Lemon Ice is so, so nice!
Lemon Ice (Arenaria montana) is a hardy, ground-hugging perennial growing to a height of about 15 centimetres and spreading up to 80 centimetres wide.
From mid-spring to summer the grey-green foliage is cloaked in slightly trumpet-shaped, soft, lemon-coloured blooms, which are sweetly scented to attract pollinators.
Lemon Ice prefers a sunny position in organic-enriched, well-drained soil. It is ideal planted in mixed perennial borders, paved areas, edging pathways and between flagstone paving.
This perennial not only cascades beautifully over rockeries and retaining walls but also looks spectacular growing in premium-grade potting mix in decorative containers on balconies.
Low maintenance and easy to grow, simply apply a slow-release fertiliser to Lemon Ice after flowering, and water deeply during extended periods of heat.
Top gardening tips for May
- Plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as hyacinths and tulips in pots. Grow some annual seedlings of pansy, viola or primula on top of the potting mix and you’ll have colourful flowers while you’re waiting for the bulbs to bloom.
- Prepare garden beds for planting roses. Dig in plenty of well-rotted compost and manure four to six weeks before planting.
- Top up the mulch on all garden beds to a depth of at least five centimetres, especially around shallow-rooted plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. Keep the mulch slightly away from plant stems to avoid fungal infections.
- Reduce watering on indoor plants during the cooler months. Mist the foliage of ferns and shiny-leaved plants to keep them clean and dust free.
- Condition the soil by digging in some well-rotted compost or organic matter to fork-depth and plant new season’s vegetables, such as cabbage, broad beans, broccoli and spinach.
- Delight in the beauty of autumn with the changing shades of deciduous trees. Oaks, maples and liquidambars show off some of their best colours at this time of year. Add fallen leaves to your compost.
What’s on in May?
Garden Design for Large and Small Spaces Workshop: Whether you’re starting from scratch or revamping an existing area, enjoy learning how to transform an open space into a haven for relaxed living. Topics include: site analysis, plant selection, use of colour and perspective, types of containers, potting mix, mulch, watering, fertilising, maintenance, common pests and diseases and much more. Comprehensive notes are provided and bookings are essential. 10am-4pm, Saturday, 22 May, Northern Beaches Community College (9970-1000).
Bonsai for Beginners Workshop: Remove the mystery – create and enjoy your own bonsai! Discover its history, how easy it is to grow, and which types of containers, soil, materials and equipment are preferable. Comprehensive notes are provided and places are limited. 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 23 May, Northern Beaches Community College (9970-1000).
Judith Sleijpen is an experienced horticulturist, columnist and garden designer, advising clients on all aspects of their gardens. For more information phone 9907 6460.