The Garden Goddess - Turning Mess into Magnificence

Gardening The Vines and Ellenbrook
Garden Tips

There are some easy ways to keep your garden beautiful between visits:

There are many benefits to mulching - water retention, insulation, providing organic matter and nutrients to poor soil, moderate weeds, aesthetics. When to mulch? The Garden Goddess recommends a two-phase mulching system.: 
In April/May lay down a lighter, highly nutritious mulch - the winter rains will help the organic matter and nutrients penetrate the soil, giving your garden a massive boost ready for the Spring/Summer time.
.In October/November lay down a heavier mulch to facilitate water retention and insulation against Perth's hot summer conditions.  This mulch should still be the variety that provides nutrients and organic matter to your garden., to continuously feed and support the plants during Summer. 
At the Garden Goddess we strongly recommend the Nutrarich range of mulches, composts, soil conditioners and soils.  Developed by third generation farmers, Nutrarich produces products specifically with W.A. soil conditions in mind. The high temperatures achieved in curing Nutrarich products ensures plant pathogens and weed seeds are killed and not transferred to your garden.
The Company collects clean agricultural waste and processes this waste through strict quality control guidelines. The manufacturing process uses neither human waste/effluent (bio-solids) nor have glass. Nutrarich products provide vital nutrients and microbial activity for plant health and vitality and continual soil building of the living soil.

The type of plant or shrub will dictate when to prune.  Given our "late" winters in Perth, Roses will benefit from an annual prune in August. This has proven to give a fabulous show in Spring, and ensures delicate new growth is not damaged by frosts, which are prevalent in the earlier winter months. 
Natives will flourish with regular pruning. This will help keep them neat and tidy, as their growth direction and shape can be tailored through regular pruning. 
Topiary and Hedges will assume a compact, tight appearance if pruned on a 6-8 week basis. As the plant is pruned, the cuticle between each leaf shortens, encouring the plant to send out more leaves, creating density. Regular pruning will help form and stabilise the desired shape.

What is the best watering system for your garden? Direct feed reticulation, where small pipes lead directly to the plant, guarantees water supply. However, as the water is supplied directly to the plant, the roots are not encouraged to grow and seek out a water supply. This leaves plants with a weaker root system, growing a less robust plant. 
Sprayers conveniently cover a larger area of the garden, with evaporation during watering becoming a consideration during warmer weather. Plants may not receive the amount of water they need in this situation, so soil saturation needs to be monitored. Providing adequate hydration is supplied via sprayers, the wider distribution of water will encourage plants to expand their root system to tap into the water supply, thereby promoting stronger plants - and in the case of trees - a more stable root base to combat winds.
A happy medium is to have low sprayers to combat evaporation during watering cycle, ensuring you have an adequate supply of sprayers to cover all areas.  In densely populated beds or along hedges, direct feed may be required to ensure water reaches past the leaves to the plant.
Loss of soil Porosity

Where soil has not been well maintained through composting and mulching, the soil will lose its porosity and repel water. The water will bead and run off.  Similar to a greasy plate - in order to clean the greasy plate, detergents are required to break down the grease. To break down the soil and allow water to penetrate, mature compost needs to be turned through the soil. 
The Garden Goddess recommends this over the use of soil saturators, as compost naturally reinvigorates the soil's ecosystem.  Micro-organisms are essential for healthy soil and plants. Not only do these microbes suppress plant diseases, they also convert nitrogen into the form
required for uptake by plants.  

Gardening The Vines and Ellenbrook
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