June 2 - 8, 2019: Issue 407


Keeping Your Garden Dewful During Times Of Water Restrictions And Drought

The State Government has announced water restrictions will commence from June 1st this week. These are Level 1 water restrictions which means residents and businesses are not able to:

  • use standard sprinklers and watering systems at any time
  • leave hoses running unattended
  • wash vehicles and buildings with a hose that isn’t fitted with a trigger nozzle or high pressure cleaning equipment
  • clean hard surfaces such as paths, driveways and paved areas with a hose as part of general clean.

Obviously people may still hand water under these restrictions, which is best done in the morning.

One way to reduce our need to be constantly watering plants during extended dry spells is to capture what comes naturally - dew. Of course, promoting dew to stick around is not a great idea if you live in an area where that dew is likely to be filled with pollutants as that will encourage plant disease. 

If you live in an area with clean air the benefits are great, including (1) Supplying important water resource. In the arid and semiarid regions or in the dry season, dew is the main or the only water resource because of its higher frequency and sustaining time comparing with the precipitation, which keeps the organic synthesis and metabolism, accelerates the increase of biomass in plants. (2) Regulating inner water of plants. The function of dew on regulating inner water of plants includes the following several aspects based on related studies: helping plant to rapidly activate photosynthetic activity during desiccation and rehydration; supplying a moisture environment in repairing embryo DNA of seeds, maintaining seed viability under harsh desert conditions; regulating the transpiration pressure and helping the wilting plant arrive a higher steady restoration state; etc. (3) Improving water balance of soil. There is an indirect effect of dew on plant through improving water balance of soil. On one hand, dew forms on the soil surface or drops into the soil from the nearby plants, becoming an importing water resource. On the other hand, the soil evaporation decreases along with dew event appears, leading a mitigation of soil water tension to some extent. [1.]

In Israel, where water scarcity has been a way of life for decades, Tal-Ya (“God’s dew” in Hebrew) manufactures trays that capture dew and funnel it to plants, often tree crops. The 28-by 22-inch polypropylene trays trap air underneath themselves as well, insulating plants from extreme temperatures and catching moisture evaporating from the earth to create a perpetually moist soil pocket around the roots. They also block weeds that would otherwise compete with crops for water.

The trays can reduce water use by up to 90% although 50% is more typical. They can also reduce fertiliser use by 30% because the trays direct the nutrient straight to the plant’s roots. Tal-Ya states that its trays last for up to 10 years and are 100% recyclable. Since beginning commercial production in 2013, farmers in Israel, the United States, China, Chile, Georgia, Sri Lanka, and Australia have adopted them according to the company’s web site.

So how do we funnel what water is available into our plants and make soil so it can retain what water is available?

1. Mulching

Taking care of the soil itself is a great beginning. All soils, including the clay soils many Pittwater gardens have, will benefit from incorporating some green matter into them and this in turn helps those soils retain moisture. Also ensuring adequate groundcover of mulch or spreading ground cover plants will keep the soil moist for longer. There are some tips on this in: Spring Garden Prep: Soil Care 

COMPOST STARTER BLOCK: $9.95 - 45L block expands after adding water. Coir fibre with slow release fertiliser for better results. Helps homes with small yards, due to less grass and leaves. Easy carry handle.

NEUTROG WHOFLUNGDUNG MULCH 20KG: $18.99 - Biologically activated. Nutrient rich. Weed free & absorbent mulch.

2. Capturing Dew

In Queensland gardeners having been collecting 70-80 litres of dew, even on drier nights, for well over a decade now. Those colder crisper Winter nights create a big dewfall - especially on your roof!

The principle behind this is to harvest that dew that collects on your roof with those who have metal rooves likely to see more dew collecting than the tiled roof, although these will still provide dew water too. As the sun rises in the morning and the temperature does too, if enough dew has formed, it travels down the roof in to the rain gutters and then into your collection points - whether this is buckets under the stormwater pipe or having these directed into a rainwater tank or pond for reuse. It's really that simple.

Visit: DIY Summer Projects: Install A Fountain Or Water Feature

Tip: make sure your gutters are clean and covered with a leaf guard so you don't end up with a lot of organic detritus in you water. 

Tip: check your gutters don't have any leaks - you don't want to lose all that precious dew.



both available from Johnson Brothers Mitre 10

3. Plant Choice

Although many native plants still require some water, they won't need as much as thirstier varieties that haven't adapted to local conditions.

Westringia ‘Grey Box’ was crowned Plant of the Year for 2015 at the prestigious Nursery and Garden Industry Australia Awards. The judges were impressed with this plant’s environmental qualities. Incredibly robust, tolerating drought, frost, salt winds, humidity and periodic wet feet, it has been tested in extreme cold and heat, performing well in many different climate zones in Australia.

This plant has year round grey foliage provides colour contrast and masses of white flowers are displayed from September to May. Grey Box is brilliantly tough, fast to establish and easy to maintain as it has a naturally compact, dense habit, making it ideal for use as a neat low hedge, rounded clipped ball shapes, for garden borders or in pots. Reaching 45-55cm high and wide unpruned, but can be kept at a tidy 30cm if pruned one to three times per year.

Feed in spring and autumn using a good Natives plant food that is low in phosphorus and specially formulated for use on natives and will give plants a quick nutrient boost as well as continuous feeding for up to 6 months. For more information on Westringia Grey Box go to www.ozbreed.com.au. Also available: Tips for Growing a Native Garden 


4. Plant Care during Cold Dry Winters

In cool zones protect young or tender plants from damage by making some temporary shelters using stakes and off-cuts of shade-cloth or woven textile frost cloth. Using a product such as Yates Waterwise Droughtshield sprayed over the foliage and branches also offers a protective layer which reduces the severity of damage on sensitive plants.

2L. For garden beds and potted plants. Improves moisture penetration and spoil structure.

Cool air and evening dew favour fungal problems on ornamental plants. Check the foliage of sweet peas and begonias for a whitish powdery film on the leaves. Often it’s the older leaves which are worst affected. Treat powdery mildew using a Rose Shield Insect & Disease Spray, which contains a systemic broad spectrum fungicide. Healthy plants are less likely to be susceptible to disease, so keep plants actively growing using regular applications of a Liquid Plant Food.

Indoor plants require much less water during the cooler months. Wait till the soil surface is dry to touch, then apply water, draining off any excess. Water sitting in saucers under indoor plants during winter spells trouble. Move indoor plants well away from heaters and an occasional mist of water over the foliage helps maintain humidity.

Potted flowering indoor beauties like Cyclamen and Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchids – will benefit from regular applications of half strength a Liquid Plant Food which encourages healthy leaf growth and lots of beautiful flowers.

500ml. Concentrate. Houseplant, tomato or vegie & herbs

Cymbidium Orchids really come into their own during winter with flamboyant displays of gorgeous blooms. In autumn, bring them out into the sunshine as the flower spikes develop. Flower spikes can be supported with a small stake, or left to arch over naturally. Continue feeding fortnightly with a Soluble Fertiliser and enjoy the display as the buds unfurl. 

Free plants!

After pruning deciduous shrubs and climbers such as hydrangea, grapevines, wisteria, currants and roses, don’t toss away the trimmings – they make excellent hardwood cuttings. Here’s how:

  • Select stems pencil thickness or bigger, and make cuttings 15 to 20 cm long.
  • Cut just above a leaf node (where the leaf joins the stem), count down three to five leaf nodes then cut just below a leaf node at the base.
  • Orientation of your cuttings is important, so to note which way is up make a slanted cut at the top and a straight cut at the bottom.
  • Fill pots with a Seed Raising mix, dibble holes around the edge.
  • Water in well. Place the pot in a sheltered well lit position or a small greenhouse, which will help keep the cuttings moist.
  • Cuttings can be potted up into individual pots when roots and shoots appear in around 6 months.

69W x 49D x 126Hcm. Sturdy steel frame. NB: does not include pots and plants.

1950(H) x 730(D) x 1430(W)mm


1. Ye, Y. and Peng, S. (2011) Review of dew action effect on plants. Shengtai Xuebao/Acta Ecologica Sinica 31, 3190–3196. 

Green Life Garden Centre at Johnson Brothers Mona Vale

Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Store
73 Bassett Street
Mona Vale - Online Store: Jbhmv.Com.Au

Products advice is available from the trained friendly staff at Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Avalon Johnson Brothers Mitre 10. 

Click on logo to visit Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 website

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Avalon            (02) 9918 3315

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Mona Vale     (02) 9999 3340

JBH Timber & Building Supplies          (02) 9999 0333

JBH Fencing & Landscape Supplies    (02) 9970 6333

www.johnsonbros.com.au Online store: jbhmv.com.au

All information and tips in this publication are of a general nature only and neither Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 or Pittwater Online News does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information and tips in this publication. This publication is not intended to be a substitute for expert advice. Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 advises you to always consult an experienced and qualified person when undertaking jobs of this kind (including consulting a qualified tradesperson such as an electrician or plumber where relevant expert services are required). 

You should also consider any safety precautions that may be necessary when undertaking the work described in this publication (including wearing any necessary safety equipment such as safety glasses, goggles or ear protectors or hard hats). The information and tips in this publication are provided on the basis that Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 and Pittwater Online News excludes all liability for any loss or damage which is suffered or incurred (including, but not limited to, indirect and consequential loss or damage and whether or not such loss or damage could have been foreseen) for any personal injury or damage to property whatsoever resulting from the use of the information and tips in this publication. 

Pittwater Online News and Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 also advises there may be laws, regulations or by-laws with which you must comply when undertaking the work described in this publication. You should obtain all necessary permissions and permits from council and/or any other relevant statutory body or authority before carrying out any work. Major projects published in this publication always list these and/orlinks to where you may research what your own project requires to meet regulations.

Previous DIY Pages:

Decking Timbers  Caring For Your Deck Decking Finishes  Privacy Screens I Privacy Screens II  Privacy Screening Hardwoods  Autumn Paths and Lawns  Insulation Batts Plasterboard  Ventilation - Edmond's Ecofan Blackboards for Children and Home Spring Lawn Care  Shade Sails & Watering  Basic DIY Tools DIY Tools - Power Drills Recycle Your Trampoline into An Air Bed  How to Build Your Own Backyard Cricket Pitch Christmas Lights Displays around House and Garden Summer Mildew - Refresh, Renew How to Fix Things That Drip and Bump in the Night Time To Plant Winter Vegetables in  a Raised Garden Beds Layout Organsing Your Tool Shed  Make Your Own Weathervane Installing A Garden Watering System  Decking Oils  How To Make Garden Compost  How To Winter proof Your Lawn  How to create Shabby Chic effect on Timber Furniture How to Build Your Own Raised Garden Bed  Growing Your Own Winter Vegies  Winter Heating Guide  Prepare Your Yard For Winter Eradicating Noxious Weeds From Your Yard How to Fix Furniture Finishes Part I  How to Repair Scratches, Dings, and Dents of Furniture Surfaces - Part II Winter Draughts Fix  Classic Wooden Tool Carrier Spring Garden Checklist Part I  Install Your Own Skylight  Retaining Walls for Saving Soil and New Spring Garden Beds  Summer Salad Garden  Native Plant Garden for A Fairy Arbour Renewing Short Flight of Exterior Stairs Deck Maintenance DIY Summer Tasks You Can Do In Time to Get to the Beach  Garden Ponds for Attracting Birdlife, Dragonflies and for the Soothing Sounds of Water  Salt Air: Maintenance and Protection Creating an Outdoor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio - Part I Creating an Outdor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio Part II  Autumn Garden Tasks  Autumn DIY Jobs: Waterproof Your Home Checklist  Dealing With Dampness Inside the Home  Fixing Your Fence  Repairing and Replacing Damaged Decking boards DIY Toy Box and Snow Globes: School Holidays Fun - Winter 2015  DIY Wooden Toy Cars and Perfect Painted Flowerpots: School Holiday Fun - Winter 2015  Shoring Up an Under House Earth Bank – Installing a Basic Retaining Wall  DIY One Shelf Sideboard  Early Spring 2015 Garden Care Salad Garden For Children  Keeping Your Garden and Home Cool in Hot Weather  Classic Beach Garden and Camping Chairs 3 Portable Versions Anyone Can Make DIY Outdoor Furniture Mark I: Park Benches for Your Garden Make Your Own Scooter or Skateboard: Summer 2016 Fun  How to Install a Solid Core Door and Door Furniture  Summer Garden Jobs: Pruning A Hedge  How to Make A Swing Chair - With A Frame for Garden Setting Garden Jobs for March to Make A Beautiful and Healthy Spring  Keeping Outdoor Nooks Warm During Cooler Months Children’s Step Stool with Storage  Stop Winter Rain Lawn Loss and Soil Erosion on Slopes  DIY Garden Shed: Part 1 of 4 - Base  DIY Garden Shed: Part 2 - Framing Walls  DIY Garden Shed: Part 2b - Gable Roof Framing  Garden Shed Part 3: Roof Installation  DIY Garden Shed: Weather- boards - Door And Window Installation And Paint Finish DIY Coffee Table With Chessboard Inlay  Spring Gardening: Feeding Your Soil And Plants - What Works For Each Plant  DIY Sandstone Flagging Parking Area - Platform  DIY Pre-Summer Checklist For A Safe Home   Summer Spruce Up: Interior Paint Tips and Three easy steps to rejuvenate your timber deck The Perfect BBQ Garden Setting DIY Water Wise Garden   DIY Side Gates  DIY Storm Preparation And Home Protection  One To Two Day DIY Weekend Spruce Ups  Vegepods For Autumn Planting + Easy To Make Lego Table Or Student Desk That Can Be Dismantled + Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Online Store   Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Great New Mona Vale Store: Still In Bassett Street - number 73  Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Mona Vale Store: The Greenlife Garden Centre  Go Outside And Play: Creating Garden Spaces To Connect Children With Nature DIY Plasterboard Repair DIY Dolls House Or Garage Or Boatshed  DIY Child's Waggon - or use as a large planter mover DIY Bathroom Refresh: Zing For Spring  Tips for Growing a Native Garden FireCrunch, Australian Developed Fire-proof, Sustainable, Durable and Reliable Building Board Now Available at Johnson Bros. at Mona Vale and Narrabeen School Holidays DIY Ideas for Children: Little Vegetables Garden, Swing, Windchimes Bushfire Season Preparation 2017: Home and Outdoor Areas  Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Trade Centre at Mona Vale + Issue No 1 of Mitre 10’s inSITE Magazine for Tradies and Handymen  Preparing Al Fresco Areas for Christmas Get-Togethers and Summer Visitors  Summer De-bug; Mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and ants - how to keep the outdoors insects where they belong DIY Summer Projects: Install A Fountain Or Water Feature  Late Summer and Early Autumn Projects: A Shed For All Storage Solutions + Garden Tasks + Keeping Our Waterways Clean   Autumn Plantings for Winter Harvests   2018   Paintback Collection Event: Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale Saturday, April 7 Reducing Ticks in Your Garden: Garden care, Plants that Repel, What to Wear Outdoors Attracting Insectivore Birds to Your Garden: DIY Natural Tick Control  Mother's Day 2018: DIY Rose Garden Winter Mould & Mildew Inside Your home: How to Keep Air and Surfaces Healthier DIY Traditional Rocking Horse  Johnson Brothers Trade Day 2018 DIY Mushrooms and Vege Kits: School Holidays Fun Winter 2018 for Curious Kids  Woodworking Projects for Beginners: School Holidays Fun Winter 2018 - Simple Storage Box + Wood Tool Box Spring Garden Prep: Soil Care  Spring into Spring + JBH August 2018 Trifecta  DIY Backyard Doggie Paradise  Garden Care for Heavy Rain Days + Non-Toxic Snail and Slug Debug Ideas  Garden Design and Plant Management to Minimise Tick Attacks and Infestations - insights from an essay by Bill Conroy BSc. (Agr) (Syd) + a Tribute to Wilfred Lawrence Conroy CBE by Keith Jackson, PNG and others  Make Your Own BBQ Kitchen Garden: Gifts That Grow Past That Giving Day  Christmas Lights 2018: Light Up the Night  How to Keep Your House Cool During a Heatwave Without Using an Air-Conditioner Mid-Summer Garden Care  2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale! + End Of Summer Garden To Do List  DIY Fruits of Your Garden: Growing Figs  Fruits Of Your Garden: Growing Passionfruit - Autumn Is Also The Time To Plant Strawberries For Spring  How To Water Your Plants When Away On Holidays + Some April 2019 School Holidays Fun For Outdoors; A Skateboard Swing Or Indoors; Grow Or Make Pot Plant People Dealing With Autumn Dampness Inside The Home + Mums Day Gifts For 2019 Winter Heating Guide + Get Ready For Winter Specials


John and Bob Johnson - The Johnson Brothers Profile  John William Alfred Johnson - The Eulogies for those who could not attend Mass

Australia's Prime Minister Visits Mackellar - Informal Afternoon Tea with Hon. Malcolm Turnbull October 2016

JBH Win Awards August 2018 Trifecta - 2018 Free Trade Day supporters, Mitre 10 Heritage Advert features JBH Mona Vale Store, Hardware Australia’s 2018 NSW Hardware Store of the Year over 2500sqm.

Front Page Issue 294: 2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale !!!