Winter is upon us and many plants are entering a period of dormancy. This doesn't mean our gardens have to be boring, many plants love the cooler temperatures!
Winter is also a great time to get things done in the garden. Tony has some excellent advice for pruning roses below but if you need a little more help, don't stress! Our famous rose pruning demonstrations are back over the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Join us at 10am on Sunday the 12th and Monday the 13th of June for an in-depth demonstration and discussion of pruning all types of roses.
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It may be the start of winter but there is still lots to do in the garden this month. Helleborus flower through winter in many different colours and are great for shady dry spots. Many natives do their best work through winter, flowering their hearts out! Primulas love the cold and flower at their best through the cold months. Also flowering in June are Hardenbergias, Daphne Perfume Princess, Wallflowers, Candytuft, French Lavender and early Narcissus.
Osmanthus are sweetly scented, easy to grow winter-flowering shrubs that are ideal as a hedge or screening plant. We have both the compact bushy Heaven Scent and the taller Fragrans. Gardening book author Stirling Macoboy writes that “Osmanthus is the most delicious fragrance of all!”. They are ideal to perfume your winter garden.
It’s time to start pruning your roses in Melbourne, though gardeners in colder areas should wait. I like to have my roses all pruned by the shortest day of the year, The exceptions to this are once-flowering roses like Banksia and old fashioned roses which I prune after flowering. Modern roses need to be pruned to get the best out of them with the hardest prune in winter and two or three lighter prunes through the year. I prune most bush roses back by about 75% and most climbing roses back by about 50% but will prune more lightly with very vigorous roses.
I use hedge clippers to take David Austin roses back by about two thirds. Prune standard roses back to a head the size of a volleyball and I shear carpet roses back pretty hard. New season roses will start to arrive in June and continue to come in into July.
Things To Do
- Look out for a white coating on the stems of your roses when you prune them. This is scale and can be treated with PestOil.
- If your roses struggled with disease last season, spray on, over, and around the plant with Lime Sulphur right after pruning them. This is the key to killing dormant fungal spores and mite eggs.
- New season Certified Seed Potatoes and Rhubarb crowns will be in this month. Plant them into improved soil for harvesting in summer.
- If you fertilise your lawn regularly, there is a risk of acidity building up in the soil. A dose of Garden Lime in winter will counteract this. It is also a good time to control broadleaf weeds and winter grass in your lawn.
- Watch out for aphids on the underside of Pansy and Helleborus foliage.
Plant of the Month
Camellia Japonica Peggy Burton
The cooler weather allows many plants to do their best work. Camellia Japonicas in many colours and shapes will flower right through the winter. They brighten up any winter garden. This month we're featuring Camellia Japonica Peggy Burton. It is a hardy, bushy variety with spectacular pink flowers throughout winter. Plant it in improved soil in a garden bed or pot and it will thrive in full sun through to partial shade.