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Hi Gardeners

Are you ready for the demanding conditions that will be experiencing in the coming months? December in Queensland we will experience long periods of unrelenting hot, dry weather. Drought conditions are not really understood by gardeners living in the city, many gardeners use water indiscriminately. Good soil preparation, feeding, composting, mulching and water conservation are the means to successful gardening. Gardeners dealing with ‘sandy’ soil often experience great difficulty in ‘wetting’ the ground despite heavy applications of water. The soil is water repellent and dry organic matter in the soil resists moisture absorption. This is where a wetting agent is to be used. Make sure to use your wetting agent on both gardens and lawns and it should cut down your watering needs by at least one-third. Give power to your lawn and gardens and it will help with maximum distribution of soluble fertilizers.

Here is a small list of salt tolerant plants that you can grow in your gardens.

Botanical Names Common Names

Hibbertia Hibbertia

Scaevola Fan flower

Banksia spp. Banksia

Buddleia Butterfly bush

Callistemon spp. Bottlebrush

Escallonia Escallonia

Laurus nobilis Bay tree

Lavandula dentata French lavender

Leptospermum spp. Lemon scented tea tree

Lonicera nitida Honeysuckle

Metrosideros spp. New Zealand Christmas Bush

Nerium Oleander

Raphiolepis Indian hawthorne

Rosmarinus Rosemary

Viburnum Viburnum

Westringea Native Rosemary

Agapanthus African lily

Strelitzia Bird of Paradise


Summer is the favourite time for bugs to visit our gardens for a feast. When purchasing products to control insect pest, please read the full instructions on the packaging. The information below is a guide only.

Most of the insecticides, miticides and fungicides used to control pests and diseases are toxic to a greater or lesser extent, however, they are all safe to handle and apply, IF used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Please DO NOT exceed the recommended rates or frequencies.

  • ONLY prepare enough spray for the job on hand. DO NOT spray in windy conditions or when foliage is wet. Spray either early morning or late afternoon in order to minimise hazard to the bees, after 4pm is the best time.

  • CLEAN spray equipment with clean water immediately after use including all filters and nozzles.

  • WEAR rubber gloves and never eat or smoke while handling and applying pesticides.

  • WITHHOLDING PERIODS is the number of days from the date of the last application to harvesting of the fruit or vegetable which can vary between 1-day to 4-weeks.

  • MOWING – usual advice is to not mow 3-4 days before and after application.

Common chemical names you may use in your garden are Derris Dust which is derived from a tree cultivated in Malaysia and is useful against aphids. Lime Sulphur is an old insecticide and is still useful for the control of mites and scale. Petroleum oils or White oil is used for the control of scales and mites. It kills the pests and their eggs by suffocation. This oil can be mixed with other insecticides, with instructions on the product packaging and will sometimes advise you to add white oil as a carrier. Finally, Pyrethrins, extracted from the Chrysanthemum flowers is one of the safer insecticides used against caterpillars, aphids and beetles, but remember to spray AFTER 4pm.

Remember there are Organic alternatives.


As Paul Kelly says, ‘from little things big things grow’, so if you are thinking of a garden make-over first make a garden preparation list which first and foremost includes laying out a garden design along with picking the appropriate plants. Once this is done, the work begins.

  • Define the boundaries of the garden, then eliminate all weeds and grass from the proposed area.

  • Look at your levels, drainage and the type of edging. Hiring a rotary hoe to dig the area saves you time and your back.

  • Purchase a good garden soil from your local landscaping store.

  • Dig through checking for weeds.

Then the fun begins – planting out.

  • Place the plants on top of the beds spacing them evenly before you place them in the soil.

  • Mulching is next and will assist in weed control and soil moisture retention. Remember to keep the mulch away from the base of the plants.

Now for the important stage - watching your new plants, watering and monitoring the soil moisture. In the next 4-6 weeks you may lose some plants. Investigate why and replant. Regular maintenance of your garden will be fertilizing, pruning and weeding. RECIPE FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

Whiskey Chocolate Cream

1 tin of sweetened condensed milk

300mls of cream

3 eggs

1 cup of whiskey

1 ½ tablespoons of chocolate topping

½ teaspoon of coconut essence.

Blend all ingredients together really, really well and enjoy. This delicious recipe comes from my Nana who passed it onto my Mum and then to me.

Wishing you and your family kind thoughts for a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Happy gardening. Talk again in 2023.



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