Gardening Tips with Charlie Albone


Planting to perfection

With the heat and long dry spells of summer starting to wane, Autumn is the perfect time to undertake planting in your garden. The weather is gentler for establishing plants and there’s a likelihood of Autumn rains, which lead to moister soils. And there is still enough sunlight and warmth to encourage steady root growth.

I spend a lot of my Spring and Summer deadheading flowers to promote new blooms. However, in Autumn I let them go to seed. I’ll often let them self-seed around the garden as I like the naturalistic effect. However, I will sometimes collect some for sowing and potting up for new areas of the garden or for swapping with friends.

Autumn is also a great time to take cuttings from your plants, as the success rate is much higher when the weather just a little cooler. Things like box, rosemary or even natives like Correa work well in Autumn.

Charlie’s top tips for planting:

  1. When propagating, slide the cutting between the side of the pot and the potting mix rather than in the middle of the pot. This generates more heat to promote good root growth in that zone.
  2. To collect flower seeds, simply take a small paper bag and place it over the seed head. I then use elastic bands to secure it in place before lightly shaking the plant to remove the seeds safely into the bag. The seeds can be left in the paper bag (but make sure you label them to avoid mix-ups).
  3. When planting flowers, incorporate lots of compost into your soil and water in well to establish.
  4. Whether it’s a combination planter or a garden bed, the trick with your Autumn planting is to start with the tallest plants first, followed by your fillers and then your spillers. Tall plants could be kangaroo paws or native grasses, while Rosemary Dampiera and Everlasting Daisies are great filler shrubs. For your spillers, you’d be looking at ground covers like Scaevola.
  5. Revitalise your garden with more than just plants – by attracting local birdlife! Autumn is a good time to plant natives like Grevilleas, which are a favourite of nectar-feeding birds like Honey Eaters and Wattlebirds.
  6. Planting trees and shrubs like Kangaroo Paw and Proteaceae in Autumn will also give them the best chance to develop a strong root system before Summer sets in.

Charlie’s top tools for planting:

  • When it comes to fertilising, I like to use a mix of slow-release fertilisers to work through the whole season, then a boost of liquid fertilisers for instant effect (I only really use the liquids in the first half of the season when it is warmer, as they are more effective and less wastage.)
  • The hand-held SG 21 manual sprayer makes it easy to feed all your plants in one go – simply spray your fertiliser in the root zone under the drip line of the canopy.
  • For cuttings and propagating, you can’t go past a pair of bypass secateurs – they’re a gardener’s best friend!

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