Welcome back, I hope you had a very fine break and enjoyed the warm weather. Here at Cranbourne, we’re well into the swing of things and looking forward to an exciting year ahead with plenty of challenges no doubt.
As we move into the warmer months and have to increase irrigation to various parts of the garden, it is inevitable that any undiscovered weak spots in the system start to show up. As a result, our irrigation magicians have been working overtime to complete repairs, keep things running smoothly and ensure that the garden continues to thrive through the summer. Well done, team!
Other jobs that start to come into focus this month are checking and maintaining our plant database and maps of garden beds to make sure we know where everything is and where it came from. Out in the garden, we put our efforts into keeping on top of the weeds and monitoring for any pest or disease outbreaks. Many pests are controlled naturally by weather conditions or predatory insects but some need to be controlled as soon as they are noticed, including some fungal diseases and certain insect species.
For the pretty plant bit of this month’s blog, I’ve got some beauties to share!
In the Red sand garden near the Rock-pool waterway is a beautiful, solitary Crinum flaccidum. The white flowers are about 12 cm across and fragrant in the early evening. Here at Cranbourne, their foliage tends to die down over winter and return again in spring. They have responded well to a little extra water, some slow release fertilizer, and good drainage while growing through spring and early summer.
Kerraudrenia hermaniifolia, a small shrub with delicate purple flowers, can be seen in the Dry River Walk. They need free draining soil, prefer a sunny position and respond well to pruning after flowering.
Also in the Dry River Walk is a planting of Crotalaria novae-hollandiae or New Holland Rattlepod. This low shrub can grow to 1.5 m x 1 m and didn’t look very happy through the colder months but has bounced back with a bit of warm weather and is showing off some beautiful racemes of yellow pea flowers at the moment [it's worth noting that this Crotalaria can be a bit weedy in some areas].
In your home garden
January is a good time to give everything a little ‘pick me up’ using something like a seaweed solution or compost tea. Compost tea is easy to make – simply take a porous bag and fill it with some of your finest home-made compost and then sit the bag in a bucket of water. After about a week the water should be brown and full of nutrients and other goodies that your plants will love. Take some of this infusion and dilute it with water until it is the colour of weak tea then apply it to your plants with a watering can. This can help encourage strong growth without causing a rapid burst of tender new foliage which can be susceptible to disease or scorching from the sun or hot wind.