Fire Frog's

  Practical Plant Stuff.

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The lazy gardener's garden has these few things.
Memorise them, there may be a quiz later....

flower bulletsAutomatic sprinklers and watering system, with timer.
(If you do nothing else, do this one!)

 Solid edges to all the garden beds and lawns (easy to mow, mulch etc. Use wide, treated timber or neutral coloured cement, but never, never ever, use bricks as an edging. They are a pain in the arse to maintain.)

 Serviceable (read bomb proof) plants that are of the right size and shape (i.e. no Big Gums just outside the kitchen window, over the leach drain or too near power lines.)

 Garden beds that are mulched (less weeding, watering and, hopefully, dying.)

 Lawn areas that are properly designed (i.e. don't go under big trees etc), are regularly mowed (to the longest setting, so it grows back slower. Really, trust me) and are of the right grass type for your area.

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Now for the bit's and bobs of gardening.

Fertiliser.

flower bulletsDo not fertilise when you first plant/re-pot your plant. Do it weeks or months later.

Use a complete fertiliser i.e. Go-Plus for roses; vegies; citrus etc. Be sure to water in very well.

Well aged chook manure can be uses to fertilise citrus once yearly. (September or February). The old straw from their bedding is all good too.

Use only native plant foods for native plants, because of the Phosphorus thing.

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Mulch

flower bulletsLay it on 7 - 10 cm thick.

Top it up once a year.

Kill weeds that pop through with a weed wand containing glyphosphate.

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Pruning.

flower bulletsDo not cut flush with the stem of the plant. This invites disease right into the heart of the plant and can kill it. Cut a centimetre or two away and any diseases should die with the stump of twig when it goes.

Wipe off and clean pruning shears, they can carry disease from plant to plant.

Prune when you want, but if done in late August (end of winter) new growths will shortly appear.

Prune after flowering to clean up the plants' appearance. This is called 'dead heading' and has nothing to do with heavy music, unless you want it to, of course.

Yes, you can prune natives, an annual snip after flowering works well.

With roses cut back to greener wood. If you try for an open basket shape it is easier to pick flowers and to prune again next time.

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Pot Plants

Pot plants are cool, they look good indoors or out. Little clusters of them on the verandah look neat, grown trees in the foyer of your house are a surprise and a talking piece.

Pot plants are good for you. Besides from the age old practice of plant talk 'therapy' some plants have medicinal properties too. They prevent 'sick room syndrome', which is where there are too many people breathing out CO2 in one tiny room. Plants absorb CO2, taking away the problem.

These pot plants are recommended to improve the air quality in a room, but any plant will do.

Dragon Trees

Ivy

Rhubarb plants

Peace Lilies

Yuccas

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Some Hardy Plants to Put in Pots.

Aspidistra.

 My favourite! Air Ferns.

 Black Beans.

 Most Bromeliaeds.

 Danica Ivy.

 Devils Ivy.

 Happy plants.

 Kenlia Palm.

 Monstera.

 Mother-in-laws-tongue.

 Parlour Palm (Neanthe bella).

 All Philodendrons.

 Ribbon Grass.

 Rhapis Palm.

Sweetheart Ivy.

Weeping Fig.

I have personally grown for several years an Asparagus fern, that I call Ferdinand Von Fern.

Ferdenand Von Fern!

My Baby wins second place
in an actual country show!
Go Ferdinand!

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Warnings!

Not all pot plants will grow when you get them home! Some may not have rooted properly when propagated, some will have been exposed to chemical cleaners in store and some may have dried out in their pots without being watered for some time.

As for those cute little violets that line the checkout aisle, forget it. Especially the self watering ones. I think they must be genetically engineered to thrive in supermarkets, then die as soon as you get them home. Cactuses, you say? Uh huh, nope, sorry, no more fragile plant grows on the face of this earth. I should know, I've killed enough of them.

Nurseries are the places to go, and if the plant dies soon after arriving on your window sill, take it back and find out why. You may not be at fault at all!

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Some Advice on How Not to Kill Pot Plants (hahaha....)

flower bulletsGive pot plants at least 8 hours of sunlight. You can do this by rotating them outside for a short time each week onto a sunny spot on the verandah.

Big pots are easy to move for cleaning under or redecorating or taking out for a walk in the sunshine if you put them in those little wire basket things on wheels. Otherwise you risk dropping them when you move them.

Use liquid Nitrosol
or fish emulsion watered in once a month.
Or use Osmocote,
or Nutricote,
or fertiliser spikes.
Pick one, but do not multi fertilise - the results are...well,
let's just say it kind of led to me starting this page up.

Re-pot when needed.

Wipe wide leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust build-up. Dust acts like sun-screen and plants need sunlight to survive.

 Carefully cut out some wire mesh (budgie wire) the size of the top of your pot. Cut a hole in it big enough to go around the pot plants trunk without touching it at all. Place the wire on top of the plant soil, peg it in place round the edges with little bits of bent wire like tent pegs, then cover it over with moss or leaf litter etc. This will hopefully prevent cats from scratching up the soil as kitty litter.

Squirt leaves with an atomiser to rejuvenate in heated rooms.

Don't spray pot plants with fly spray etc.

Beware over watering pot plants, especially succulents and cacti. Even if they start to turn yellow. Turning yellow means they are either low on fertiliser or sun shine or have been over-watered and are about to collapse into a soggy mess on your windowsill.

Knock a smoker unconscious then hang them over your pot plant by their toes to keep other smokers away, thus discouraging them from putting out their butt ends in your lovely pot plant. Or you could ask them nicely not to do it. I prefer the first method.
(see here for more
smoker deterrents)

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Pot Plant Ideas

flower bulletsPlant several varieties of plants in one pot.

Plant several types of herbs in a windowsill display in your kitchen (yum, fresh mint!)

Plant vegetables in pots as well, use big/deep pots. Just fertilise twice a week and keep watering well. Good for wild onions, chilli's, those tiny tomatoes etc.

Anything can be a pot plant holder, so long as it holds soil - but things that let water drain away work best. Some ideas - old shoes, half egg shells, kettles (with holes drilled in the bottom), big washed sea shells, old prams, old boats, half a car tyre, cups, cow horns etc.

Back to index page...

link to Burks Backyard.

A cool gardening page.

http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/index.html