Around the Garden

One of the most valuable compost/mulches for roses is mushroom compost, as its alkalinity is greatly appreciated by roses.

After spreading the compost, sprinkle some pelletised poultry manure or any organic fertiliser over the surface and your roses are sure to flourish.

Mushroom compost is also invaluable for digging into clay soils prior to planting as it provides humus as well as food.


Maize is the ancestor of modern corn varieties and has its origins in the Americas where the indigenous peoples grew it to grind into flour. 

Corn species have been crossed with each other for centuries.

Corn species have been crossed with each other for centuries and the modern sweet varieties are the result of these crosses. To grow juicy cobs ready for harvest around late February, sow sweet corn seeds direct into a well prepared garden bed that has had plenty of compost and fertiliser dug into it. 

Sweet corn needs plenty of water when cobs are forming. 

Group plants in clumps to aid pollination which is vital for cob development.

Loving limes

One of my favourite trees growing in Launceston’s parks is the Tilia, or lime tree, found growing near the band rotunda in the Cataract Gorge Reserve. 

It is simply majestic both by day and at night when up lighting at its base creates the illusion of being in a fairy wonderland.  

The flowers are rather inconspicuous but sweetly scented and loved by native bees.

Herbalists make a soothing tea from the freshly dried flowers which is taken with lemon or sugar but not milk.

Cut leaf and weeping birches are mostly grown as grafts on a rootstock, thus any damage around their base can cause a proliferation of suckers. These must be removed as soon as they appear, for they not only look untidy but also rob the grafted tree of water and nutrients. Lawnmowers and brush cutters are the usual damaging suspects. 

Superb squash

Squash like a sunny position with a rich friable, well drained soil. Keep plants well watered during hot weather and mulch to conserve moisture loss.

In humid conditions plants are sometimes prone to leaf mould so thin leaves to help improve good air circulation. Water at the base so leaves don’t get wet as this also can lead to problems.

Harvest when a little under ripe as this is when they are most tender and flavoursome.

Nasturtiums are great companion plants and make a decorative display when left to ramble among vegetables.