Snow in summer!



The Olympic Games may have passed but ‘Olympia’ is a perennial that may rekindle some lovely memories, says Judith Sleijpen.

Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum ‘Olympia’) is a spreading groundcover or trailer with silvery foliage that forms an attractive, ornamental mat. From spring to the end of summer, it is studded with a generous display of snowy white flowers.

‘Olympia’ prefers to grow in a sunny spot in organic-enriched, well-drained soil. It cascades beautifully over rockeries and walls and, when mass planted, creates a ‘living’ mulch.

For those who have gardens on balconies, this hardy perennial is perfect to grow in premium grade potting mix in decorative containers or hanging baskets. Drought tolerant once established, ‘Olympia’ appreciates a good soak during extended periods of heat and an application of slow-release fertiliser in early autumn.

Top gardening tips for November

  • Grow your own vegetables. Plant sweet corn, squash, zucchinis, beans, spinach, cucumbers, and chillies. Condition the soil with some compost or organic matter before planting.
  • Watch for aphids and other insects that are more prevalent in warmer weather. You’ll usually find them in clusters on plant tips and buds. Squash them with your fingers (wearing garden gloves), hose them off with a strong jet of water or apply some horticultural oil, as directed.
  • Check citrus trees for bronze orange bugs. These insects can give off an unpleasant odour when disturbed. Shake them off carefully into a jar or tin of kerosene to eliminate them.
  • Lift and store spring-flowering bulbs, after their leaves turn brown, in a stocking or onion bag in a dry, airy spot. Then they’re ready for re-planting in late April to mid-May next year.
  • Raise the height of the mower blades and allow the grass to grow a little longer. The grass blades shade the root system to help the lawn withstand intense, summer heat.
  • Extend the hours you enjoy your outdoor living area by installing some lighting. Illumination adds another dimension to any garden. Fairy lights in your favourite tree can add a special touch of magic to any occasion,
  • Give your indoor plants with shiny leaves a spring clean. Wash and wipe them over to remove any dust, increase watering and apply a slow-release fertiliser
  • Brighten up your entertaining area with pots of summer flowering annuals. Plant seedlings of petunias, salvias, marigolds or zinnias and you’ll have a colourful display in time for the Christmas festive season.


What’s on?

Garden design in 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. Comprehensive notes are provided, and places are limited. 10am to 4pm, Saturday, 13 November, Northern Beaches Community College (9970 1000)

Bonsai for beginners workshop: Remove the mystery – create and enjoy your own bonsai! Discover its history and how easy it is to grow. Comprehensive notes are provided, and bookings are essential. 10am to 4pm, Sunday, 14 November, 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.

Judith Sleijpen, Contributor, Peninsula Living Magazine

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