By Greta Wickham
The Galston District Garden Club has not resumed meetings for 2021. Now with the introduction of vaccinations against Covid19 it should be getting closer to the time members will be feeling more confident to resume monthly meetings.
Whilst we are not having monthly meetings we are attempting to gather in our gardens to catch up with each other. When I say attempting, for the second time we have had to cancel a ramble in the Piper’s Glenorie garden due to bad weather. We really appreciate the Piper’s invitation to ramble in the garden as we know the hard work that it takes to make the garden look pristine for us all to enjoy. Could we be third time lucky?
While we seem to have quite a mild summer, we did have two or three 40- degree days that burnt the 600 square metres of grass we planted at the beginning of March 2020. A rush to buy bags of wetasoil and hand watering was our remedy, like putting ice on a burn. However, Mother Nature really did the trick and bought it back to life. A few days later the rain came and we have had the lovely rain on and off for the past month. On reflection, we had mown the grass quite low a few days prior to the heat and we realise now that was why the grass took such a beating. A lesson learnt the hard way.
Consulting “Mr Google” a Melbourne-based garden designer, Ian Barker, recommends, “training your plants and lawn to receive one long soaking of water every week during summer is a good resume. They’ll drop their roots down lower (chasing the water) whereas if you water every day, you’ll just have surface roots everywhere and if something goes wrong, the plants can die in a couple of days”
Water retention powders, wetting agents and mulch can all aid in holding moisture in. In the absence of a “trained” garden, returning from holidays could reveal a backyard shrivelled and unkempt”. Ian Baker says, “There is good and bad news in this scenario. The bad news is there is no quick fix. The good news is, with proper care, Eden can return”.
Avoiding harsh pruning when the garden looks dry and overgrown. A canopy, in any condition, will provide shade, holding moisture in. Pruning back to wood will only dry the plants out. With lawns, the same idea applies. The higher you cut the grass the better, it keeps the moisture underneath. Cutting lawns once a week on the highest setting will help to retain nutrients. If you try to cut it low, you end up having a distressed lawn. It is the same with shrubs and plants, if they are overgrown just cut back gradually. Come back a week later and do it again, until it is back to where it should be.
The Galston Garden Club is planning another “Open Garden Weekend” in October. We would be interested in hearing from you if you are willing to open your garden or if you know of a garden, to which we could approach the owner. We are looking forward to resuming meetings in the future, but not right now.