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Growing your garden this Spring

The warm weather is returning and nature’s pulse is quickening... Celebrate the change of season by embarking on our top five spring gardening pursuits!

1. plant perfumed flowers

So many perfumed plants flower in spring that you’re spoilt for choice.

For heady flowers, try planting bubblegum-scented port wine magnolia (Michelia figo). It’s a good choice for filling a difficult shady spot, or for a dense hedge. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Brunfelsia latifolia) is making a comeback with its sweet purple, mauve and white blooms. Spicy boronias and honey-scented Geraldton wax are fragrant native options. Lilac brings joy to cold-climate gardens, along with mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius).

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is first choice for clothing a fence. It’s better behaved and longer flowering than common jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), offering creamy, scented blooms from spring into summer.

2. add colour

Spring is also the time for adding happy colour to pots, planters, window boxes and hanging baskets.

Petunias give the most splash for the least effort, flowering for months on end until the weather cools again. Nearly every colour and colour combination is available, from white and pastels through to hot pink, purple and red. Consider spreading petunias for hanging baskets and try the hybrid ‘Happitunias’ for extra-long lasting colour.

Other colourful annuals include vinca (Catharanthus roseus), lobelia and impatiens.

3. grow a tree

Pretty-as-a-picture spring blossom trees include ornamental peach, plum and cherry trees, which boast fulsome double blooms in shades of pink. Prunus ‘Elvins’ is one of the best, with profuse pink blossoms on a 3m-high tree.

Crabapples are easy to grow, even in warmer areas, and are available in white to crimson shades. Japanese crabapple makes a perfect spreading picnic tree growing 5m high x 5m wide. Malus ‘Gorgeous’ has abundant crabapple fruit on a petite 3m x 3m tree, while ‘Royal Raindrops’ offers purple foliage, magenta blossoms and red crabapples.

They're majestic, shading and space-defining. Whatever your garden's size, there's a tree for you.

4. get productive

Whether it’s a dedicated vegie patch or just some large planters, get your summer vegies and herbs into the ground as soon as the soil warms.

Basil and tomatoes are obvious choices, but others include chilli, capsicum, beans, carrots, zucchini, beetroot, cucumber, eggplant and sweetcorn.

If you have a bare sunny fence, why not plant a passionfruit vine? Pretty and productive.

5. pamper your plants

The onset of growth in spring means plants need feeding. Everything from the lawn to trees will benefit from fertiliser now.

Organic-based fertilisers will smell for a day or so but are full of goodies for the soil. Liquid fertilisers are great to push rapid growth on vegetable and flower seedlings.

Add some Seasol for all-round plant health, and a soil-wetting agent if your soil is water-repellent. Always apply fertilisers to moist soil and water in afterwards. Top up your mulch to finish and you’ll be set for summer.

Author: Helen Young

Publisher: Australian House & Garden

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