April is all about the garden

The calendar on my phone has reminded me each of the last three mornings that April is all about propagation. From salvias to hebes and wormwood to stachys, every perennial and shrub is simply crying out to be trimmed back, dead headed and disciplined to within an inch of its life in April. There are rewards beyond the obvious for playing dominatrix in the yard this month. Not only do the plants look suitably submissive, they also produce a vast amount of material that has the potential to supply cuttings and hence new plants for newer plantings. Out of every ten cuttings, if even five were to take, that is a saving of fifty dollars at the very least! Take that, big green soulless shed!

Whatever does not take goes into the compost bin to make more goodness for plants to take up and grow further. I am hoping to be able to share some plants with other gardeners as well. After all, gardening can be one massive exercise in paying it forward. As I look about my own garden, the eye stops at William’s aloe, John’s Narcissus obesus, Laurie’s agastache Sweet Lilli, John’s sedum Autumn Joy and Ty’s water celery to name a few. For a garden so full of the generosity of others, the right thing would be to give generously when I can.

 

April is also about planting. Email notifications from gardenate.com and Jon Lamb from ABC Radio’s Talkback Gardening tell me that the time is right for beans, brassicas, members of the onion family and Asian greens. If you are still reading this, you probably know your brassicas from your bunching onions. And if I reeled you in with all that talk about dominatrices and you are still here as there is something cool about the way I write, then let me tell you that brassicas are cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli and kale while Asian greens are anything from bok choy to mizuna. Jon adds that April is also the time for the sap suckers to arrive and begin feeding on your treasured roses and beloved begonias. Squirting with garlic spray or eco-oil will help keep them down while still leaving enough for the good insects to have a feed. Remember, killing them all will simply see a decrease in predators like ladybirds. So, spray in moderation or not at all.
For me this April in particular is going to be about planting. Having just come back from the delights of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, I am full of ideas both big and small. I also have the minor matter of a possible garden opening for members of a garden club in October which has already given me a number of psychedelic nightmares involving petunias. Note to myself: There will be a minimum of petunias. Like the garden below –
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Show Garden from Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

I have a list of things to plant as long as my arm; okay, three or four arm lengths. This post is going to be easy and short in comparison. So, here goes:

 

To plant:

Bearded Iris, Riversdale Irises:
a) Devil May Care
b) By Jeeves
c) Beverly Sills
d) Gracious Curves
e) Whoop em Up
In addition, I am expecting some pass-along iris rhizomes from interstate.
Australian natives, Native Plant Project:
a) Banksia blechnifolia
b) Pin cushion hakea
c) Pink kangaroo paw
d) Banksia
a) Callicarpa giraldiana
b) Phlomis kashmiriana
c) Syringa wolfii
d) Ribes sanguineum pink
Bulbs, Tesselaar:
a) Picasso ranunculus – 25
b) Pheasant’s Eye daffodils – 5
c) Allium drumsticks – 10
d) Snowflake Gravetye Giant – 5
e) Hyacinth – Blue Pearl and White Pearl – 3 of each
Bulbs, Red Earth:
f) Ranunculus burgundy –
g) Thalia daffodils – 3 x 3 = 9
h) Ixia Elvira Blue – 3
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Wall of dahlias at Red Earth Bulbs (MIFGS)
i) Chincherinchee – 25
j) Dutch iris mixed – 20
k) King Fabiola – 25
l) Ranunculus Mixed – 50
m) Ranunculus Pastel – 25
n) Freesia Refracta Alba – 50
o) Wickedly White collection: 5 Snowflakes, 10 Jonquil, 10 Chincherinchee, 25 Ranunculi, 20 Freesia refracta alba
p) Burst of Blue collection: 25 Spring Star, 25 Anemone Single, 5 Dutch Iris, 10 Freesia, 25 Muscari/Grape Hyacinths
Bulbs, from Laurie:
q) Scilla peruviana pink – 1
r) Oxalis hirta
s) Oxalis 

Bulbs from John:
t) Narcissus obesus
u) Narcissus Ta Julia
v) Narcissus romieuxii Julia Jane
w) Narcissus jonquilla
x) Fritillary meleagris seeds
Seeds, Seed Collection:
a) Snow pea Mammoth melting
b) Radish French breakfast – 3
c) Evening Primrose
d) Coriander – Slow Bolt – 3
e) Sugarsnap Pea – Cascadia
f) Beetroot Cylindrica
g) Grain amaranth
h) Radish Hailstone
i) Radish Rat Tail
j) Basil Dark Opal – 2
k) Candytuft Dwarf Fairy
l) Larkspur Imperial Choice: 3
m) Linaria Fairy Bouquet: 2
n) Foxglove Excelsior Mix
o) Tussock Bellflower
Seeds, Chiltern Seeds:
p) Hardy bulbs
I also have a tray of seeds earmarked for autumn, which is now for us in the Southern Hemisphere. This contains both bought and saved seeds such as crimson flowered broad beans and Novella peas as well as gifted seeds such as hollyhocks and honesty from local gardeners. I will have to list them for my own mental peace and satisfaction but I think I might stop for lunch now.
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Jason Hodges garden at MIFGS
I feel like the dog in the photo above, wagging away in happy anticipation. Or at least what it would do if it was alive.
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