This frosty weather might make us feel like all of Melbourne is hibernating along with our gardens but passing the shortest day of the year means that spring is not far off! We like to take advantage of this time to plant large trees and start planning for new growth. A little bit of gardening is a great way to keep warm outside!
We have passed the shortest day of the year, which in my mind is the quietest point in the annual horticultural cycle. The early bulbs are flowering, the early blossom will start this month and you can see plants beginning to stir.
Our current selection of fruit trees includes a wide range of citrus and multi-graft deciduous trees. We will also have deciduous magnolias back in stock this month, which put on an eagerly awaited late winter floral display. Now is the time to plant up on a mound of improved soil.
Daphne is a classic winter fragrance in both pots and garden beds. It loves a shady spot, up on a mound of improved soil. We have traditional, very fragrant pink and white daphne as well as the longer flowering hardy Perfumed Princess.
Japonica Camellias have started flowering a little late this year but now is the best time to choose and plant them so you can see the colour and shape of the flowers. A favourite variety is Satsuma, which I consider to be the best formal white-flowered japonica.
Things To Do:
- Give box plants a serious shaping prune this month, before spring growth. Yellow or rusty coloured box are suffering from a lack of nutrients, which can be corrected with Dolomite Lime or, even better, a dose of Topbuxus.
- As the days lengthen, pansies and violas will begin to flower more. A liquid feed now will encourage even greater flowering.
- Plant new season rhubarb and asparagus crowns and seed potatoes. If your existing rhubarb is getting a bit big, divide it and replant into enriched soil.
- Stake up new flower spikes on Cymbidium orchids and protect outdoor plants from pests with Multiguard.
- Moss is loving this cold, wet start to winter, especially in lawns. Treat unwanted patches with Moss Killer.
- Later this month, remove any galls from the stems of your citrus trees. These galls look like lumps and are full of larvae that will emerge in August and September and attack the new growth. Galls also interrupt the flow of water and nutrients through the tree, which can weaken and eventually overwhelm it.
Plant of the Month
Most of our favourite roses will be in this month, including a couple of exciting new releases. Dame Judi Dench is a new release from David Austin with a lovely full rich apricot-orange flower. It has a high weather tolerance and a lovely delicate tea rose fragrance.
Also from David Austin are Vanessa Bell, with large clusters of creamy-yellow fragrant flowers on an upright shrub, and James L Austin, with an abundance of fragrant deep pink roses on a bushy shrub.
New Papa Meilland is a new improved variety of an old favourite rose famous for its rich, velvety red, highly fragrant blooms. It now has greater vigour and disease resistance. Whichever you choose, always plant roses into improved soil to ensure the best result.