IT’S hard to miss the blooming flowers in Leongatha’s CBD.
From the pansies to the alyssums, daffodils and everything in between, the plants are looking stunning.
And the first roundabout you reach as you enter Leongatha from the Bass Coast, between the Commonwealth Bank branch and Kmart, brighten’s up everyone’s day.
It’s a much-needed pop of colour in Leongatha, especially throughout the recent lockdown.
But how does the South Gippsland Shire Council’s Parks and Gardens team make them always look so spectacular?
Team member Shaun Hayes, a qualified horticulturist, says it’s about soil preparation, regular maintenance, weekly manual weeding, and fortnightly fertiliser.
“People look at the annuals and ask us how we get them to look so good,” Shaun said at the roundabout last week.
“It’s mainly to do with preparation. We mix in Blood and Bone into the soil with a quick release fertiliser, as well as a slow release fertilsier and organic matter in pellet form.
“We turn it all over and add some lucerne and chaff mulch to add heaps of nitrogen, which helps plants grow.”
Of course, the mulch also keeps the weeds down.
“It stays in the soil, and then we turn it over every year.”
He says it’s important to rotate the types of fertiliser – they switch between Seasol and Potash – otherwise it doesn’t work as effectively.
And with the arrival of spring, the Parks and Gardens team is going to be very busy.
“We’ll be planting the next season of annuals in November. A good indication of when you should be planting annuals is for summer, plant before
Remembrance Day, and for winter, before ANZAC Day,” he said.
“Next season we will be planting herbs and veggies around the shire, so local residents can pick parsley, basil and silverbeet.”
Shaun worked in Foster for three years, working under Paul Robinson, and learnt how herbs and veggies make great landscaping plants too.
“They can have really nice colours and shapes, and add some really good contrast,” Shaun said.
“They can be good companion plants because the insects that usually eat the veggies get eaten up by the flower bugs.”
The blooming flowers we see in Leongatha are what the Parks and Gardens team are all about: “Overall, it’s a very rewarding job. We love hearing feedback.
“Annuals just make everyone happy – especially during lockdowns.”