Botanical Bits by Christine Agnew

Yes winter has arrived! It’s finally rained and the days are getting cooler. There is still plenty of time to plant shrubs and perennials, and time to think about where you are going to plant your new seasons’ trees and roses. Getting the garden ready by adding a good compost and cow manure will give your bare-root plants a fantastic start in your garden. Roses have started to arrive at McCourts Garden Centre with still many more to come. Get in-store early to have the best choice of a wide range of old favourites and new releases.

Bare-root deciduous fruit trees and ornamental trees will be arriving by the middle of June and once more there are plenty to choose from. The girls at McCourts can help with advice on suitable pollinators for the fruit trees and assist with advice on care of your bare-root stock. The extremely dry conditions we endured last spring and summer has taken its toll on many trees. Enough water during periods of dry is absolutely imperative for the survival of your trees in the first couple of years. Once established their roots should be accessing ground water and watering is then only required in extreme heat.

All the popular fruit trees will be available as well as some recent releases such as Apricot Fireball an early season apricot with good flavour. Dwarf fruit trees have become extremely popular and now include Dwarf Apricot Trevatt, Moorpark and Bulida as well as Dwarf Plumcot, Dwarf Santa Rosa Plum, dwarf Nectarine, Dwarf Peach and Dwarf Golden Delicious, Pink Lady and Granny Smith! So even the smallest garden can enjoy the benefits of beautiful, homegrown fruit. Naturally all these fruit trees are available in regular sizes as well for the blocks with plenty of space.  For people with nectarine and peach trees it’s recommended that you spray a preventative fungicide such as Fungus Fighter on your trees at 80% leaf drop in autumn then again in August just at budswell to try and stop Leaf Curl  in your trees. A further spray two weeks later will give added protection.

Ornamental trees are spectacular at this time of year as the last of the leaves in their autumn colours fall. Flowering ornamentals such as the crab-apple varieties are beautiful in spring and are a great small ornamental tree whilst the London Plane, Claret Ash and Golden Elms need more space and make fantastic shade lawn specimens or large avenue trees. The Ornamental pear varieties are narrower and suited to all sorts of conditions with gorgeous autumn colours and beautiful blossom in spring.  Weeping trees are also popular as specimen trees and this year McCourts Garden Centre have a new variety to add to their list the Weeping Cercis ‘’Lavender Twist described by Wes Fleming of Fleming Trees as ‘magnificent’!

Congratulations have to go to Flemings Tree Nursery, our major supplier of bare-root trees, as they recently won Best in Show for their display garden at the Chelsea Garden Show -  a first for Australia!

Posted by: at 7:09 am on May 28th, 2013