Diane Beddison

It might be hot at the moment, but it will soon be Autumn in the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Region – an exceptional season with its stable weather and generally moderate temperatures and a great time to consider being in the garden with friends and family.

March is ideal for entertaining outdoors on a deck or veranda or under a large tree. Install pots of annuals to add some colour. And don’t forget to take some time out. Add a bench to your favourite area in the garden and read a book or just admire your garden.

In the meantime, make sure you water your garden ahead of the remaining hot days. To conserve water, time irrigation or manual watering for early morning before the heat kicks in and causes evaporation.

At the start of Autumn, dead head repeat flowering roses and feed with organic fertiliser for a great final flush. Feed other exotic plants with an all-purpose fertiliser, paying special attention to Camellia, Citrus, Gardenia, Rhododendron and Hydrangea.

Autumn is the best time of year to fill the gaps in your garden, as new plants will have many months to establish before summer returns. If you have room, carefully considered trees are a great addition.

Why Plant a Tree?

  • Trees provide us with cool shade for our homes and gardens. They are the cheapest and healthiest way to cool our towns and cities.
  • Connection to nature is important for people, offering improved mood and mental health benefits.
  • Trees support other creatures by providing food and habitat.
  • Many productive trees fit readily into a home garden and give us the extra benefit of food.
  • Growing trees improves the environment by reducing atmospheric carbon. Photosynthesis creates plant growth by utilising sunlight, water, and CO2. Through this process, carbon is removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in plants and ultimately in the soil.

Now is an excellent time to select a deciduous tree to enjoy next spring. Deciduous trees cool our houses in summer and let sun light in when it’s needed in winter.

Whether you garden is a small courtyard, a family block or you have large acreage, there is always a tree to suit your needs. Perhaps you need an attractive tree to shade you or your house, screen out a bad view or as a small feature plant? Walk around your local town and visit the Wombat Gardens to find trees that do well in your climate. Check your local nurseries to see what’s available.

Create a short list of favourite deciduous trees by taking into consideration their form (overall shape), texture (leaf shape) and colour (leaf colour as well as flower colour). When their leaves change colour, decide which tree you prefer for your special spot. If your nursery doesn’t have the tree you want, ask if they can source it for you.

‘Trees are the most important planting decision a gardener makes….’ Clive Blazey

Plant of the Month

Plants are often best matched to particular seasons. Here is one to think about for autumn: Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ which is now known as Hylotelephium spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’.

It’s an easy-care herbaceous perennial; dry tolerant and happy in full sun or part shade in most soils. The flowers make quite an impact with chartreuse buds in late summer, opening as pale pink star flowers and changing to rich copper during autumn. They attract bees and butterflies and can be used as cut flowers.

Diane Beddison is a frequent visitor to Daylesford and the Principal of Beddison Garden Designs