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new leafHello again!  I hope you're having a great Winter season so far.  I know we've had some wet & bleak days, but we've also had some glorious mild and sunny weather - perfect for getting things done or for just enjoying the weekend outdoors.  The Winter solstice is behind us - so technically the days are getting longer once again.  The cycle continues!  Still, thoughts of Spring are still some way off right now and we need more rain to soak the soil and to put something into our dams.  (If you're planning ahead for Spring - make sure you check out our VIP special offer below.)

We've been keeping busy down @ GLSC.  Leesa has run a couple of our popular workshops, and we now have more up & LIVE on our website - click here for details.

indoor potting mixOur new Indoor Premium Potting Mix is now available.  (Garden Elegance in Subiaco is the first cab off the rank to have stock!)  GLSC will be offering a refund on clean & reusable tubs for this product; and we hope to roll this out to other retailers - so keep an eye on future newsletters and keep your tubs of potting mix in good condition so they can be refilled and in circulation.  (Eventually - we hope to roll this out to other products - but this first product is something of a trial for us.)  

In some exciting news - on 15th June Paul and I attended the LIAWA awards of excellence evening at Crown.  (Landscape Industry Assoc. of WA)  This is the evening that the landscape industry recognises and celebrates amazing designs and installations from its members - from small residential sites to large commercial and civic parks and playgrounds.  Green Life Soil Co entered the awards in the "Innovative Product" category with Charlie Charcoal - and I'm thrilled to say WE WON!!!  (Charlie Charcoal is a fantastic way to permanently improve the water holding, nutrient holding and biology of your soil; something we hope the landscape industry will switch onto and begin using in their clients' gardens.)  So if you've yet to try Charlie Charcoal yourself - now's the perfect time to get it into your soil before Spring.  Check out Rod from Chittering's testimonial & photos below.

In the last few weeks, we've had a couple of our team members leave us as they move on to new phases in their lives.  We said farewell to Luke and Hamish (two of our production team) and Chaz (who you may have seen in the shop/office).  We wish them all the best in their new adventures.  Stay tuned as towards Spring there'll be some new faces around - but for now you're likely to find Paul and myself 'at the coalface' a fair bit more. (Along with Jacob, Giles & Isaac of course!)

Enjoy your garden in Winter & we hope to see you soon @ Green Life! Keep warm, and keep gardening.

Linda & The Team @ The Green Life Soil Co

award logoIn this month's newsletter:

Jobs to do in the July Garden
What to Plant Now
Charlie Charcoal - Customer Photos
Biophilic Cities
July Photo Contest Winner
VIP Special Offer
Retail Outlets

Jobs to do in the July Garden

  • Pruning time - Roses!  This is always a hotly debated topic on gardening forums - when do you prune roses in Perth?  I know some people have already done the deed - while others wait until early August...  It seems that around mid-late winter is commonly accepted as 'the right time'.  
  • Pruning time - deciduous fruit trees & vines.  There have been some great workshops on this topic advertised lately.  Keep your eyes on various gardening forums to see where courses are being run near you.  Often, they're "hands on" in an orchard so it doesn't get more practical than that.  Otherwise - search on Youtube for some 'how-to' videos or visit the library for a good book for the knowledge on how best to prune the varieties of trees you have.  As some trees fruit on old wood & some on new wood - you want to make sure you're getting it right; or your crop next year may be adversely affected.  But take heart - even if you "get it wrong" nature is forgiving and in a year or two you may well have a bumper crop as a result.  Pruning keeps trees in good shape and improves airflow - so you'll often have healthier trees in the long run. 
  • Trim and tidy up Autumn flowering shrubs & natives and lift and divide perennials.  There's so much to do in the garden right now - but your efforts will be rewarded when things begin to actively grow again in the Spring.  Herbs to be divided now include mint, chives, oregano, lemon balm, sage, thyme.  Lemon verbena will need a good hack back now (use the leaves for tea or potpourri).
  • pruningTake hardwood cuttings.  It's very fortuitous that pruning season for many deciduous plants is also the best time to try and propagate them from hardwood cuttings.  Grapevines, wisteria, figs, mulberry, many berry plants, jasmine, roses, bougainvillia, hydrangea, honeysuckle - etc.   Remember to keep the cuttings the right way up.  Each section should be around 10 - 20cms long and leafless - but make sure you have a node a couple of cms below the top of the cutting (where leaves will shoot from) and a node just below the bottom of the cutting (where roots will form from).  You can use hormone rooting powder or honey to dip the bottom section of the cutting in; then use a pencil to poke a hole in your propagating mix.  Seed raising or a potting mix is usually fine to try - although experimenting with things like perlite and sharp sand may also be fun...  just make sure your cuttings aren't kept too wet or they'll rot.  Many plants won't need any hormone powder or honey at all - again; it's worth experimenting.  Tip - cut the TOP of the cutting at a 45 degree angle.  This will help shed water off the top of the cutting but will also help you distinguish 'right side up' when planting.  It's always worth having a play and seeing what works for you.  After all, who doesn't like plants for free?  Any you don't need can be swapped or donated to other eager gardeners.  If you're not confident, consider attending one of our Propagation workshops coming up!
  • Watch for frost - mostly in the hills where it gets VERY chilly overnight. Cover up sensitive plants, or move taller, tougher plants in pots around them to provide some shelter. More info on avoiding frost damage can be found here.
  • treesPlant deciduous trees, rhubarb crowns and asparagus crowns.  These are going to be available at nurseries very, very soon (our crowns will be here in 3-4 weeks) - so prepare the soil with some good organic matter and nutrients to get your new babies off to a flying start.  Our good friends at Guildford Town Garden Centre have got a huge range of bare rooted trees now in stock - so speak to them to get advice on what varieties are best for your area.  Buying bare rooted trees is the most economical way to purchase them, so don't leave it until Spring because the plants will be emerging from dormancy and will be potted up - meaning you'll need to pay more for the time & effort involved.
  • weedsWinter Weeds - you may wish to stay on top of them in your vegie garden, but to quote from fruit tree expert Peter Coppin:-  "We seem to worry too much about annual winter weeds and waste time (and chemicals) trying to control them - especially in the orchard.  Deciduous plants tolerate weeds much better as they are dormant.  Evergreens may need some weeds suppressed as there will be some nutrient competition.  Winter weeds are more than 90% water, and shrink to nothing when they die off in spring.  Their root systems penetrate the soil and help with aeration and then add organic matter when they die.  So I think they're best left, or maybe just topped with a whipper-snipper or mower.  It's worth remembering, however, that weeds grow where there is barer soil, and maybe replacing them with useful groundcovers could be a good idea.  Where you don't want anything growing, the answer is 50-75mm of a coarse waterwise mulch, as most seeds can't germinate in it".

What to Plant Now

broccoliEarly birds can get a jump start on raising spring seeds indoors or in a hot house.  It's always a gamble as to how soon to start seeds off - nobody can predict the weather in 8 - 10 weeks time when you might be ready to plant some things out.  Start with a few seeds, and start a few more in a couple of weeks.  That way - sooner or later - you're going to jag the perfect timing and be way ahead of the pack at getting things in.  Of course - your own experience of gardening in your own backyard will help with this.  Microclimates are so important and can literally vary from one side of the fence to another!  Making notes in a diary is always helpful and will help you next year when you're trying to remember what you planted & when.

It's not too late to get winter crops in the ground either - although I'd recommend seedlings over seeds at this stage and you'll be harvesting much sooner.  Check out our downloadable 'when to plant' guide (and a number of our other free guides) here.

Some things you can plant in your garden NOW are:-

Artichokes (globe & Jerusalem types), Asparagus, Broad Beans, Cabbage, Celery, Celeriac, Coriander, Endive, English Spinach, Kale, Kohl Rabi, Lettuce, Mint, Onion, Parsley, Peas, Potatoes, Radish, Snow Pea, Spring Onion, Strawberries.

We've still got some Certified Organic Seed Potatoes ready to go - be quick!  For info on growing spuds, click here.

RHUBARB and ASPARAGUS CROWNS have been ordered - we expect they'll arrive before the end of July.  Contact us & put your name on the list if you'd like to be notified; or keep an eye on our Facebook page as we'll announce when stock arrives.

Charlie Charcoal Update

charlie charcoalAs mentioned above - we won "Innovative Product of the Year" for Charlie Charcoal at the recent LIAWA awards.  I recently contacted one of the early customers who trialed Charlie Charcoal over a year ago to check in with the longer term results in his garden.  This is what Rod had to say:

"As to CC (Charlie Charcoal) - cannot be happier. Bought a 500 ltr bulk bag a short time back and have used half in veg patch and near house garden.
We do not have scheme water and since applying CC have reduced amount of watering frequency. Now when mixing potting mix we also mix worm tea with CC before adding enriched soil."

Rod very kindly sent us in the photos below, and had this comment to say about his lemon tree.  "since applying CC best lemons from a tree that has been carted/transplanted at least 4 times in 20 yrs."

So if you haven't tried Charlie Charcoal yet - winter & early spring is a great time to get it into your garden.  It will help hold the moisture in the soil once the weather warms up; and if you pre-charge it with a liquid fertiliser, will mean that as your plants once more begin to actively grow, the nutrients they require are going to be available for them. 

         

Biophilic Cities - it's only natural!

biophilic cities book coverLast week I attended the NGIWA (Nursery & Garden Industry WA) annual members breakfast.  The guest speaker was Peter Newman - Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University, who gave a fascinating presentation on Biophilic Cities and what role we can play in this movement as an industry.  

Biophilia basically means "love of life, or love of nature" - and is a theory that all humans are innately connected to nature and the natural environment.  It makes sense when you think that until the last few hundred years, much of our lives involved the daily interaction with animals and plants for our very survival.  Today, many of us live in cities, obtain our food from supermarkets, and have very little connection with living systems.  What impact does this have on our society?

The biophilic cities movement is a push towards reconnecting urban environments with nature.  There are a number of ways that this can be done - and there are many proven benefits for doing so.

Many cities in the world have now "signed on" to the movement - with Fremantle joining in April 2018.  

The goal of these cities is to introduce MORE green - by clever planning that incorporates nature in urban corridors, public open space, rooftop gardens, vertical gardens - both in and around our buildings.  Studies have shown that buildings that incorporate living plants are more popular/easier to sell and lease, and companies who use them report higher levels of staff satisfaction, less stress in the workplace, and less sick days used.  Hospitals that incorporate greenery (and views of greenery from hospital windows) report faster levels of healing and recovery from patients.

parkroyal poolSingapore is leading the way in this movement - with building codes that promote greening the city.  So much so that the city's green coverage has INCREASED instead of decreased - unlike many urban environments around the world.  Singapore's Parkroyal on Pickering hotel pictured here is one example of how greenspace is incorporated into high rise developments.  (Thanks to Mark Tucek for this photo showing the swimming pool overlooking the balcony garden planted below.  He has visited the hotel and said it was amazing to be able to walk around balconies circling the entire building that were just basically a garden!)

Green roofs provide significant cooling and less flooding/storm water issues within a city - with associated energy savings and environmental benefits.  Natural outdoor play spaces and parks have benefits in community health - promoting more exercise, child development benefits and community interaction - all associated with mental health benefits as well as physical health benefits.

While our climate in Perth does present challenges - there are clever systems and appropriate plants that will help us "green" our city.  We need a groundswell of people to get behind this and encourage Councils and developers to incorporate nature at the planning level - not as a last minute side dressing to a finished building - which much of our landscaping tends to be at present.

Let's challenge the system and push for positive change!

I would urge you to google the biophilic cities movement and learn more. We all have a part to play in making our cities a more pleasant place to live and work. Send off an email or message your council when there are development notices placed around your local area. Imagine how town planners and developers would sit up and take notice if they started getting the public enquiring about the green spaces in and around buildings!? 

grevilleaAnd it all starts with your own backyard.  Some councils now have changed the rulings on verge gardens.  If you want to grow food - great.  But it's not just about that.  Replacing unused lawn areas with hardy plants and native plants will promote biodiversity and bring back more life to the suburbs.  Sensible and appropriate tree plantings help cool our homes and reduce our reliance on air conditioning.  A thriving pot plant on your windowsill to greet you as you make your morning coffee will make you smile (try it!).

Part of what we're all about at Green Life is helping people reconnect with nature.  We feel it is important work, and while we do it in a very small way, it is wonderful to know that there is a groundswell of bigger things happening; and we hope you'll join us on the journey.

Here's some websites to check out:

https://www.thenatureofcities.com/
http://www.biophilicdesign.net/
http://biophiliccities.org/

July Photo Contest Winner

Remember folks - you've got to be in it to win it!  Send us in your garden photos (via Facebook or email) with a few lines describing your garden and what you love about it!  If you're using Green Life products, don't forget to let us know which ones.

You could win the monthly draw of a $50 voucher - drawn at random.  

This month's winner is a AYLA Inc.  (AssistingYour Live to Achieve) - a not for profit organisation providing emergency crisis support & accommodation and mental health services.  Visit their website to learn more:  https://www.aylainc.org.au/.

They recently put in an extensive food garden - which has the duel benefit of providing a productive outlet and training opportunity for the people they support - and provides food for their program.

One of the project coordinators recently sent me through some photos of the garden's progress, which you can see below.  Her comments were:

"Some photos of the Banjup gardens.  We started late March with a rough bush block and a few old sheds.  It's slowly coming together.  We are already providing bags of silverbeet and spinach to the food bank at AYLA Inc. with more to follow."

The first picture shows a bed planted with seed on 27 April (photo sent 21 June).  

Congratulations AYLA & keep up the great work! 


 

 

VIP special offer

truckJuly is traditionally one of our quietest months of the year.  We get that it's winter, but actually it's a great time to be in the garden - especially when we're REALLY blessed with fine weekends!

We'd love your support to keep us busy - so as an incentive we've got a special on bulk deliveries for the next couple of weeks.

We know that (especially for those that live some distance away) delivery cost can be an issue with getting bulk soils delivered - so we'd like to offer you HALF PRICE delivery for your bulk soil until the end of this month.  

Up until 31st July 2018, bulk orders booked and paid for will receive half price delivery... which means depending where you are - you can save between $25 - $60. So jump on the phone or send through an email detailing what you need, and we'll get it booked into our system.
You must ask for the VIP July Special Offer!!

So get a jump on your Spring garden - give us a call today!

Retail Outlets

wholesale productsWe're really EXCITED to let you know that for those of you in the Geraldton region - Succulent Kiss (35 Cathedral Avenue) will soon be stocking some of our products.  Go and check them out - and let your friends who live in the area know.  While they don't have a lot of space to display the full Green Life range - they'd certainly be open to getting in special orders for what you need.  

We're currently in negotiation with a few outlets in other regional areas too - so watch this space as we head towards Spring.

For those of you in the Perth metro area - please support the retailers who support us.  You'll find great products and great advice close to home.

Remember to check with individual stockists what products they currently have in stock - as it will vary between retailers:

Beaufort Garden World - Inglewood 9271 0585
Dunn + Walton - Doubleview 92427711
Garden Elegance - Subiaco 9381 2197
Guildford Town Garden Centre - Guildford 9279 8645
Nibali Stockfeed - Hamilton Hill 9433 2211
Stanbee Stockfeeds - Barragup 9581 2390
Waldecks Bentley - Bentley 9458 5944
Waldecks Melville - Melville 9330 6970
Waldecks Kingsley - 9309 5088
Waldecks Stirling - 9254 6730
Wandilla Nursery - Wattle Grove 9453 9779
Zanthorrea Nursery - Maida Vale 9454 6260

Keep in touch with us via our Facebook page (Green Life Soil Company) and Instagram (@greenlifesoil)   And as always - we love your feedback.

Happy Gardening!













 

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