The Garden Diaries: Northern Territory in December

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The Garden Diaries: Northern Territory in December

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It’s December in the Northern Territory and it’s hot and sticky. But that’s no excuse not to get out into the garden. Here are some ideas for what to do at your place.

Hero plant this month: Screening plants

This month, it’s all about screening plants. For example, Murraya paniculata is a great screening plant for the garden. With its pretty, white flowers and dense growth habit, murrayas can grow up to 4m. With regular trimming, they’ll provide a great screen. Plant in  a sunny position in well-drained soil. 

Lilly pillies are another great screening plant that work well in small backyards. They are fast growing but can be trimmed to size and shape. Choose from varieties such as the smaller growing ‘Baby Boomer’ and the psyllid resistant, ‘Resilience’. Lilly pillies will thrive in fertile, well-drained soil, in the sun or a semi-shaded position.

Screening plants

What else to plant

For the tropics, heliconias work well with their striking flowers and architectural foliage. Gingers are also looking good in store now. Plant in moist, well-drained soil.  

Give the vegie patch some planting love too. Plant eggplants, coriander and mint will also do well. Mint prefers a shady spot, rather than full sun and keep it contained in a pot.

Plant snake beans too. These are favourites for the tropics and produce big crops of stringless beans.

Potted herbs

Maintenance

It’s hot and humid, but that’s all the more reason to get into the garden and keep up with the maintenance.

Keep an eye out for pests such as caterpillars and grass hoppers. An excellent, organic control is to squash them between your fingers. If you want more advice on other organic controls, pop into your local Bunnings and speak to some of the experts.

It’s a great time to re-fresh indoor plants. When repotting, using a quality potting mix. Always wear a mask and gloves when handling potting mix.

Mulch the garden before the wet season. Pine bark chips are a good choice. But use what works at your place. Mulch protects the soil and keeps weeds at bay.

A person checking for insects on their plant

Harvest

The garden is still very productive in December. Pick pumpkins, sweet potatoes, lemon grass, chillies and basil.

There you have it, some ideas for what to do in the garden in the top end.

Herbs and vegies

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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