Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
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March

Greater Brisbane region


The beginning of March can still be very hot, but get ready for a busy few weeks once the weather cools down.

Not only will it be more pleasant to work outside then, but it will be time to plant a wide variety of cool-season vegetables, annual flowers and spring-flowering bulbs. Trees, shrubs and perennials planted in the mild autumn conditions of March will have time to establish before winter slows down growth.

If we've been fortunate enough to have good rains over the summer, they'll have have deleted soils of nutrients, especially the more soluble ones. Plan to replenish the soil before autumn planting. Don't forget trace elements, whether you add them separately or as part of a complete fertiliser. (See also Plant nutrition and nutrient deficiencies.)

We don't know how long summer rains will last, so also give a thought to improving water penetration and retention in anticipation of drier months ahead (for more see Soils). Tanks have become a familiar part of the backyard landscape in recent years, but the soil itself can be a form of water storage (balanced with the need for suitable drainage, of course).

Mail order (which includes online shopping these days) is a simple way to obtain unusual or old-fashioned vegetable and flower seeds, bulbs and other plants. If you haven't ordered already, get your orders in for autumn planting without delay.

Mail order can also be used to expand your rose collection if you don't have a specialist rose nursery nearby. Although bareroot roses are usually supplied in winter, get your order in early to avoid disappointment. Once stocks of a given variety are sold out, you'll probably have to wait until next year.

Provided they've been suitably hardened-off, container-grown plants can be planted out at any time of year in frost-free parts of SEQld. However, this is an ideal time as summer rains will (hopefully) have recharged the now-warm soil. Combined with autumn's mild air temperatures, conditions should promote plant establishment before growth slows/stops over winter and our drying westerly winds pick up. Many tough plants can get by with whatever falls from the sky once they're well-established, but will still need supplemental watering in the early stages. See also Planting and Establishment


Pruning

The end of flowering is an opportune time to prune shrubs like Buckinghamia and Murraya paniculata.

However, leave winter and spring flowering shrubs alone as they will be flowering soon or initiating their flower buds now. Examples are poinsettia, snowflake, camellias, gordonia, and azaleas. Now would be a good time to supply at little extra potassium.


Vegetables


March is an excellent time for getting a wide range of veggies in the ground in SE Qld, allowing gardeners to make the most of the mild autumn conditions ahead. Try tomatoes, capsicums and eggplants; lettuce; radish; carrot, beetroot and silverbeet; beans, peas, cucumber and zucchini; cabbage, broccoli; turnip, onions, garlic.

Furthermore, if you want to try broad beans, parsnips or cauliflower, get them in now for winter. The window of opprtunity for these varieties in the Brisbane area is small as they really prefer require a cool to cold climate. Given the wide variety of other vegetables to choose from, you might choose not to risk disappointment and leave these these crops to our friends in chillier regions.

Time to plant strawberry runners. Ideally, obtain certified disease-free stock. If you can't find them locally, they may be obtained by mail-order. Potted strawberry plants are also available from garden centres, which are an easier option if you just want to try a few plants.

See also: Vegetables, Seed raising.


Fruit Trees

Sorry, monthly notes for fruit haven't been produced yet.. In the meantime, you can try the main page dealing with this subject and check the links for the type of fruit tree you're interested in, here: Fruit Trees


The Flower Garden

March and early April is the main month for sowing Annual Flowers for a spring display. This practice is not as popular these days as it once was, given the shortage of space, time and water we have to deal with these days.

Nevertheless, it might be fun to try if you have some empty beds to fill (e.g. while waiting for shrubs to fill out a new garden). A packet of mixed spring flower garden seed can provide quite a variety for just a few dollars. You can save the seed of any that you particularly like or do particularly well for you and use these to fill empty spots or create seasonal container displays in the years to come.

Alternatively, try some annuals in containers to brighten up entranceways, patios etc, You can try seed, but if you only need a few plants, seedlings in punnets the local garden centre are fast and easy.

If you want to try sweet peas, wait until the end of the month or early April. Planting on St Patrick's Day (17th March), according to the old tradition, may be a little premature if conditions are still hot and wet. However, the the date nevertheless serves as a useful reminder to prepare a bed (add lime or dolomite if it hasn't been done recently), buy seed and prepare the trellis.

More: Annual Flowers and Bedding Plants, Seed raising


Garden shows, open gardens


Things really start to get going for the year in March when it comes to garden openings, shows, expos. Check the Events Diary and see if there's something on near you.


Looking ahead


You might be thinking about using the upcoming Easter break and the cooler weather to catch up on some jobs around the garden. To make the most of your time, prepare now. Get those tools clean and sharp, make sure there's line in the trimmer, and stock up on supplies. Here are some pages you might find useful: Garden Tools, Clothing, Boots, Gloves, Hats, Fertilisers, Soil Conditioners and Amendments, Mulches, Potting Mixes and Growing Media


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A few daylilies can be still be seen in flower in Brisbane in March (Salisbury, Brisbane, early March 2013) More information: Daylilies

Mussaenda, probably cultivar 'Doña Luz' (Salisbury, Brisbane, early March 2013)
Detail of above (Salisbury, Brisbane, early March 2013) More information: Mussaenda
NB: These notes are under development. At present, the following applies to the greater Brisbane region only. It's hoped to expand these notes further in future updates, adding more information and eventually, more regions.
Naturally, this is a general guide only and will vary depending on local conditions, weather, plant variety etc.
Ongoing water availability is also a big concern these days, so take this into consideration too, especially if planning new gardens.



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Get Results Gardening is a weekly newsletter-style email publication especially for the new, inexperienced or reluctant gardener in SE QLD.

Simple and achievable ideas, reliable plants, shortcuts, inspiration and motivation for a beautiful garden that compliments your house and makes your whole property more enjoyable to live in.



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