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The burning questions for the masses…

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

✦ Daniel “Chook” Fowler from Greenbourne Nursery shares some gardening inspiration.

Well, as I write this I am actually looking at bright sunshine through the window. It has been the big wet… again. All the best to those in areas where the clean up has begun, our thoughts are with you.

To our ever-loyal customer base who have continued to frequent the nursery, with their umbrellas and their gum boots, we thank you. We are a resilient bunch us horticultural types, even though the lawn might be completely soddened we still squelch our way over it to get to our garden beds to tend to them.

With the continued steady flow of people coming through the nursery, the Greenbourne staff have noticed a band of continual, consistent questions. So, as we begin to dry off, it is a good opportunity to answer these reoccurring questions and communicate them to the broad majority. Hopefully you find some answers and tips among them…

What is eating my lawn!

Without a doubt this is the most common question being asked at the nursery at the moment. Many people have been visiting the nursery with photos of devastated lawn areas, samples of small grubs and also the odd tear. While there are numerous critters that enjoy feasting on our lush lawns, the answer to this question at the moment is pretty simple. It is army worm. Army worm is actually a caterpillar.

They are the larval stage of the moth Spodoptera Mauritia. A crazy fact about the moth is that it can lay up to about 1000 eggs in three days! Once the caterpillars hatch they will then go on a 20-25 day eating frenzy. They feed overnight and hide beneath the grass layer through the day. They are really only prevalent through the warmer months of summer. So, how to stop them? The good news is that army worm very rarely destroys a lawn entirely.

They will leave it looking a little unsightly, however most lawns have great energy storage in their rhizomes (roots) and will bounce back fine. If you do need to treat them there are pesticides on the market that will work on them. Searles does one which is called ‘Dead grub pro’. It a granulated product that you simply shake over your lawn.

One of our customers also devised a great method using dishwashing detergent. During daylight hours she added a small amount to a watering can and then applied it to the lawn area. The army worm are forced to the surface as they are unable to deal with the detergent underneath the grass and soil area. The lady then retreated inside her house and watched from a window as the birds went to work. She swears by the method…

Can I plant citrus in pots?

With all the extra rain around at the moment it seems that certain plants are a little prone to having ‘wet feet’. Citrus can sometimes be attacked by various pathogens that live in overly wet soil. While garden beds can be corrected by raising them or adding different ingredients, a lot of people are interested to know if they resolve the problem with pots. The answer is yes. Citrus actually perform extremely well in pots as long as you do a couple of things right. The pot size is most important.

The best way to plan for growing a citrus in a pot is to never repot it again. Select a nice large pot. A minimum diameter of about 60cm is a good place to start. The bigger the better if you can, however that 60cm sized pot will see a citrus live happily for 15-20 years. When you are initially potting the young citrus make sure you use a premium potting mix. The premium potting mixes are designed to last for good periods of time as well as providing a good deal of initial nutrition. Make sure the pot you purchase has exceptional drainage.

The premium potting mix will hold the adequate amount of water for the plant, however any excess must be able to drain away. It may simply mean you have to drill extra holes in the base of the pot. Fertilise regularly. I have found that using organic based fertilisers like manure pellets seems to work the best. The pellets not only feed the plant but as they break down they feed the micro-organisms and form a soil compound within the pot.

What vegetables and annual colour do I plant right now?

It is now right on the seasonal switch where the day lengths and the temperatures are beginning to both shorten and decrease. It is an exciting time as it now allows our gardens to comfortably welcome new varieties in. On the vegetable front it is Brassica time. So go and grab your punnets of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.

Snow peas and garden peas also will perform fantastically this time of year. All the perennial herbs will continue to still grow and provide you with flavour for your cooking. Add a splash of colour into your garden with flowering annuals such as Pansies, violas and Primulas. These three species will give your garden a colour explosion even as the weather cools.

The vibrant orange and yellow colours of Calendula will shine like smalls suns all through your beds. Dianthus will provide complex colour combinations and Snapdragons are always an autumn favourite. If looking for a bit of climbing height, please make sure you plant some flowering sweet pea. The colours available now are extraordinary.

I have a large area to mass plant, can I buy smaller plants cheaper?

Sometimes we have larger projects to complete in our garden that needs very large numbers of plants to create the desired effect. While 140mm pots in most nurseries aren’t too expensive, when we start to talk hundreds of plants it certainly can add up. Greenbourne nursery does sell various grasses at the nursery in ‘super tubes’, at very reasonable prices that are certainly targeted toward the mass planting projects.

The super tubes give you a plant the same size as a 140mm pot does, however they take up less room on the nursery (so we can fit more in). There are also, a sprinkling of tube nurseries that you can access online that sell plants in bulk. One of the very best is The Plant Hub. sells a vast selection of plants that are dominantly used on mass. Categories of plants such as hedging and landscape grasses that are dominantly used in big numbers. So, if you do need to purchase large quantities of plants please do consider online tube nurseries like The Plant Hub.

So, there it is, a few questions that have been asked regularly at Greenbourne nursery recently. Hopefully you took some information on board. As for me now, I’m heading out into the nursery to meet some lovely people and enjoy this magnificent sum. Remember never hesitate to drop in or call us for some advice or just a friendly chat.

Happy Gardening, Daniel “Chook” Fowler


Greenbourne Nursery

Ph: 02 65 85 2117


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