A number of shrubs can brighten up the less colourful cooler weather garden with their bright yellow flowers.
Yellow flax, or Linum, is one such plant that adds much-needed colour to gardens now. The flowers are a clear, butter-yellow.
Linum grows as a small, evergreen shrub, reaching about a metre in height. The branches form from a clumpy base. Its yellow masses of flowers contrast well with the lime green leaves. Although Linum is an evergreen shrub, it has sparse foliage.
The plant should be trimmed regularly to avoid it becoming too straggly, particularly once it has finished flowering. Removal of the older stems and shortening new stems will encourage a bushier plant.
New plants can be obtained by taking soft-tip cuttings in spring, or the clump can be divided up once flowering has finished and new plants planted out. The stems should be shortened by about half if the division method of propagation is used.
Grey Euryops is a shrub that originates from South Africa. It has soft, grey divided foliage and yellow daisy-like flowers. Euryops is hardy in sun and grows well in a variety of situations.
Regular pruning will help to keep it in shape. The removal of older, thick wood will help to rejuvenate the plant.
Plants grow to about 1.5 metres in height.
Grevilleas "Honey Gem", "Golden Lyre" and "Cooroora Cascade" (groundcover) are in full flower now, if they have been planted in a warmer, sunny position. These grevilleas produce long, yellow flowers that are very attractive to native honey-eaters. Cutting the flowers will encourage mre flower production.
A wide variety of wattles also commence their flowering period at this time of the year. Varieties include plants with long, pendulous flowers, small ball-shaped flowers, masses of blooms or more sparse amounts of blooms.
Acacia baileyana, A. podalyriifolia and A. spectabilis all produce masses of golden yellow flowers.
Many vegetables are suitable for sowing during June but have different maturity times.
Maturing in July, mustard greens should be sown direct into the vegetable garden, while radish will mature between July and August.
Peas, silver beet, carrots (all sown direct) and lettuce (planted into seed trays and then transplanted) will be able to be harvested between August and September, while beetroot and snow peas reach maturity later in September.
Cabbages, celery, eschalots and parsnip (all sown in seed trays and then transplanted) and broad beans (sown in rows) will mature during late spring.
Onions will not mature until between December and February.
It is important to avoid having successive plantings of the same types of vegetables in the same areas of the garden as this can allow the build-up of diseases over successive seasons.
Crop rotation, which involves planting different types of vegetables, will assist in the reduction of diseases. Seasonal crop changes will often lead to crop rotation.
Garden beds that have been well used for summer and autumn crops may benefit from the planting of a green manure crop. Green manure crops are sown from seed and include legumes such as varieties of peas and beans, as well as clover, chickpeas and oats.
Although the seeds can be sown in the traditional way, it is quite sufficient to scatter the mixed seeds over the garden bed and then use a rake to cover the seed with soil.
Following the germination of the seeds, the resulting plants should be allowed to develop to the flowering stage.
Just after the flowers have fallen (the stage at which the plant has reached its maximum maturity level) the plants can be dug into the soil and then left to compost down. The garden bed should be left for at least a month before new planting takes place.
An alternate method to digging in the green crop is to cut the plants off at the base at flowering time. The green stems can then be left to form a mulch o the surface of the soil.
Growing green manure crops that are then dug into the soil is an efficient method of obtaining nitrogen for the soil. Bacteria in these plants take nitrogen from the air and convert it to the form that plants normally obtain from the soil. The process is known as nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen is essential for optimum growth and production of flower and vegetable crops.
Growing green manure crops can be more cost-efficient than purchasing mulch and has the additional benefit of ensuring that new, unwanted weeds are not introduced to the home garden.
Early winter is an ideal time in which to check climbing plants now that many trees and other plants are becoming leafless.
Climbers such as wisteria and bougainvillea can become rampant in growth, reaching undesirable places. The lack of leaves allows the gardener to observe the amount of growth that the climber has made, in addition to the places it has grown.
Pruning back branches on the climber will help to maintain a manageable plant, as well as encouraging it to send out new growth, which will produce more flowers in spring and summer.
If the climber has reached up into a tree, there is the possibility that it will have damaged branches and limbs that may eventually die and fall. Severing the climber at the point where it commences to climb may be the preferred option.
- Peas can be sown now, choose from snow peas or garden peas.
- Hardwood cuttings may be taken now from deciduous plants.
- Plant members of the brassica family, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, near some sage plants as they will assist in repelling caterpillars and moths.