At last, we are seeing that big yellow ball in the sky. Let’s hope it sticks around to dry things out! On the weekend, whilst looking after my granddaughter, we sat down to watch a movie of her choice. This time we watched the Dr Seuss story ‘The Lorax’. After all the trees are destroyed, ‘The Lorax’ leaves behind the word UNLESS. The quote at the end of the Book and the Movie is
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
The story is of one person’s impact on the environment. ‘The Lorax’ represents the interests of all the creatures whose lives are affected negatively by the environmental degradation.
As a gardener, encouraging our children and grandchildren at an early age to garden, not only teaches them the beauty a garden can bring, but can help them think about the importance of caring for the environment and the impact their actions have upon it.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR TREES OR SHRUBS
Place the plant in a bucket of water to soak. Dig a hole twice as wide and slightly deeper than the pot size. Loosen the soil for a further 150mm. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain away. Remove the plant from the pot and very gently free some of the roots from the root ball.
Place the root ball in the hole and fill with soil. The soil should finish no higher up the stem of the plant than when it was in the pot. Create a slight dish of soil around the filled hole. Press down the soil with the palm of your hand to firm the soil around the root ball. Fill the dish of soil with water.
Stake the plant (if necessary) by attaching one end of the tie loosely to the plant and the other firmly to the stake. A second stake may be needed if the plant is in a position exposed to the winds. Mulch around but not against the stem of the plant.
Plants must not be allowed to dry out from the time of purchase. Water well when planting and then at least twice a week for the first two months. Be generous with your watering in Summer. Note that an occasional soaking of the root zones is more effective then several light waterings. Your trees will then develop a strong root system encouraging them to go in search of moisture.
By mulching once the tree or shrub has been planted it will keep the grass and weeds at bay. The mulch will also keep the soil cool and help the absorption of moisture during watering. Mulch to a depth of 10cm and kept it clear of the trunk or stem to avoid disease.
Staking serves two purposes. Firstly, the stakes make it easier to locate young trees when they are amongst larger plants and helps prevent damage to the trees. Secondly, it helps support young trees in windy weather. The stakes should be about 30cm from the trunk or stem. If the plants need assistance to stay upright a strip of jute should be firmly tied to each stake with a loose loop around each plant, so that the plant is still allowed plenty of movement. The stake can be removed after one year.
Avoid over fertilizing when the trees or shrubs are first planted out. Some Osmocote or some pelletized chicken manure can be used every change of season. To settle the trees or shrubs in, water with a half strength of Seasol. Wait a week and do another half strength. Then wait a fortnight and do a full strength of Seasol.
A plant which grows, flowers, seeds, and dies in one year or part of a year e.g., Zinnias or Sweet Peas
Annuals are used as ornaments in gardens to produce seasonal colour, displays of flowers, or foliage. Their speed of growth, ease of culture and wide range of type and species makes the flowering annuals very useful in gardens, especially young gardens where they are used as temporary filling plants.
A plant which requires two years to grow, flower, seed and die e.g., Snapdragons or Dianthus
Many of our common flowers are truly biennials and in the colder climates are treated as such. However, in Queensland’s warm climate they are generally used as annuals and are sometimes short-lived under the accelerated growing conditions, that it pays to raise a fresh batch each year as is the practice with true annuals.
There are many types of perennials:
Herbaceous perennials e.g., Phlox or Asters
Bulbs e.g., Daffodils
Corms e.g., Gladiolus
Tubers e.g., Potatoes
Rhizome e.g., Bearded Iris
Soft-wooded e.g., Carnations, Gerberas or Agapanthus
Hard wooded include shrubs, climbers or trees e.g., Roses or Conifers
Shrubs form the basis of most gardens. They are low maintenance, and they produce showy foliage, flowers, or fruit over a long season.
UNLESS we plant, we don’t want to end up like the ‘Once-ler’.