but it is just about impossible to use too much mulch. Remember, pull the mulch back before applying your slow-release fertiliser and then reapply the mulch (approximately 100mm thick). 



This beautiful plant needs plenty of water. If they don't receive sufficient moisture, they will ditch their flower buds and start losing their older leaves. Remember mulch will help reduce water evaporation by about 70%. Being gross feeders, don't forget your complete Hibiscus Fertiliser every three weeks from October to May and water in well. If the buds are dropping, it may be the heliothis moth. Try Carbary for control, but do not use a systemic spray as Hibiscus cannot tolerate their use. 



Summer brings on your fruit. Watering daily will stop the vine from drying out and your fruit from shrivelling. If the leaves start to go yellow, give the vine a feed of manganese. Being another gross feeder, a monthly feed of Citrus and Fruit Tree fertiliser should be applied. I love the intense aroma of the yellow passionfruit. 



With the recent rain lawns may be subjected to dollar spot or other fungal diseases. These can be treated with Mancozeb. Remember, a good deep water every second or third day really helps the lawn to survive the summer heat. 



These plants will soon be producing runners which can be planted out in March. The herb Sage is a good companion for your strawberry plants, with the plants enjoying a watering with some cold sage tea. 


Pepper or chilli powder can control unwanted guests on your eggplants by applying to the leaves. The flavour of tomatoes can be improved by planting Lemon Balm as a companion plant. Basil is not just a companion plant for your tomatoes but helps keeping away whitefly. It also helps to keep away the bane of our existence - flies and mosquitoes. 



You would have noticed that the December 2023 newspaper article was cut short due to unforeseen circumstances. I now take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Happy New Year and all the best for 2024. I am adding the missed section below:- 


Always prune the whole plant to keep a balanced appearance. If removing a branch, you can use a product like steri-prune to the exposed area to prevent disease. To help the plant and aid recovery, water the plant well after pruning. Last but not least, wash your pruning tools well, clean and sharpen, dry well. 


The difference between a great garden lies with your choice of garden and wall artistry. Wall art, ornaments, statues and water features transform garden and entertainment areas. Creating your own personal sanctuary, bringing joy, colour and life to your home and garden. 


I've always wanted to write a coffee table book on the memorial benches I see and sit on in parks and gardens. You may also see a large stone with a plaque in some of the Botanic Gardens dedicated to someone. 

Special occasions, like Christmas, Easter or birthdays, we take time to remember those who are no longer with us. I often wonder about the person that the memorial bench seat has been named after. Was it the place that a couple first met? Was it the place of their first kiss or a proposal of marriage? Or honouring a special person? I went onto the City of Moreton Bay Council website and found out the details of how these personal tributes in parks and public open spaces can be applied for by you. A wonderful and personal tribute to someone taken from us, but remembered fondly and always in our thoughts. 

Happy gardening, 



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