Armidale gardening: Autumn moments

Get ready: The secret to great new lawns is planning ahead.

Get ready: The secret to great new lawns is planning ahead.

Take a walk around in the cooler autumn weather and take note of plants that are in flower and which have been for some time. These are the hard-working plants that give enjoyment for up to months at a time.

Plants that flower for long periods include aster, corepsis, dahlias, Euryops chrysanthemoides (rarely without its golden daisies), echinacea (coneflower), euphorbias, gaura, salvias, hardy geraniums, pelargoniums (although they won’t last unless protected from our frosts), rudbeckia, penstemon, nepeta (catmint), abelia and abutilon (Chinese lantern) are just some that will flower for months.

Let’s not forget the roses though!

Jobs for early autumn

The recent rains have made for great weed-pulling conditions. Compost them or toss them into a bucket filled with water. After a few weeks, mix the brew with water at about one-part weed tea to three-parts water.

Use it to water and fertilise seedlings and vegies.

Continue to remove finished flowers, especially on dahlias and roses to encourage more flowers.

Start preparing beds for spring-flowering bulbs to be planted from late March to the end of April.

Collect seeds of perennials as they ripen. Some, such as agapanthus should be collected so they don’t spread into adjoining property. The seed of other perennials such as achillea, alstromeria, hardy geraniums, can be sown in the spring

Take cuttings of penstemons, which do not divide easily like other perennials. Divide liliums when the leaves are quite yellow and replant by May at the latest.

Prepare new lawn areas for planting late March or early April. It takes a bit of work to create a new lawn but is worth the effort of doing it properly.

Dig over the area and remove every trace of perennial weeds, especially the roots. Leave it for a couple of weeks to allow weeds to germinate then hoe or pull them. Level the area ready for sowing or laying turf.

The Armidale Garden Club has its next meeting on Thursday, March 23 at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall, off Rusden St at 7.30pm. Just come along!