Expert Tips

Summer Garden Diary

‘Native Plant Project’ checks in with Red Rocks Gardener, Nick McKellar for a seasonal update on what’s flowering, what jobs are on the summer to-do list and other news from Australia’s largest private native garden…

Kangaroo Paw and ‘Peaches and Cream’ Grevilleas are in flower…

Our peak flowering times at Red Rocks (southern coastal Victoria) are from June through to November. This is obviously when the garden is at its best and most plants are flowering and look vibrant as they have had access to water. There are still some very nice plants that start or continue flowering in the summer months.

A few of the best are: Anigozanthos sp. (Kangaroo Paw) they’re are in beautiful flower now and will continue to look good through to the end of January; Regelia velutina –usually in flower around January in our garden; Caratopetalum gummiferum; Scaevoa aemula; Pycnosorus globosus and Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’.

Summer means less planting and more watering and weeding…

This is the quietest time in the garden with regards to pruning and planting. The main focus during this time is to keep watering all the plants that have recently been planted. I’m also doing some light pruning, dead-heading flowers, weeding, and as always I keep an eye out for any pests and diseases that may appear.

The lawns at this time of year require a fair bit of work with mowing, edging and fertilising. As the properties here cover approx. 300 acres there are also many things to do outside the main garden.

At Red Rocks we do not have town water so rely on water captured by the creeks in the main garden and run off that collects in the four dams.

For this reason I only plant in the cooler months when there is moisture in the soil so as to limit the amount of watering that needs to take place to establish the plants. The best planting times are generally from April through to September.

We have a surprise guest staying with us at the moment…

An echidna that has been making guest appearances in the garden over the last few weeks. It digs its way under the fence and has a feed on some of the different ant species we have around the place, and then disappears back into the surrounding bushland joining our regular mob of kangaroos.

NPP.