Cool relief on the way

April will bring the cooler nights and days giving relief from the Indian summer we just experienced.

As always, for gardeners, there are some exciting events planned- some close and some more further afield, but all worth a visit if time permits.

On Easter Saturday, the annual Murray River Giant Pumpkin Competition is being held with several categories to enter your pumpkin in, for example: the largest, best dressed or the ugliest pumpkin, to name just a few. 

It is being held in the township of Cadell and the entry is four dollars, with children under 15 free.

On Saturday April 8, the biannual ABC Gardeners market is being held again, and is a great place to source rare plants or buy your winter vegetables and bulbs.

The address is the ABC Car Park at 85 North East Road, Collinswood.

The gates are open from 8am to 1pm. 

A donation of a gold coin admission goes to help support the Minda Charity.

Another local garden well worth a visit, in the Open Gardens SA, is the beautiful productive garden DAKU on Davies Road, Sandy Creek.

The Claret Ash trees, although only relatively young, are making a strong statement as they sweep up the driveway towards the roses that edge the front of the house.

Several paths wind around the garden leading to the sheds and other structures that are being built and restored by the owners.

The keen gardeners are also taking part in a research project called Edible Gardens, which is a PhD research Project for Georgia Pollard.

Go on line to learn more and also visit this inspiring garden on April 22 and 23.

Entry is eight dollars, or six for commonwealth card holders with children under 18 free.

April this year means Easter and a few plants that Easter brings to mind are the Crucifix Orchid and The Passion Fruit Flower.

Scarlet Passion Flower (Passiflora coccinea) has many symbols of Easter such as the representation of the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus; a search on the internet gives to interesting reading.

The Scarlet Passion Flower is grown for its beautiful large red flowers, but the edible passion fruit also has magnificent blooms and does well in our climate, with the bonus of bearing fruit to eat.

The Crucifix Orchid (Epidendrum ibaguense) flowers in colours ranging from red, purple, though to yellow.

The lip of the orchid looks like a gold cross, hence the association with Easter.

The Crucifix Orchid also is a tough plant suitable for growing in a pot or the ground.

Without the religious significance, but also kindling thoughts of Easter, are Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Cosmos.

Cosmos atrosanguineus grows in sun to shade with heights from 3/4 to 1 metre, with the chocolate coloured blooms smelling like chocolate contrasting well with the silver leaves. Chocolate Mint, or Mentha piperita, also has the fragrance of chocolate and mint grown easily in sun or part shade and best kept confined in a pot.

Chocolate mint may be substituted for the more common mint for cooking and garnishing.

Rhubarb enjoys a feed of animal manure at this time of the year, but if spreading fowl manure make sure it has been well composted.

To serve with your next lamb roast, a hint learnt the other day, is to stew or roast seasonal quinces with the common mint.

A good way to celebrate Easter Sunday- roast lamb with a side serving of quinces and mint.

All the best for Easter and may there be time to potter in the garden!

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