In the garden with Nell Carr

Callistemon Citrinus

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JANUARY 2016 | Nell Carr

AS MOST of the vegetables planned for autumn and winter harvest need not be sown until late February, gardeners with water problems should hold off sowing until predicted good rains fall.

This includes the brassicas, apart from cauliflower, which should be in before the end of January.

Carrots and parsnips, silver beet and beetroot, can all wait until late February, and leeks until the end of March.

Bean fly. For the first time the depredations of bean  fly have been noticed in gardens at the Western end of Meander Valley.

Signs are the dropping of the larger leaves at the tops of the plants, first blamed on birds, but continuing after nets have been placed over the young seedlings.

Reference to books seems to implicate the bean fly, normally only a pest in tropical and sub tropical districts.

According to Yates Garden Guide, the ‘small adult fly lays eggs on the leaves and the larvae …tunnel into the young stems which swell and break.’ The Guide recommends spraying with Rogor at weekly intervals until flowering.

In the ornamental garden. Callistemon citrinus (pictured), the Lemon scented Bottlebrush, has withstood the dry summer with only the very sparse spring and summer rainfall.

This is a native of the Eastern mainland states. Tasmanian Bottlebrushes don’t run to bright red flowers.

All species should be trimmed back after flowering.

Non native species which have survived the dry are the spectacular silver Eryngium gigantium “Miss Wilmot’s Ghost” (Sea holly), and the extremely hardy Agapanthus, a plant so beloved of earlier planners of public gardens, but now not recommended because of its propensity to become invasive.

To prevent this, spent flowers should be removed before they start shedding seed.

  Mike Moores