Late Winter can seem like a bit of an in-between time in the gardening world. Winter veggies are well and truly established and almost finished up while Spring blooms are almost here but not quite yet. We’ve seen many Magnolia trees around absolutely laden with buds just about ready to burst into magnificent flowers. Other Spring blossoms won’t be far behind.
But August is a time of preparation as much as anticipation. Garden work done now lays the foundation for a spectacular Spring and Summer. As our trees and plants slowly wake up from their Winter dormancy, now is the time to do the same. Get out there and plant, prune and feed your garden!
It’s nice to get to the end of a cold, wet Winter and see a little more happening in the gardens now as some momentum gathers in the march towards Spring. The blossom season is starting, the roses are shooting away nicely and the soil is warming. Camellias and Magnolias are looking fabulous and ideal to brighten up this end of Winter. I am especially enjoying the beautiful blooms of Camellia Betty Ridley this year.
August is the month that traditional, incredibly fragrant Daphne is flowering and it is worth a spot or two in any garden. Often misunderstood, Daphne has just a couple of rules to ensure success. In nature, Daphne grows on the side of forested hills so it loves a well-drained, shaded position. I mix some Zoogro into a shallow wide hole and plant a new Daphne up on top of the resulting mound of soil ensuring that the surface roots are 12 to15 cm above the normal soil level. Daphne hate their roots being disturbed or their collar being buried and don’t like being transplanted once established. They do well in dry shade once established and are great in pots as long as they are planted in proper potting mix. I always try to never disturb the roots, plant too deep or water too much.
Boronia, especially the fragrant Brown Boronia is a much loved but much-maligned plant that also has a few simple rules. Boronias love moist, well-drained positions and a good prune after flowering. Like Daphne, we plant Boronias up on a mound of organically improved soil (or in pots with a good potting mix) to ensure available moisture and excellent drainage. I can’t smell Boronia as it is a selective scent but my wife loves it so I grow it for her.
- Remove all existing galls or lumps from Citrus before Citrus Gall Wasps start hatching from mid-August. Follow up with a fertiliser such as GrowBetter Fruit and Citrus or Sudden Impact to increase natural pest resistance. I prune off the first flush of new growth then protect the later flush of growth with a wasp trap or regular sprayings of Pest Oil
- Towards the end of August we can give a hard prune to soft perennials like Salvias, Calibrachoas, Gauras, Heliotrope and Fuchsias to stimulate new growth in Spring and subsequently increase flowering
- If your Citrus or Camellias aren’t a nice vibrant green colour, give them an organic-based fertiliser to green them up. It is important to use an organic fertiliser as it is more available to plants in our current cooler soil
- If you haven’t fed your roses yet give them a good high K fertiliser such as Blooming Roses to encourage disease resistant growth and earlier and more prolific flowering
- You can start feeding Gardenias with Harry’s Gardenia Food in the second half of August to help them recover from Winter as the soil warms up
- Control weeds in your lawn whilst the grass are dormant. Be on the lookout especially for Bindi and Clover, which grow well through Winter
- Prune your hedges now so that any new growth grows into your desired shape and isn’t messy
- Liquid feed Pansies, Violas and Poppies with Charlie Carp to stimulate more flowers now that the days are getting longer