July-What you should be doing in your Top End Garden this month

Thursday, July 13, 2017 | Regina Downes | Comments (0)


Its nearly mid July and the weather bureau have promised us there is more cooler weather to come before we head into the sweaty build up! You still have time to pretty up your garden up with some dry season annuals such as petunias, begonias, marigolds and portulacas.

If you had any plans for your garden to build new beds, install or fix irrigation I encourage you to get your skates on and get working on it asap. Because before we know it, the season will be over and we all know once that high humidity hits the last thing we want to do is head out into the garden and sweat some more!



Your lawn not looking so lush?
One of the biggest and obvious reasons your lawn isn't looking so lush now is usually due to lack of water. I was wondering why one patch of my garden was looking extremely healthy and very very green! After further investigation and a nice big water bill, I discovered we had a leak. I took advantage of Living water Smart Find a leak initiative and hey presto, not only is my leak fixed it also cost me little money due to the grant available, so if you think you may have a leak in your garden, go apply for the grant it only takes a minute, there is no forms to fill out and no emails to be sent, you simply go to the Living water website and ring up one of their approved plumbers/irrigation guys and they will look after you.

Fertilising your lawn
We normally recommend fertilising your lawn now and again after the wet. We don't fertilise in the wet because of the big rains we get, they can wash away (leach) any fertiliser you put on your lawn.

Grasses are leafy plants (opposed to a plant producing flowers or fruit) they simply require a fertiliser high in Nitrogen. Most animal manures are ideal for fertilising your lawn. Animal Manure is particularly high in the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus. If you are using animal manure from home make sure it's well rotted or it will 'burn'' your grass as it is high in salts when it's fresh.
Cow and chicken manure are the most commonly used. After you spread your lawn with the manure, give it a good soaking and try ignore the lovely fresh smell of well rotted animal manure! Spread the manure in the evening time when it is a little cooler. Horse manure is very good for your veggie patch as its usually full of nutrients, as horses are usually given lots of vitamin supplements in their diets.





Frangipani (Plumerias)
You will notice the frangipanis in the top end flowering beautifully now but dropping a lot of foliage. This usually happens this time of the year, even the evergreen frangipani- Plumeria Obtusa drops some foliage this time of the year but does not go completely bare like the other frangipani varieties. The evergreen frangipani Plumeria obtusa is easy to identify as it's got rounded leaf tips, glossy foliage and grows bigger than most other non evergreen frangipanis here in the NT.  You can prune your Frangipani tree now if you like, but we would recommend waiting until September instead, as this is when the humidity will be high and when the tree will have its biggest growth spurt. 

Pongamia- Milletia pinnata (naturalised here in the Top End)
You will have also noticed now your Pongamia trees looking a little bit crappy with their yellow and brown leaves and dropping a lot of foliage. This is normal for this tree as it is semi deciduous and loses its leaves briefly anytime between now and September, but man is it worth the wait! Their new foliage is spectacular. Their new foliage is bright lush green and looks fantastic! So in a nutshell don't go spraying your tree for any fungal disease, it's just doing its thing! 

Leptospermum Maddium- Weeping Ti Tree

Inspect your Ti tree for mealy bugs (small fluffy bug) found on the leaves and stem of the tree. If your tree has mealy buys, treat with pest oil. Mealy bugs will not kill your Tree only in servers circumstances. Mealy bugs look unsightly and will attract ants to your tree. 

Allosyncarpia ternata   One of my and the council's favorite tree! Native to the NT. Planted on nearly every street and roundabout in the Top End. Creates great shade and is very fast growing. Unfortunately tho there is now a lack of supply, this is due to the tree only seeding every few years. Usually the trees seeds must be sown fresh for it to germinate. This lack of supply will mean this tree will not be available in the Top end again for another few years or until enough seed becomes available.


                                                                             Pictured above Cordyline Rubra


Crotons- (Codieaum)
Check your crotons now, are they losing their bright colored foliage and reverting back to green? If so it may be time to dig it up and replant it elsewhere in the garden. Crotons usually revert back to green and lose their intense color if they are getting too much shade and not enough sunlight. Crotons can also lose their color if they get too much fertilizer .

Murraya (Jasmine mock Orange)
Try and plant this beautiful shrub near your doorway as its flowers are very fragrant, especially in the mornings and afternoons. If your Murraya isn't flowering, it usually means its not getting enough sunlight. 

Cordylines and Dracaenas-
In my last blog "'June-what you should be doing in your Garden this month" I did mention if your Cordylines or Dracaenas are getting tall and leggy, to cut them back and I will show you how if you are not sure. In the meantime I have made a really short and easy to follow video showing you how to prune these plants. The cuttings I done less than a month ago have all re shooted so I will add this to the video at a later stage. I did nothing special to get them to shoot, just kept them watered once a day
Here is the video link-How to prune your Cordyline Plant



Prune back your acalypha shrubs now. If they have mealybugs, prune the plant first, then treat with pest oil. (check under the leaves for signs of mealy bugs) Repeat spray again 7-10 days time.

Turkey Bush


(Calytrix exstipulata)
You can't miss our native Turkey bush in flower at the moment, it has covered the Top End in a sea of tiny purple flowers!   Beautiful.     It's kind of ironic that it self seeds like crazy all over the bush but it is actually quite difficult to germinate and to collect the seed!

In the Kakadu region, the appearance of flowers on the Turkey Bush around May signals the end of the season of Banggereng and the beginning of Yegge. -Aboriginal Calendar




The Veggie Patch



As we move into July there is less and less of a range of herbs and veggies we can plant, as the humidity will start to increase next month and most leaf veggies and herbs will not survive.


What we can start planting now; 

Squashes, sweet potato, Basil, beans, lemongrass, Orka, bok choi, Chilli and Kang kong
Make sure you use our veggie guide Calendar on what to plant now as you are wasting your money buying herbs and veggies that will not survive through the build up and wet season. (Even tho you will see big ranges of herbs and veggies for sale in the shops don't be fooled into buying the wrong plants this time of the year.


Veggie and Herb growing Calendar for Darwin and Katherine regions


Feel free to share any comments below if you have any helpful tips or advice when growing herbs and veggies here in the Top End, we would love to read your comments!

Watch out for next Month’s gardening Blog August-What you should be doing in your Top End Garden this Month



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