A Melbourne Garden in July

By James Wall, Nurseryman.

Well it’s been a big month in our garden. The lawns are mown and the edges are done, but the weeds have been out of control. We have embarked on a concerted effort to physically remove as many as we can before they flower. Some spraying will also be done but I try and minimise this. A concern for many councils  around Australia is the very real possibility of weeds building up a resistance to chemicals like Glyphosate. We use a combination of hand removal, weed mat, mulch, and organic sprays like ‘Beat-A-Weed’ as well as traditional weed killers. Beat-A-Weed works well between the pavers and acts by dehydrating the plant.

With the mundane tasks completed, I stare with admiration at my neat green Sir Walter buffalo lawn. It’s looking fantastic and just waiting for the next footy kick. There is a bit of yellowing, and a couch or kikuyu will probably even yellow more. This is normal in cold weather. The worst thing you can do is feed lawn right now and it could even make things worse. Feed in October and if you have kicked the footy on it in winter, keep in mind it may be compacted and need aeration, also done in October. Find out more from our turf experts at The Smart Water Shop

Now for some of the more exciting tasks – like pruning the fruit trees. I love doing this. It’s like getting a tree all neat and tidy before it lets loose again in spring. Look at the tree before you start. Take out any inward growing branches and try and get the classic wine glass shape going. Maybe take a third off long lanky branches.  Apples fruit on second and third year wood so need to done a little differently, where you leave older spurs. I have manually removed all of the leaves off one of my plum trees as I have heard that it will help to have a long winter chill with no leaves. This tree didn’t fruit last year, so let’s see if this makes a difference. Don’t forget to spray stone fruit, before and at bud swell. Yates liquid copper is a good one to use as it dilutes well.

seed raising kit


Another activity I am doing now is sowing vegetable seeds of tomato, chilli and capsicum. You will need a covered propagation tray and preferably bottom heat to
warm the seed raising mix. Sow on top of the soil and cover the seeds with vermiculite. Carefully label each sowing area so you remember what you are growing and when it was sown. Use a watering can with a fine rose (like a cap with little holes) as this won’t blast the seeds away. As soon as they start to grow, make sure they get good light or they will stretch. Gradually remove the protection around the seedlings until they are tough enough to be in direct sunlight. Protect from the cold of night though. Soon they will be ready to transplant into pots.

 We have a family of Indian Myna birds hanging around our house. After doing some research I have found there are people around Australia trapping them and killing them. In Canberra alone some 40,000 have been eradicated. It sounds hideous, but when you read how they destroy our native birds by pushing eggs out of nests, killing chicks and blocking spare hollows with rubbish, I can see why people are doing this. It is a cruel reaction to this non-native pest, but if it means more native parrots and finches, then maybe this is a good thing.

This photo came from the Tweed Shire Council website. There is some interesting information on their eradication program on this web page.


With a bit more cleaning up of a callistemon and dead heading a protea, I am reminded how much I actually enjoy doing the everyday gardening tasks. An old gardener once told me that the reason younger people don’t garden much is that they don’t have the patience to make it past the mundane part. It’s a pity, because beyond that there’s a world of pleasure, in watching the garden grow.

Winter is a great time to come down to Gardenworld and talk to one of our qualified staff. You may just be surprised at what you will learn.

Now available: rhubarb, asparagus, shallots, seed potatoes, roses, bare root fruit and ornamental trees, gladiolus, calla and canna lilies, Red Hot Poker, paeony rose and 4 types of mushroom kits.

Rhubarb Tambo River Red


  1. Kat Smith says:

    Great post. I also have a resident Myna bird (named I’m afraid) who I think would knock my daughter off her chair to get at her dinner when dining alfresco at home. I am amazed by this birds resilience, he has a damaged broken beak which makes picking things up a challenge but had no idea of their ‘pest status’..

  2. garden shop nursery says:

    It’s the first time I’ve heard of guerilla gardening I think it’s a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to get started on my random acts. Would love to hear from anyone interested in joining me work some magic around the inner-western suburbs of Melbourne.

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