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Garden with Jill


Hi Gardeners,

A friend sent me a cute garden saying, so I thought I would share it with you.

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.

My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.

The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers and the dreams are as beautiful.

BROMELIADS

How about something blooming exotic in the garden!

When in flower Bromeliads are a sight to behold with their unique bold and vivid colours.

We all know Pineapples. Well, they belong to the Bromeliad family, which thrive on neglect and are very easy to grow. So, next time you buy a pineapple, cut off the top and grow your own.

Coming from South America, Bromeliads grow just about anywhere. The types that cling to trees are called Ephiphytes, also known as air plants. They love the moving air and only use the trees as anchors on which to cling.

Keep the soil (if any) moist and the centre of your bromeliad filled with fresh water, as this promotes lush growth. As a treat, mist the plants regularly. Apply a ‘half-strength’, of the recommended rate, liquid fertilizer once a month.

Bromeliads actually have scales on their leaves, which absorb moisture from the air. These scales form a banded pattern, giving a silvery look, which may not be easily seen. They cleverly survive by taking moisture from the air, so don’t touch the leaves too often.

Bromeliads will adapt to an indoor situation so long as there is sufficient light and air movement. They will grow in shade and semi-shaded areas and are great as an under-story plant around trees. There are also full sun varieties.

Bromeliads produce what are called ‘pups’ or new plants. These can be removed once they reach half the size of the mother plant, providing you with new plants for your garden area. You can leave the pups, and this will intensify your already existing plant.

BONSAI

If you remember the 1980’s, then you will remember a movie called ‘The Karate Kid’ with Mr Miyagi and his lovely Bonsai.

The Bonsai wellbeing depends entirely on you! These miniaturised trees can be easy to grow provided you give them sufficient water, good natural light, and plenty of fresh air.

NOT AN INDOOR PLANT

They love the natural elements like rain and need to spend their life OUTSIDE! Patios and balconies are a good place for your Bonsai, so long as they are not near a hot reflective wall. Bonsai will also be happy on a windowsill or a table close to an open window. You can bring your Bonsai inside for a couple of days as a display, however, make sure to put it outside at night.

WATERING AND REPOTTING

Here in Queensland, during our summer months, we need to water our Bonsai every day, sometimes twice a day. In Winter, depending on the size of the plant, every second day. The best way is to ‘immerse’ the tree in the sink of water, for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the soil is completely wet. Then, DO NOT water again until the soil is beginning to dry out and feels only slightly damp to the touch. Never keep the trees constantly wet, nor allow them to completely dry out.

Repotting should be done in the last 2 weeks of July or the last 2 weeks of August. Root pruning and replacement of soil is usually done every 12 months but does depend on the variety and age of the Bonsai. The perfect time to repot, for both deciduous and evergreen trees, is when the leaf buds are fat and plump, but not yet open.

Most nurseries have Bonsai potting mixes and a slow-release fertilizer, like Osmocote Total, will work well for these plants.

Like your beloved animals, your Bonsai will need a friend to babysit should you go away on holidays.

To all the mother’s out there, I hope you have a lovely Mother’s Day.

Happy Gardening

Jill

TERRARIUM Growing Hints

When planting up your terrarium, line the base with sphagnum moss (green facing out), add a layer of charcoal or gravel for drainage, then a layer of rich, moist potting mix. You can plant any dwarf plant that will fit in the container – ferns are particularly popular. Add a few rocks to create a miniature landscape. Water the plants, then cover and place in a well-lit position but out of direct sunlight. The water will be recycled, meaning that you won’t need to add any more for at least 3 months. However, if your plants look dry before this time, you must water them and don’t forget to give the leaves of your plants a good misting. An occasional airing is also recommended, this is done by taking the lid off for a couple of hours once a month.

PLEASE NOTE

There is a world-wide shortage of sphagnum moss at the moment, so a good substitute is Coir Peat.

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