Short sunny days and long crisp nights, falling leaves and fiery sunsets. Autumn is here, and the (gardening) crowd goes wild. Written by Mike Perry.
Life on the surface is cooling down, while underground the weather is still warm. It’s an ideal combination for plants – especially young ones – and our gardens are powering at full pace. For those of us with shovels in hand, the drop in temperature is welcome after summer’s relentless heat (and sweat), and though the days are shorter, you’ll find yourself packing more into them. Happier plants and better weather for working – this is definitely the time to plant, especially your evergreens.
So what should you put in? Pretty well whatever you like. But if you’re swamped by choice and struggling to decide, why not start with some of these:
One for the shadier spots, Camellias are a gardening classic – and for good reason, too. There’s a swarm of different cultivars, each with a unique and eye-catching flower, and they can be used in a variety of ways in the garden. Feature trees, shrubs, groundcovers, hedges; as long as they’re in moist (but not wet) soil and away from the hot afternoon sun they’ll do well, while a little bit of fertilizer will help them to thrive. Camellias are currently in flower, so now is a better time than ever to visit Four Seasons Nursery and choose your favourite.
I’ve sung their praises before and I’ll sing them again: Tibouchinas are autumn superstars. Bringing vibrant purple, pink and white to the autumn colour palate, these tough and easy trees and shrubs should be featured in every garden. There’s the “Alstonville” tree form for those with the space for it, while “Jules” and “Groovy Baby” are smaller shrubs that can fit in almost anywhere. Give them plenty of sun and they’ll give you plenty of flowers, which – with their prominent curly stamens – are like little psychedelic monsters (in a good way, trust me).
No meal should be without it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert – get some garlic in there and you’re on to a winner. But not all garlics are equal, as anybody who’s eaten the home-grown kind will attest to, the difference in flavor between those and the store-bought type is incredible. They’re as easy to grow as they are good for you. Choose a sunny spot with moist and free draining soil, work in some compost and cow manure, then plant individual cloves pointy side up about 100mm deep and leave them until spring. Each clove will form an entire head of garlic, which when hung up to dry will keep for months. At Four Seasons Nursery you’ll find all the cloves, compost and manure you need, plus a heap of other cool-season edibles too if your veggie patch is looking a little bare.
Of course, if your garden is packed to the brim already, there’s still heaps for you to do before it gets too chilly to bother. Why not throw some fertilizer around, top up your mulch, or get the autumn foliage into the compost bin? A little extra love given to your garden now will come back to you tenfold next spring.
Mike Perry is a horticulturist from Four Seasons Nursery. To contact Four Seasons Nursery, please call (02) 9450 160.