I am eagerly awaiting my first double poppies to open. Judging by their setting heads, they should be enormous when they finally open. What colour they will be is also a mystery to me, but I am expecting pink or a delicate purple shade.
Giant Double Poppy
Meanwhile, my garden seems to be a week behind everyone else's when it comes to roses blooming. I have specifically chosen aromatic roses as I can't think of anything worse than an unscented flower. Spicy and romantic really get my senses tingling.
David Austin Heritage rose
Knight's GeeWiz rose
The Black English Mulberry has finally sprung to life with a flurry of leaves, a few of which I have had to rub off of the main trunk to aim the tree's energy upward to develop the top canopy. This tree is my new pride and joy.
And while my mulberry has not yet set fruit, my many dwarf peach trees have. YAY!
Super Dwarf Peach Valley Red setting fruit in October
If feels like everything has finally set flower. Loving my Volcano bush colours!
And I have recently added my first Euphorbia (Tiny Tim). I chose a miniature Euphorbia because the larger version are well known for going slightly feral and weed-like in the garden, so choosing a mini version it will help keep it more contained. Planted near my mulberry, it will enjoy the nitrogen run-off.
My plum has finally reached the top of the espalier frame after much care and training, but as beautiful as it looks there were no flowers on it this year, but one fleeting one for a couple of days. Meanwhile, my other plum tree flowered first before developing leaves.
My espalier garden is kept well fenced off from my free range chickens. Such is the trade off. So to keep my garden bed to minimum fuss to keep the chooky girls out, I place perennials and self-seeding plants around the fruit trees. It works perfectly with an amazing flourish of colour and height. Yes, very tempting for chickens to dive into.
What surprised me most was the way that my Satsuma Plum developed its leaves, starting at the base and eventually sending up enough energy to the top to start its leafy growth a little while later.
Espalier Care Checklist
Fertilise when the first signs of waking up from its winter dormant sleep with a quality pellet fertiliser. Ensure that it has a good drink of water for absorption.
Choose the best lateral branches to train and remove all other competing growth.
Every layer is tied gently with tee-shirt ties that allow the growth and expansion of the branches. Adjust these as the branches grow further laterally.
Remove stem growth and long off shoots from the branches. Rub the stem to remove new growth and snip the longer branch shoots. This will stop any new branches from developing and channels energy into the established branches.
Check for excessive ant activity (ants like to farm on fruit trees, so check your citrus trees too in Spring for scale). Reduce pests that may be harming the tree.
Spraying for curl and other pests and diseases needs to be done early in Winter or early Spring as soon as the leaves start to appear. For more information click here.
Keep an eye on the soil moisture as the days warm up. Deep slow watering is ideal.
And if you haven't done so already, ensure that you have a cross pollinator tree nearby that is compatible with your fruit tree.
It has come a long way very quickly and it looks great!
The sudden on set of warmer days in Spring not only bring out the blossoms, flies and mozzies, but soil and potting mix dries out quicker, to the point of either cracking or becoming water repellent. There is a solution.
If your soil is left dry for long periods of time it can become "hydrophobic." So no matter how much water you pour onto it, it just won't sink down deeply to the roots.
These days, everyone knows about the benefits of adding a Wettasoil product to the soil, which comes in a dry form that needs to be hydrated and plumped up for a hour before being hand mixed through.
But what happens when you can't disturb the soil around the established plants who desperately need more moisture to be held around their roots?
This is my new favourite product which I have been using for just over 12 months, so I can confidently say that this one works!
Amgrow Wettasoil Professional liquid concentrate (RRP $15.95)
I use this in my raised vegetable garden planters, pot plants and lawn as soon as cracks start to show or the water just won't sink in.
Wettasoil liquid is so easy to use:
Only 15ml to 9 Litres of water in a watering can for every 4 square meters.
It comes with an easy measuring lid, so there is no need to guess.
It can be used oat every watering to make watering quicker and more effective, especially for pot plants with excessively compact, dry soil
Amgrow Wettasoil is completely safe to use around plant roots.
Depending on your climate and soil type, this product should last for up to 12 months in the soil before a reapplication. A reapplication every 6 months actually improves its overall performance.
This is an amazing product to help your plants become more drought tolerant. Which doesn't mean that your plants can go totally without water, but when you do water, the moisture is retained in the soil more effectively and for longer, benefiting the plants.
It doesn't just add more moisture to the soil, but adds plant extracts, amino acids and growth stimulants that improve the plants ability to take up moisture and recover from short periods of dryness.
It stops new dry spots from happening and saves money on watering. With water bills always on the rise, a great product like this is essential.
Cracks in the Lawn
AFTER (1 day after application)
Amgrow Wettasoil Professional Soil Wetter Concentrate liquid is available at all good hardware and plant nurseries, Australia wide.