Sydney Water Restriction Gardening Tips

When water restrictions are introduced into urban areas, many people feel concern about how they will grow and maintain a beautiful garden. However, the good news is, water restrictions don’t mean you have to give up on keep plants alive but it DOES mean we have to rethink how we garden, how we “spend” available water, how we save it and finally, recycle it.

Read this article to find out our water restriction gardening tips so you can prepare your garden for limited water and ongoing drought conditions.

What’s allowed under Level 1 water restrictions?

You can

Water lawns and gardens:

  • with a watering can or bucket
  • by hand-held hose, before 10 am or after 4 pm, as long as your hose is fitted with a trigger nozzle
  • with drip irrigation systems
  • with watering systems with one or more of these features:
    • automated weather adjustment
    • rain sensor
    • soil moisture sensor
  • water new turf for one week after it’s delivered as long as you follow the instructions provided by the turf supplier

You can’t

  • use standard sprinklers and watering systems at any time
  • leave hoses and taps running unattended

Source: Sydney Water

Our Top 4 Water-Wise Gardening Tips

1. Compost

Thorough soil preparation will increase your soil’s water and nutrient-holding capacity. This can be done by digging organic compost into the soil. Mulch will help to keep the temperature of the soil lower, which means it stays moist for longer as the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly.

TIP: Instead of sweeping or blowing leaves into the street or filling your green bin, compost them!

2. Fertilise

At this stage, you could fertilise, which will help, but it is best to do both in the spring.

Some soils are on the hydrophobic side, particularly during drought conditions. When the soil is in this state, it will be quite dry and naturally repel water. If this is the case, you may also need to add a wetting agent to help water penetrate and hold in your soil.

3. Mulch

During drought conditions, it’s very important to mulch around the garden and pot plants. Keep in mind that the finer mulch will hold more moisture better, i.e. fine pine bark is better than big chunky bark.

  • Vegetable gardens use sugar cane mulch or Lucerne
  • Pot plants you can use pebbles, which can be decorative but also help hold in the moisture

Before applying mulch, it is generally a good idea to ‘till’ or dig the soil over to create aeration, so as there is not a hard barrier between the mulch and the plant roots.

You should always be careful not to build the mulch up around the trunk of the plant as this creates ‘collar rot’. Always mulch 20-50mm from the trunk and minimum of 25–25mm deep. This also depends on the type of mulch.

Tip: In my opinion, weed control mats don’t allow the water to penetrate the soil directly and create ‘run off’.

4. Irrigation System

If you have an irrigation system, check that it is a drip system and not a spray system. Make sure that all the drippers are working and the mulch is not covering them. It is best that you set them to come on early in the morning.

 

Need advice about designing a drought-resistant garden?

Are you about to design your garden, courtyard or balcony? Talk to us about water restriction gardening and how you can make it drought-resistant.

We can answer your questions or even provide garden consultancy services. Give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

Autumn Gardening Checklist

Sydney’s cooler days and nights are creeping in and you’ve probably noticed your plant growth starting to slow. You may be relieved at not having so much constant gardening maintenance compared to the summer months – but autumn actually provides the perfect opportunity for getting your garden in tip-top shape for winter and well into spring.

The jobs below are our autumn gardening checklist that will keep your garden flourishing throughout winter and well into spring.

1. Make new plants from cuttings

Autumn is a great time to snip a few cuttings to make new plants – hardwood herbs such as rosemary and bay or natives such as banksias and grevillea.

  • snip 10cm cuttings
  • remove the lower leaves
  • dip cuttings into hormone powder
  • pot in small containers of premium potting mix.
  • keep moist and shelter from strong wind and sun

2. Prune

In order to keep your plants compact and bushy from ground level, pruning should be done before the onset of winter. Pruning in autumn is beneficial as it:

  • removes dead or diseased wood
  • promotes more flowering and fruit
  • creates a shapely, attractive plant
  • stimulates new growth

TIP: As a general rule, don’t cut more than a third off the plant.

3. Lawn Care

Rejuvenate tired lawns with an autumn feeding to prepare them for the onset of cool winter weather. Grass growth slows down with cold nights, but the roots are still growing well in the warm soil, which makes it’s the perfect time for repair.

  • make sure any weeds you sprayed last month are dying
  • repeat the weed treatment if necessary
  • aerate the lawn with a garden fork and scatter lime lightly over it.
  • use a slow release lawn food to develop a strong root system and thicker grass.

TIP: Use an easy to apply hose-on “weed and feed” product on the lawn.

4. Tidy Garden Beds

  • Cut back any spent perennials
  • Boost plants with beautiful seed heads
  • Get rid of weeds by removing them from the root to have a head start on spring when weeds are most aggressive and harmful
  • Control vine growth

5. Fertilise and mulch

Giving plants food in late autumn will mean they will be well nourished in spring after the winter cold. Spreading fertiliser will also help control weeds. Some plants have specific needs such as camellias and azaleas, natives, roses and citrus but most other plants can be fed with an all-purpose granular fertiliser.

  • spread organic fertiliser and compost
  • water any fertiliser in well so that the nutrients get to the plant’s roots.

6. Compost Leaves

Transfer the leaves that fall on your garden and lawn to the compost bin on a regular basis, otherwise, they will smother your plants and grass.

TIP: To help them break down quicker, run over them with the lawn mower first.

7. Divide evergreen perennials

Evergreen perennials will probably be showing new fresh growth at the base and as soon as last year’s spindles are removed, these will take off beautifully. Autumn is the perfect time to divide them:

  • lift them from the soil
  • divide at the root
  • re-plant into well-conditioned soil

8. Clean gardening containers and tools

Pots and tools may have traces of soil that contain bacteria and disease-causing organisms.

  • disinfect pots to remove all traces of soil that could contain bacteria and.
  • clean and sharpen tools to prolong good performance

Have questions about our autumn gardening checklist?

If you would like to get a question answered or access our garden consultancy services, give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

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5 Things You Should Know About How To Cluster Pots

Pot clustering is a unique way to add a personal touch to your outdoor space, whether it be your garden, a patio or balcony. “Pot clustering” is an idea of clustering multiple pots, birthing a new gardening term called “containerscaping.” Sometimes also called “potscaping,” containerscaping is a hybrid buzzword for landscaping with container plants.

Whilst pot clustering is a relatively simple way to create a huge impact, things can start to look awkward if you don’t follow a few key landscape design rules. Here are my top five simple tips about how to cluster pots to ensure you get an eye-catching result!

1. How many pots will you cluster?

The first thing to consider is the size of the cluster. Typically, you will need, 3, 5 or more pots. The number of pots you choose will depend on the purpose. For example, are you planning to create a standout feature in a certain area, or do you need a small cluster in the corner hiding the air conditioning unit?

TIP: Odd numbers tend to work better and look more natural than even numbers.

Pot Cluster Chelsea Pots

Featured in the images above are our award-winning Chelsea Pots

2. Pick the main feature

With pot clustering, you should have one big feature. Decide which pot and plant you will use as this feature and then work back from that. By doing so, this will draw the eye to the focal point but also offer a lot of beauty in the surrounding pots as well.

TIP: For an eye-catching feature plant, try an elongated plant or a flowering plant.

 

3. Mix it up!

The best way to create an impact with your pot cluster is to have varying shapes and sizes. Whilst the pots can be the same but in different shapes and sizes, you can also mix and match styles, materials, and colours. If you have limited space, you may want to use oval-shaped pots to create more mass without the pot taking up additional room or encroaching forward.

TIP: When selecting your pots, consider which colours, textures and styles will complement the space you have in your environment. Is it modern and clean? Is it traditional and decorative? Is it bright and light? Or is it neutral and luxe?

Featured in the images above are our Atlantis Pots

4. Decide on your plants

So now you have your pots chosen, it’s time to decide which plants to put in each. It’s important to consider your plant choice carefully, as you don’t want to ‘hide’ the pot behind with a plant that is too big. The idea is that the pots and plants should step down proportionally from each other. You may also want to consider contrasting the textures of the plants. For example, mix hard spiky leaves with soft smaller flowers. Another idea would be to pick a plant theme colour and repeating it in all pots.

TIP: Add an extra layer to your bigger pots by adding trailing plants, such as a Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’, so they spill over the edge.

Creating-The-Perfect-Pot-Cluster

 

5. Test it before you plant it

If you are concerned about whether your display will look good or not, consider arranging your pots and plants BEFORE you pot them. This gives you the flexibility to try different combinations and arrangements until you are happy with the result.

TIP: We can assist you to do this in our showroom – so you can feel confident before committing to a purchase!

 

You might also like: Arranging Pots and Planters for Impact

 

Need help with ideas for how to cluster pots?

If you would like to get a question answered or access our garden consultancy services to make the perfect pot cluster for your garden, balcony or patio, give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

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Dazzle With No Hassle Using These 10 Low Maintenance Plants

Low maintenance plants are a great choice for many people. Whether you are new to gardening or don’t want the hassle of laborious gardening work, there are plenty of choices when it comes to plants that can withstand being ignored for periods of time. There is also a solid case for choosing low maintenance plants, especially in Sydney, where we can have extreme heat or long periods of dry weather.

Select plants from this list of outdoor and indoor plants and you can still have spectacular looking greenery, without spending a lot of time or effort with care or maintenance.

Low Maintenance Plants for Outdoors

1. Cycads: are ideal for both seasoned gardeners and beginners as they are easy to grow and save a lot of time that you spend on maintaining them. These grow on hard rock or sand and are long living plants. Their elegant appeal makes them an asset to your garden as well as indoor.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Cycads

 

2. Large Leaf Jade: Not everyone possesses a green thumb. For those with a black thumb, the large leaf Jade plants are perfect. These are succulents that can be grown indoors and outdoors, and even as bonsai plants. Fast growing, inexpensive and incredibly resilient, you cannot go wrong with this plant.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Large Leaf Jade

 

3. Star Jasmine Tricolour: a variant of the common star jasmine. It is ideal as ground cover as it hugs the ground forming an attractive border plant. You can use it as cascade or in containers too. While it does not flower frequently, the leaves themselves form vibrant foliage. Resistant to diseases and pest it is a drought tolerant plant ideal for the hot Sydney summers.

 

4. Gymea Lily: is a large feature shrub; This is a common plant seen in the Sydney Basin. Popular for its amazingly huge flower heads and opulent green beauty, it is a must have for any landscape design. Being a robust native plant, it can easily resist bushfires and drought.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Gymea Lily

 

5. Silver leaf GazaniaAnother ground cover plant that is perfect for your garden. It produces beautiful flowers that are golden yellow in colour. The plant flowers profusely during warm summer months. A hardy plant, it flourishes even in the harshest conditions found inland or coastally.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Silver-leaf-Gazania

 

Ideal Indoor Varieties of Low Maintenance Plants

1. Rhapis palmsExcellent for growing in full shade, Rhapis palms are known as Shady Lady’s. While these tolerate morning sun, too much exposure of summer sunlight can scorch the leaves. These are grown indoors in containers and reach about 6 feet and rarely spread over 3 feet.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Rhapis-palms

 

2. Zanzibar Gem: Zanzibar Gems, popular as ‘Money Tree’ in Asia, is also known as Eternity Plant. The indoor plant grows best in a shady and dry surrounding. It can withstand neglect to an incredible level. While overwatering and cold temperature are threats to its existence, if you grow it in a warm and sufficiently dry environment, it can thrive for a longer time. It is tolerant to water scarcity and low sunlight.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Zanzibar-Gem.

 

3. Rhipsalis succulent: Also known as Mistletoe cacti, this plant features elongated and highly branched stems that hang down in clusters. It is best looking when grown in a hanging basket or used as ground cover for your garden. The leaves are gold or lime yellow in colour and string shaped.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Rhipsalis-succulent

 

4. Ficus elastica: Also known as Rubber Plant, this ornamental plant can grow up to 30 meters. But the indoor plants are much lower in height and manageable. The foliage is fantabulous and the plant is similar to a tree making it a valuable addition indoors.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Ficus-elastica

 

5. SucculentsA popular choice for a low-maintenance garden or indoor pot because they can tolerate hot temperatures and require minimal watering. They are the perfect plant for forgetful gardeners and look stunning planted alone or as companions to other succulents or leafy plants.

10 Low Maintenance Plants - Succulents

 

All the above plants are chosen for their ease of growing and care. Even if your past experience with growing plants has been a dismal failure, these plants will make you a gardening expert with their appealing beauty and resilient nature.

Need help with our selecting low maintenance plants?

If you would like to get a question answered or access our garden consultancy services, give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

landscape design consultation

How to Help Your Plants Survive The Sweltering Sydney Summer

How to Help Your Plants Survive The Sweltering Sydney Summer

With Sydney’s sweltering summer conditions finally hitting our shores this January, you may be finding that your plants are suffering. Perhaps your soil is dry, the plants are showing signs of wilting, or even worse, the leaves are turning brown.

But don’t despair! If you catch the problem early enough, you can follow these simple summer gardening tips to protect your garden and ensure that they survive.

Top 6 Summer Gardening Tips

  • Improve soil quality: If you have an established garden, add some compost to the topsoil around plant roots and lightly turn it into the soil. Next, sprinkle a granular wetting agent around the plants, which again helps the soil hold moisture. Finally, mulch the garden well – this will help to hold 80% of the moisture in keep the plant roots cooler. TIP: A finer mulch is better, e.g. lucerne, sugar cane or fine pine bark.
Summer Gardening Tips - Improve Soil Quality

 

  • Keep your soil moist: Maintain moisture throughout the soil by watering up to twice a day if necessary. Water early in the morning when the water can best infiltrate the soil and again in the early evening (when the sun is NOT on the plants) if the soil is feeling crusty. Make sure your plants have time to dry before nightfall because damp leaves can lead to fungus problems. Water at the base of the plants for maximum absorption.
Summer Gardening Tips - Keep your soil moist

 

  • Install an irrigation system: Installing a sprinkler system makes watering easier and saves you time. Most come with a timer, so you can set it to water whenever you want and for as long as your plants need. Plus, you can save water by setting up zones to water areas more often that get a lot of sunlight or reduce over-watering in shaded areas. If you have an existing irrigation system, make sure it’s working correctly and repair or replace broken pipes or sprinklers. Also, check that the water is covering your plants, not just footpaths or driveways.
Summer Gardening Tips - Install an irrigation system

 

  • Wilting may be unavoidable, but don’t make the mistake of wetting your plants leaves in hopes to relieve them. Water acts as a magnifying glass and intensifies the sun’s effects, which can cause the leaves to burn. For this reason, avoid watering your plants during the hottest part of the day and never when they are in full sun.
Summer Gardening Tips - Wilting

 

  • Reduce the competition: Your garden is full of thirsty roots, competing for every bit of water they can find so make sure there are no unwelcome weeds sprouting up. They will syphon water away from your preferred plants, slowly choking them to death. The best way to combat weeds is to pull them out when you go to water your plants before too many can take root. A little work here and there will produce better results than waiting for your garden to be consumed.
Summer Gardening Tips - Reduce the competition

 

  • Don’t fertilise during a heat wave: When your plant is in summer survival mode, it’s not looking for extra nutrients and isn’t prepared to make use of them. Introducing these into the soil will risk further stressing your plant. Wait until it cools down a bit for your next feeding!

 

  • Wait to prune: During summer, you’re sure to find damaged leaves and stems but in order to avoid causing unnecessary stress, it’s best to hold off from pruning until after the heat wave passes and the temperatures get a bit back in the normal range.
Summer Gardening Tips - Wait to Prune

 

Need help with our garden tips for Summer?

Don’t wait any longer and prepare your garden for Summer! Let us know what do you think about our expert garden tips for Summer. We appreciate all the feedback.

If you would like to get a question answered or access our garden consultancy services, give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

Top 8 Garden Tips for Spring

Top 8 Garden Tips for Spring - Website Featured Image

With the winter chill finally starting to disappear, your garden is starting to come to life. The whiff of spring is in the breeze with flowers blossoming all around. So, if you have been lying dormant with your gardening during the winter months, now is the time to get busy to ensure your garden shines throughout the summer months. That’s why we have gathered a few essential garden tips for Spring

Mosarte’s manager and qualified horticulturist, Craig Schofield, has provided eight tips to ensure that your garden will thrive. If you do the right thing at the right time, you will watch your garden grow green and beautiful.

So, brace yourself and get ready to put your hands to work, or in this case… get your hands dirty in the garden!

1. Cut and prune your garden

Winter is gone and the first thing you should do is get your garden cleaned. This is the ideal time to get things in order. Start by removing leaves and weeds. Then it’s time to cut your garden back.

As we’ve had a bit of rain recently, it’s an ideal time to prune any hedges back or any overgrowth shrubs before the Spring flush. Otherwise, you’re going to lose all of that growth and make it more difficult to shape it properly. Cut and prune until everything is tightened up, remembering that wherever you cut it back, you get the growth in those areas. Tip prune your gardenias to help thicken them up.

2. Moisturise the soil

After Winter, your soil is most likely packed and dried out. So, it’s crucial to add moisture and put Wetter Soil down, whether it’s granular or saturate. This process forces the existing soil to hold moisture, which will surely help your garden throughout the summer period.

Ensuring your soil has more moisture and can retain enough moisture is an insurance for your garden during the hot, summer days that are on their way. In fact, it might save your garden from certain disaster in case you are forced to face a drought period.

Garden Tips for Spring - Soil Moisture Fertilise Manure

3. Mulch it down

Mulch should be a vital part of your garden. It doesn’t only help prevent weeds and diseases, as it also maintains the moisture and temperature of the soil. You can add any kind of mulch you prefer or do a selective plan.

For example, in a standard area, I like to add pine bark down. But in vegetable gardens, I rather go for “Lucerne” or sugar cane, which you can dig into the soil and build a hummus. Tea Tree and things that are a bit decorative too, if you’ve got a native garden it can look a little bit better.

Every season, you can dig that and repeat the process.

4. Fertilise your lawn

Feeding the lawn can be quite tricky sometimes. I recommend a granular lawn food for a standard lawn. If you’ve got a few bare patches, perhaps oversow or put some runners in them. For buffalo lawn, you should leave in a top dress if you’ve got a few holes in the lawn.

Then, it’s time to fertilise on slow release. That’s very important. Animal manure is great for short impact. It gives you nitrogen to green your lawn but it it’s not going to give you longevity. That’s why I do recommend you to use slow release fertiliser, like Scotts Lawn Builder or something like that.

Garden Tips for Spring - Ramsay Health Northside West Clinic

5. Add animal manure (but be selective!)

When it comes to other parts of the garden I’d definitely add cow manure or even blood and bone fertiliser as well.

But be careful, you can’t add it to everything! Some plants are quite sensitive to animal manures, such as Magnolias and Gardenias.

However, you can freely add it to the rest of your garden, including your vegetable garden. Manure helps to bring flavour to your fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes and strawberries. So, you just have to be selective and add different fertilisers for different purposes.

6. Don’t forget slow-release fertilisers

As I’ve mentioned above, slow-release fertilisers are a much more reliable solution in the long run and work well over the Spring-Summer period.  These types of fertilisers give sustained growth to your plants at a more even sort of pace rather than just giving that hit of nitrogen, which an animal manure does do it.

7. Invest in your irrigation system

Lack of water can compromise your entire garden and put your work to waste. Investing in your irrigation system is a must-do for your garden. If you’ve got one in place already, then make sure it’s all working for summer. Sometimes you can get little spiders or ants in it, which block it up, so now is the perfect time to check if it needs unblocking.

If you don’t have an irrigation system yet, then I highly recommend you to do it now. With the current drought situation, water restrictions are on the horizon for Sydney and many other areas. Warragamba Dam levels have dropped significantly – so protect your garden by ensuring you have a compliant watering system in place.

Garden Tips for Spring - Irrigation System Watering

8. Start Spring planting

Now you’ve got everything in order, it’s time to think about your spring planting, particularly now that we’ve had a little bit of rain. You probably want to switch your annuals, from Pansies and Violets to Petunias and Begonias. Actually, why not go for some unique choices, such as New Guinean Impatiens?

Need help with our garden tips for Spring?

Don’t wait any longer and prepare your garden for Summer! Let us know what do you think about our expert garden tips for Spring. We appreciate all the feedback.

If you would like to get a question answered or access our garden consultancy services, give us a call to arrange a free consultation.

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