GARDENING: I'll give you a daisy a day, dear
DAISIES bring happiness to any garden.
Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum) are clump-forming perennial daisies with vibrant white petals and bright yellow centres.
Leucanthemum Daisy May is a gorgeous shasta daisy from Aussie Winners, www.aussiewinners.com.au, that has large flowers over many months during spring, summer and into autumn. The flowers are held on strong stems well above the foliage, on a tidy plant that grows to about 40cm tall and 30cm wide.
Daisy May prefers a position that receives at least six hours of sunshine a day, but will tolerate some light shade. It loves a well-drained spot in a garden bed and also is a fantastic container plant, perfect for brightening up a patio or balcony.
Daisy May makes a lovely and long-lasting cut flower - ideal for kids to pick a bunch for mum or grandma - and the flowers also attract butterflies and bees into the garden.
To help keep Daisy May looking beautiful, regularly remove any spent flowers and feed each week with a liquid plant food. Apply over the plant and surrounding soil to encourage healthy leaf growth as well as promoting lots of bright flowers. As the plant matures, the clump can be dug up and divided and replanted throughout the garden.
Daisy pest watch
Daisies can be attacked by aphids, which are sap-sucking pests that deplete plants of valuable sugars and nutrients and cause declining plant health.
Aphids are easy to control with pesticide sprays, including Yates Rose Gun Advanced, which is a handy ready to use spray that's great for protecting all ornamental plants - not just roses.
Yates Rose Gun Advanced will also control caterpillars on daisies, which can chew through leaves and into flowers.
Pick of the week: Parsley
THE time is right to plant parsley, unless you are expecting a frost.
You can use seeds - parsley shoots in three to four weeks. Hand-weed and watch out for hungry slugs or snails. Also, keep the soil moist.
Parsley can be used in salads, soups and even mashed potato.
It is a great source of vitamins K and C, as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate and iron.
Citrus collar rot prevention
Citrus love moist but well drained soil, which creates a healthy environment for their roots to thrive and lower trunks to remain dry and healthy.
Weeks of wet weather in some areas around Australia has created ideal conditions for root and collar rot diseases to develop.
These diseases affect the ability of the citrus trees to effectively absorb soil water, leading to wilting, poor plant health and sometimes plant death if left untreated.
Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the incidence of citrus collar and root rot diseases:
> Remove lower-hanging branches of citrus trees, which improves the air flow around the trunk.
> Applying mulch over the root zone is very beneficial, helping to keep the roots moist. However, keep mulch away from touching the trunk itself, as this can keep the trunk wet which can promote collar rot.
> Apply Yates Anti Rot Phosacid Systemic Fungicide over the foliage during autumn. The fungicide travels down through the plant and into the stems and roots, helping to control root and collar rot diseases. Using Yates Anti Rot as a protective spray during damp conditions will give more effective control than waiting for symptoms to appear.
As citrus trees keep maturing their fruit during April, continue to feed citrus each week with a complete and balanced fertiliser that has been specially designed to promote healthy citrus trees and help create good quality fruit.
If you would like your garden featured on the gardening page in The Northern Star, email email@example.com