GrahamEllis      SUB TROPICAL GARDENING  WITH GURU - GRAHAM ELLIS

Welcome to the high energy month of Summer, a 3 month period where plants and weeds grow at their fastest rate. Now is the ultimate time to plant so you can achieve maximum growth before winter. Now is also the time to get control of weeds so you can limit their unwanted spread. While planting in summer is optimum, it will require extra work by you in the form of watering and feeding to take advantage of maximum growth.

Climbing plants
Plant Climbing Plants now.

These will cover vast areas during this 3 month season; however, there are a few necessities you need to be aware of.
Firstly, as their name states, a climbing plant must have somewhere to climb, so you will need to install a trellis of wire or latticework etc. before you plant your climber. If you planted your climber first and you say to yourself that you will wait till it needs a trellis before you put one in, then the climber will simply sit there and do nothing. However, as soon as you give it something to climb on, it will grow more in one week than it would in a year with no trellis!
Initially, always lead your climber up to the trellis by twisting it through the gaps and then nature will take over.
Some of my favourite climbing plants are Trachelospermum (Chinese Star Jasmine), Mandevillea, Ipomoea (Cardinal Creeper), Clerodendrum (Bleeding Heart Vine), Stephanotis (Madagascar Jasmine), Pyrostegia (Orange Trumpet Vine) and Allamanda (Golden Trumpet Vine).
There are other climbing plants that we refer to as woody climbers that don’t need a trellis as such, but just something to lean on like a wall or fence. Some of these include Bougainvillea, some varieties of Allamanda and Petrea (Purple Wreath or Sandpaper Vine.
All climbers cover different areas so make sure you choose one that will suit your needs.
Ground covers 

Plant Ground Covers now. 
Like climbers, ground covers spread out quickly at this time of year to cover bare ground and cascade over alls and embankments. There is a massive range of ground covering plants on today’s market, with a variety to suit your purpose and situation. They range from Natives to Exotics and even Conifers, some for sun, others for shade.
Some of my favourite ground covers include the prostrate Grevilleas, Acalypha Repens, Casuarina “Cousin It”, Calibrachoa, Perennial Petunias, Juniperus Conferta (Shore Juniper) and Lotus.
Some ground covers will cover their full expanse in one season.
Ground covers can be planted to stop erosion, minimise weeds, trap moisture in the soil, cover bare spaces and  embankments - or just because they  look aesthetically pleasing and colourful!
Shade trees 

Plant Shade Trees now.
Large trees that will give you future shad will take time to grow so start now for maximum growth. When planting shade trees, make sure you use varieties that will grow to the overall height and width you require. Even though this may take many years, the right choice needs to be made now.


When planting large shade trees, dig a hole at least three times the size you need and backfill it with the very best soil you can buy, adding some slow release fertilizer to the mix. After planting, you will need to water thoroughly for at least a month to allow the new tree to develop strong deep roots. Mulch around the tree to keep moisture in but do NOT build mulch around the trunk or collar-rot and death will occur.
Some of my favourite shade trees are Jacaranda, Poinciana, Buckinghamia (Ivory Curl Tree), Xanthostemon (Golden Penda), Tipuana Tipu (Racehorse Tree) and Tabebuia.
tropical colour 

Plant Tropical Colour Now.
We live in the sub-tropics with a mass of brilliant alternatives in this field. Colour can be achieved by flower and/or foliage variation, and can add life and uniqueness to an average all green garden.
Some of my favourite leaf colour plants are Crotons, Calathea, Hibiscus Rose Flake or Snow Flake, Dracaena, Acalypha (Fijian Fire Plants), Graptophyllum Pictum and Ficus Starlight.
Some of my favourite flowering colour plants are Euphorbia, Desert Rose, Geraniums, Vincas, Hibiscus, Dipladenia Crossandra, Calibrichoa and Sun Impatiens.
Adding colour to your garden not only personifies the tropical feel, but it helps to lure birds and bees to your garden. Colour enhances the street appeal of your home, so add plenty of colour to the front of your house.
So make sure you plant as much as you can this summer but keep it well watered and fed for exceptional growth. God Bless.