Enjoy cavalcade of colour

HERE'S some good news to brighten our day.

The Sunshine Coast Hibiscus Society will hold their annual show in the Woombye School of Arts Hall in Blackall Street, Woombye, on Saturday, May 12, from 9am-2pm.

This is an excellent opportunity for everyone to enjoy these beautiful tropical flowers, talk with the society members about their favourite subject, and learn some great tips on how, where and when to grow these popular shrubs.

There'll be hosts of beautiful flowers on display, plant sales from 9am, judging of the competition blooms will be at 11am, and the winners announced and presented with their trophies at 1pm.

How-to-grow guides will be available, as well as fertiliser and other items on the members' craft stall. Don't miss out on the great raffles, and there'll be refreshments available at a small cost. Entry is free.

This will be a good time to join the group - only $20 per family, which provides membership until June 2013, as well as a free plant.

For more information, contact Audrey on 5476 2771.

Vegetable corner

A good tip from Yates is to try growing their "seed of the month" Mustard Red Leaf, a popular vegetable that can be used when tiny, after about 20 days, or in Asian salads, stirfries and soups when ready in six to eight weeks. Not only that, it has attractively coloured leaves that add colour to the garden, and look good in the ornamental section.

Simply sow the seeds into well prepared soil containing Dynamic Lifter pellets or Blood & Bone, thin out where necessary, and feed regularly with Thrive Soluble Plant Food to encourage rapid growth.

Mustard Red Leaf is slow to bolt, but when it goes to seed, save them, and grow again.

Gift time

With Mother's Day only two weeks away, and knowing that most mothers would appreciate the personal effort put into the gifts they receive, you may like to consider the following ideas.

These days a large number of older people are downsizing, some into duplexes, while others choose apartments, smaller properties and retirement villages. So with reduced space, they would no doubt be very happy to receive a stand and hanging baskets to attach to it which could be used indoors or out.

Our enquiries have established there are some very good and stable basket stands available from selected venues. Manawee Garden Centre in Buderim has a beauty that will hold six 25cm baskets, which would make a great display in very little space.

The baskets could contain a broad range of plants including edible ones - parsley, thyme, nasturtiums (great in salads), strawberries, lettuce, endive and dwarf spinach would make a good start.

Perhaps she would prefer ferns that grow so well in shady spots, so look for maiden-hairs of different types and hare's foot ferns, with some of the low growing bromeliads for contrast.

Other choice basket plants would be native violets (Viola hederacea), fan flowers (spreading Scaevola), wax flower (Hoya sp) and the pretty creeping jenny (Lysimachia num).

It would be a good idea to make your choices as soon as possible, so they are settled into their new container before handing them over.

When transplanting, be sure to use top quality potting soil, preferably containing water crystals, and add the appropriate controlled release fertilizer in the base of the hole. Keep basket(s) watered, and when Sunday, May 13 arrives, you'll have created a gift with everything necessary including your love.

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