HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: Not all old wives' tales about the garden are wise.
HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: Not all old wives' tales about the garden are wise. AlexRaths

Some common garden myths

WE thought it was about time we busted some green fallacies. So we asked our gardening expert, Leon Coventry, for some advice.

Myth: If a plant is under stress, it should be fed.

Truth: "If you feed a plant that isn't deficient in nutrients, most likely it will be more stressed," Leon said. If a plant is stressed it's more likely that the soil is compacted, it's in excessive heat, or you haven't planted it in fertile soil with plenty of room to spread its roots.

Myth: You should cover newly pruned areas with paint

Truth: "No, don't do it," Leon said. "Make a clean cut then leave it alone to heal naturally." Do make sure, though, that you keep your garden implements clean.

Myth: Drought tolerant plants don't need watering.

Truth: "All plants need water to establish although most well established drought tolerant plants like Australian native plants can survive our hot summers without much watering." Mulch is still a good idea though, Leon said.

Myth: Newly planted trees need to be staked or guide.

Truth: Don't stake in a windy area, Leon said. Rather, allow the tree to move in the wind and develop its root system. If you do need to stake a tree, make sure you use a soft fabric that wont damage it and remove the stake after one growth season.

Myth: Adding sand to clay soil will loosen it.

Truth: "This is the worse thing you can do," Leon said. "The sand will make the clay rock hard. " Organic matter is way to loosen up the soil. Dig it in and let the worms help you. Gypsum can also be used as a clay additive.

Myth: For fertilisers and pesticides more is better.

Truth: "Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and use precisely the amount suggested. Over-fertilising can kill plants. This is very evident with orchids where it is best to use a half strength mix."

Summer potted roses

By Angie Thomas, www.yates.com.au

One of the many benefits of growing roses in containers is that they can be moved to centre stage when in full flower. Potted roses can be purchased during summer, ready for transplanting into a decorative pot or into the garden.

Before planting the rose, mix some dynamic lifter into the potting mix or soil. Yates Dynamic Lifter's rich organic matter will help to increase the water holding ability of the potting mix and encourage beneficial microorganisms.

After a few weeks, the rose can then be fed regularly with some liquid plant food for roses. It's specially designed to both encourage healthy leaf growth as well as promote lots of beautiful flowers.

Some stunning potted Treloar roses available during summer include:

Dwarf Fairy (Korzweenu) - an award winning miniature rose with large clusters of deep orange red flowers. Perfect for a container, this variety would make a beautiful Christmas table centrepiece.

Peach Profusion (KORpeapro) - growing to around 1 m tall, this floribunda rose has gorgeous apricot coloured semi double blooms.

Perfume Passion (KORpauvio) - another award winner, this almost thornless pink hybrid tea rose has a beautifully intense fragrance.

Fruit of the week

Luscious red cherries flood the supermarkets and fruit and veggie stores during December. Have you ever thought of growing your own? Most cherry trees require lots of 'chilling hours' to produce a crop, so they are best suited to areas with cool or cold winters, however there are some varieties available that will bear cherries in warm temperate areas.

Cherry trees vary in size from medium sized trees down to dwarf varieties in the Fleming's Nurseries 'Trixzie®' range that grow to around 2.5m tall, so are perfect for smaller gardens. In addition to delicious fruit, cherry trees also have very pretty blossoms in spring and lovely autumn foliage.

Cherry trees are most commonly available in winter as bare rooted plants. Choose a variety that's suited to your climate and also check to see whether that variety is self fertilising or needs pollination from another cherry. They need a spot with at least 6 hours of sunshine a day and well drained soil.

Credit: www.yates.com.au



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