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How to start the new year with a great garden

Hello 2016! As we drift back home from Christmas holidays, let’s look at what’s going on in the mid summer garden, what exciting (or delicious) plants you can grow at your place and how to care for them. Happy gardening everyone!

Above image (Tibouchina Groovy Baby) courtesy of PGA: Plant Growers Australia


Vibrant colour for entertaining areas

A long flowering and compact form of Tibouchina, Groovy Baby is a stand out performer in the garden and in containers. An ideal plant for tubs on the patio or adding high voltage colour to a mixed border, Tibouchina Groovy Baby is one of the most compact forms available on the market. The evergreen foliage is accentuated by seasonal copper tones and over the warmer months is covered by large, regal purple blooms. Fast growing in most soils that are well drained in either a full sun to part shade location, it generally does not need pruning and an application of controlled release fertiliser in early spring such as Yates Acticote Pots, Planters and Garden Beds will supply the nutrients this reliable performer needs for best results. Reaching a height of about 60cm, it is a great choice for a lively atmosphere around entertainment areas or even informal hedging down drives or pathways.

Myrtle rust is a relatively new disease in Australia, which attacks native plants such as lily pily, agonis, tea tree (melaleuca), bottlebrush (callistemon), austromyrtus and eucalypts. It initially causes bright yellow to orange powdery spots which may be surrounded by a purple ring and causes leaves to distort. Extensive myrtle rust can result in plant death.

As soon as myrtle rust is noticed, it’s important to initiate some control measures to limit the spread, both to other garden plants and also into bushland. Yates Zaleton Fungicide will control myrtle rust. It contains a combination of two fungicides, which help to both cure existing disease and prevent further infection. Any secateurs or garden tools that come into contact with infected plants should be disinfected and any prunings should be placed in a bag and put into the rubbish.



Fusion Shadow Dancer Gene | Image courtesy of Aussie Winners


Hanging basket beauties

Fuchsias are excellent choices for hanging baskets and the Shadow Dancer series are more sun tolerant than older varieties. They produce an abundance of flowers with the same charming characteristics, along with extended flowering from late winter to summer. Apply Yates Thrive Roses and Flowers Liquid Plant Food fortnightly to supply the nutrients needed for lush foliage and gorgeous flowers.

Fuchsia Shadow Dancer Ginger and Fuchsia Shadow Dancer Gene available at most nurseries and hardware stores.


Ravishing roses

Summer heat, hot dry winds, high humidity and fungal problems can all affect the health and appearance of rose plants in mid to late summer. Leggy growth, spindly stems and sparse twiggy growth are all signs that your roses need a summer prune. Summer pruning roses refreshes and reinvigorates the plants, they will respond in a matter of weeks, putting on new growth, ready for another flush of flowers.

It’s not tricky, just shear off about a third of the overall growth, removing spindly stems, diseased leaves and faded flower heads. Hedge shears or good sharp secateurs are the best tools for the job, and don’t forget to protect your hands and arms from rose thorns with gloves and long sleeves.

Handy hint: Did you know you can time your summer rose pruning to produce blooms for a party or special event? About 42 days (allow up to 49 days in cooler zones) after pruning, most roses will be lush and blooming.

After pruning, collect all the fallen leaves and stems and bin these, don’t compost them. This will help to reduce the number of disease spores that could re-infect new growth. Apply Yates Thrive Roses and Flowers Liquid Plant Food and water in well. Next apply a layer of mulch like sugar cane, lucerne or pea straw to retain soil moisture and follow up with weekly applications of Thrive to encourage healthy foliage growth and lots of flowers. Watch for aphids on new rose shoots, and treat with Yates Rose Shield, which will also control fungal problems such a black spot and powdery mildew, which can weaken and defoliate your roses.


Get in early and order new release 2016 roses now

We love fragrant flowers and these two new releases are full of perfume – order now for winter 2016 as these are likely to be very popular!

These new roses have been bred by world renowned rose breeder W. Kordes’ Sons of Germany, famously known for breeding the popular Iceberg rose and more recently the Gallipoli Centenary Rose. Australian gardeners will be delighted to have these magnificent disease-tolerant, fragrant and colourful new rose varieties to grace their gardens.



Dark Desire | Image courtesy of Treloar Roses © Gary Matuschka, used under license


Dark Desire Hybrid Tea Rose (Kordiagraf)

One of the first varieties to form part of the new Parfuma collection by Kordes. A perfectly beautiful rose that fascinates with its sophisticated and sensual scent. The intense fragrance encompasses classic notes of rose that are enhanced with a touch of lemon and a base note of rose geranium. The bush is quite upright with vigorous growth to approximately 1m x 60cm wide and is very disease tolerant. Dark Desire was awarded a prestigious ADR award in 2014. The ADR awards recognise roses with excellent pest and disease resistance characteristics as well as number of flowers, scent and attractiveness.

Another worthy addition to the new Parfuma collection, First Crush (Kormaccap) has exceptional fruity fragrance and healthy foliage. The high-centred buds open to nostalgic shaped cups in a delicate pastel pink. First Crush is a very bushy plant with vigorous growth to an average height of 1m tall x 80cm wide

Rose pest watch: summer is prime time for mites, which can quickly infest roses and other flowering plants. Symptoms are yellowing and mottled leaves and when populations are large, mites can create a mass of fine webbing, similar to a spider’s web. Yates Rose Shield can be used to control mites on roses and other ornamental plants. Be sure to spray both sides of foliage, as mites often hide underneath leaves.


For more information, visit

Images courtesy of Plant Growers Australia (, Myrtle Rust image courtesy of Bayer. Images courtesy of Dark Desire and First Crush images © Gary Matuschka, used under license.

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Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas is a horticulturalist from Yates. She writes a monthly column on the company’s website about what what you should be doing in the garden during every month of the year. Visit their website,, to know more about Angie.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.