Saturday, 21 February 2015

Gardeners' Tips - February 2015

For a bold structural statement in your garden (also as a great bird attractor) plant a Gymea lily (Doryanthes excels). This is a really good, easy to grow Australian native with huge flower spikes with a cluster of smaller flowers atop which appear during spring and summer. Keep the soil evenly moist to establish and then it’s just a simple matter of applying some native slow release fertiliser twice a year.

With your Mediterranean plants, rosemary, lavenders etc remember that they are best suited to either pots or very free draining soil as they enjoy rain in exactly the opposite time of the year than when we get ours on the Coffs Coast. If you have them in pots they can be easily moved into a drier position during heavy summer rain.

Acalyphas (red-hot cat’s tail), these plants do very well on the Coffs Coast and are very easy to multiply using hardwood cuttings. Now is an excellent time to also take hardwood cuttings of natives like grevillea, correa etc

'Valerie Swane'

Roses: Pivot dates – these are dates around which roses flower at a particular time according to when you prune them. It is usually between 40 days (Kardinal) and 60 days (for Elina) with most other roses about 55 days. So if you want to have roses for the Coffs Show they need to be pruned back from 16 March until 26 March that way you should get some lovely specimens for display and judging.

Prepare: If you intend to plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs in winter now is the time to dig over and mix in compost or well-rotted manure.

Prune: Salvias when they start to look a bit ‘ratty’ – they have done a stellar job over the summer months and need to rewarded with a good prune.

Ants: due to the heavy rain we’ve recently had the ants seem to be heading towards our pots because of the free-draining soil. To control ant infestations in pots, submerge pots in a deep container filled with soapy water. Soak overnight, then lift and drain the container. Flush the excess soap out using clean water. If any ants survive, repeat a week later.


  1. Thanks for featuring Doryanthes excelsa. I have 6 mature Doryanthes palmeri (giant spear lily) in my garden which has a long droop flower stalk sometimes reaching 5 metres from the base. It is spectacular in flower and ALL birds love the nectar!

  2. It was my pleasure Andrea and I believe that they are totally irresistible to the birds.