Dorothea McKellar certainly got it right! The southern drought-affected areas would love to be able to access just some of Townsville’s flooding rains at the moment.
If you’ve been lucky enough to benefit from recent storm activity, mulch to retain that moisture.
If you had already mulched, check that the rain penetrated the mulch as when mulch is laid thickly it can sometimes form a barrier to moisture. If this has happened, scrunch it up a bit to let the moisture through and then water the plants.
If you haven’t had any rain, water well and mulch afterwards if you haven’t already. A moisture meter can be a useful tool to determine how far down any moisture has penetrated.
Remember, too, that plants like to binge drink. A good long, slow soaking now and then is far more beneficial than a small tipple every day.
In the vegie garden, most fruit and vegetables we grow have a water content of 90 to 95 percent. Thus it is essential vegies have a regular and uniform flow of water through the soil they are growing in.
Keep an eye on water features and ponds and top up if water levels have dropped significantly.
Also keep bird baths topped up to ensure you have water available for birds and insects such as bees, hoverflies, lacewings, lady birds and predatory wasps that visit your garden.
Plants that survive hot summers best include those with grey or furry leaves such as catmint (Nepeta), Euphorbia, Echium, lambs ear (Stachys), succulents and lavenders. Plants with thick-skinned, small leaves such as Achillea, daisies (Anthemis, Leucanthemum, Gerbera, Erigeron, Rudbeckia), Cistus, Gaura, Kniphofia, Sedums, rosemary and thymes also do well.
Late summer is a good time to review what is working in your garden and where changes could be made.
Write notes and take photographs as it’s easy to forget what was there once things have faded in autumn. Plan for what might be better moved to a different location or what areas could benefit from some extra colour.
Order spring-flowering bulbs.
Keep the water up and the weeds down.
The first meeting for 2019 for the Armidale Garden Club is on February 28th (the fourth Thursday of the month), starting at 7.30pm. New members are most welcome! Come to the Uniting Church Youth Club hall off Rusden Street.