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19 Mar 2019

Preparing for winter in the garden

As we move into autumn and the last few blasts of summer heat disappear, the horticulture team are busy in the gardens of Centennial Parklands. We asked our horticultural expert, David Laughlin, for some tips and tricks that you can apply to your own garden.

​While the sun is still shining and the soil is warm, the horticulturists are topping up mulch and compost in the garden beds across Centennial Parklands. The Column garden is still in full bloom with the Tibouchina putting on their usual stunning flower show.

The weeds are growing happily from the recent rain so keeping them under control before their seeds escape is a top priority. Wind-borne seeds of Canadian Fleabane are drifting across Sydney in the thousands this time of year! 

The horticulturists are also on the look out for lily caterpillars as these little hungry beasts can munch away Clivea and Crinum plants in just a few days. So stay alert over the next few weeks, otherwise they might put a big dent in your precious plants.

tibouchina, centennial park
Tibouchina can be found planted within the circular annual beds of the Column Garden.

Tips from the Rose Garden 

With a mixture of humid weather and lots of rain, the Rose Garden is still looking beautiful thanks to the horticulturists who have been keeping on top of plant pests. Unfortunately, like the roses themselves, Budworms and fungus also flourish in these conditions.

Before winter fully sets in, deadheading roses is important as there is still time for another flush of flowers before they are pruned in July. There is still plenty of time to stroll through the Rose Garden and see the blooming beauties.

 Majestic pines 

The uniquely Australian bunya pines (Araucaria bidwillii) are producing their giant cones right now. They don’t produce cones every year but when they do, they are whoppers.

A bunya cone can weigh more than 5 kg and pack a punch when they fall - so our horticulturists' key piece of advice here is to look out!

Check out this story from the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan where the bunya pine cones regularly break records. 

bunya pine cone, centennial park
A big bunya pine cone in Centennial Park. 

What to plant now

It’s great time to plant and sow seeds as the air temperature is cooling but there is still plenty of warmth in the soil to get the plants off to a great start.

Seeds of annuals such as sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) and cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) can be sown in March while ashflower (Cineraria), daisies (Bellis perennis) and poppy (Papaver rhoeas) seeds can be done in April.

Bellis perennis, 'Monstrosa'
Bellis perennis is a common European species of daisy and should be sown in March.

What's flowering around the Parklands

The delicate and delightful Camellia sasanqua are starting their flowering season and will continue throughout April and late into winter.

The brightly coloured hibiscus is a favourite within the Parklands and visitors can see the Helene Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) in full display over the next few months.

Sydneysiders can expect the spectacular blue ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora) to flower across the city. This Brazilian plant produces towers of beautiful blue flowers in March.

There is an impressive collection of blue ginger in the Tropical Garden and Begonia Garden at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

It’s a great time to be outdoors and in the garden as the weather cools, it's the perfect time to get stuck into the jobs put off during the long summer days.

Flowers blooming in the gardens

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