Neil Fisher mulching a new garden.
Neil Fisher mulching a new garden.

GARDENING COLUMN: Things to do this weekend

FOR SOME, this weekend could be a chance to admire the gardening efforts of other.

Others may add the finishing touches to their spring garden masterpiece.

However, for many others who are not quite so dedicated, now is the time to begin sprucing up your potential Garden of Eden.

This means that the garden will be the best place to be over this weekend, preparing for spring, so here is a quick checklist of the tips for “jobs to do” this weekend.

Bromeliad display.
Bromeliad display.

Garden Show

This weekend there is first Garden Show of the COVID-19 era and it will happen at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.

The Rockhampton Bromeliad Group will be hosting the 2020 Bromeliad & Tillandsia Sale with both local and visiting growers attending. 

Throughout the two days there will be presentations on the growing of Bromeliads and Tillandsias.

This sale will be open to the public between 8am to 4pm Saturday the 5th and between 9am to 1pm on Sunday the 6th.

This event will follow COVID Safe guidelines with all attendees required to sign the register. A coffee van will be available for light refreshments.

Rosellas drinking from a stone feature at the Japanese Garden
Rosellas drinking from a stone feature at the Japanese Garden

Visit the Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Gardens at the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens was designed by Mr A Kjina, a Japanese landscape gardener.

The basis of the design is that of a traditional Japanese garden, is to emphasise harmony with the combination of size, shape and texture.

In a Japanese garden, factors such as the placement of rocks are more important than the positioning of the plants.

The common crossing method of olden times was stepping stones across a stream and this is often included in a Japanese garden.

Features that are so common in our gardens such as rocks or pavers placed in lines are avoided in Japanese design, as is repetition and symmetry of plants or materials.

A walk through the Japanese Gardens will show how the vision of Mr Kjina’s design has been achieved.

The Japanese Gardens were officially opened on June 17, 1982 by the Japanese Ambassador to Australia, Mr Mizuo Kuroda.

Phil Fisher trimming a Lilly Pilly.
Phil Fisher trimming a Lilly Pilly.

Last chance pruning

Have you not given the plants in your garden trim yet?

Now is the time to start pruning those feral plants of the gardens, such as Bougainvilleas, Hibiscus and Calliandras to name a few, especially if they are not flowering.

Poinsettias can be pruned hard now, although if you would like to develop your plant into a taller screening plant, simply cut back to three buds on each plant.

For those gardeners with native plants, you should be tip pruning at every opportunity, as the dry weather should bring out spectacular flowering displays.

If your native plants have become long and spindly, now is the time to be brutal and cut them back to a stump within 300mm or one foot from the ground.

Don’t forget to use a tree wound dressing on the freshly cut wounds to prevent borers from attacking these plants.

It's the ideal time for repotting plants.
It's the ideal time for repotting plants.

Pot plants

It is also the right time to rejuvenate pot plants.

Most homes will have plants around the pool, pergola, verandah and even the hanging baskets, that are starting to look a little tired after winter.

This is the perfect time to plant them into a larger tub, so that you get the attractive new growth and blooms for spring.

Simply take the plant out of its pot. If the root ball is solid and compacted, slice off a third of the bottom of the root ball and add some water crystals.

Before replanting your plant in a slightly larger pot with fresh potting soil.

Fertilise with a mild solution of water-soluble fertiliser to help prevent transplant shock.

The flower bed in the Robinson's garden in Rockyview.
The flower bed in the Robinson's garden in Rockyview.

Flower Gardens

It is easy to be inspired by the colour and perfume of annuals that are in flower during spring. With this year being the first in more than decade that we start spring with the ground moist a flower garden could inspire.

Alyssum, Amaranthus, Aster, Balsam, Begonia, Celosia, Chrysanthemum, Celosia, Cockscombs, Cosmos, Gazania, Geranium, Gomphrena, Marigold, Nasturtium, Petunia, Phlox, Portulaca, Rudbeckias, Salvia, Sunflower, Torenia, Verbena and Zinnias.

Some annual gardens will now be requiring a good organic fertiliser around the plants, and remember to cut all spent blooms off your garden plants to increase flower production.

Veggie patch.
Veggie patch.

Vegetable Gardens

The weather is perfect for the preparation of veggie gardens.

Remember if you are not using fresh garden soil you may need to open and aerate the soil. All of the following can be planted this weekend - Beans (dwarf and climbing), Beetroot, Capsicum, Carrot, Celery, Chinese cabbage, Choko, Cress, Cucumber, Eggplant, Herbs (any), Lettuce, Marrow, Pumpkin, Radish, Rockmelon, Rosella, Spring Onion, Squash, Sweet corn, Silver beet, Sweet Potato, Tomato, Watermelon and Zucchini.

Tulips grown from Bulbs in a garden on Mount Archer.
Tulips grown from Bulbs in a garden on Mount Archer.


This weekend you should start fertilising your bulbs, with Blood and Bone or a fertiliser made specifically for bulbs.

Another important hint is don’t be tempted to cut off the bulb foliage after the bulb finishes blooming.

It is ok to cut off the spent flower heads but not the foliage.

The foliage continues to feed the bulb as the bulb forms the embryo of next year’s flower.

Neil Fisher mulching a new garden.
Neil Fisher mulching a new garden.


Mulching is another important addition to that Spring job list.

Probably the biggest mistake most home gardeners will make is either not mulching their gardens, or if they do, using the wrong type of mulch, both to the detriment of the garden. Many plants will tolerate the full blast of our hot summer sun, providing their roots are kept cool and moist.

Mulches such as sugar cane mulch, pine bark, straw and even newspaper have proved to be highly successful in not only controlling the growth of weeds and reducing the amount of water that each plant requires, but also giving the garden that finished effect.

Tim Knowling rolling freshly laid turf.
Tim Knowling rolling freshly laid turf.

Planting new lawn

Now that the days are getting longer with more sunshine means that couch lawns are starting to grow again.

So now is the best time to buy lawn seed or turf to start your summer lawn.

While turf will provide an almost instant green lawn the alternative of lawn seed costs a lot less and will give you a beautiful green carpet within six weeks.

Both turf and seeded lawn grow best in full sun, with regular watering and lawn fertiliser applied.

Now is the best time to take Frangipani cuttings as the Frangipani branches are still bare.
Now is the best time to take Frangipani cuttings as the Frangipani branches are still bare.

F rangipani Cuttings

The time is perfect to take cuttings as the Frangipani branches are still bare.

Large 3-4 metre cuttings can be taken now, and laid out to dry in the full sun for a fortnight somewhere on like a concrete path.

This will dry the milky sap inside the cutting.

After the fortnight, put your cuttings 30-60cm into the ground and by Christmas time the cutting should be in full leaf and have wonderful perfumed flowers.