It's easy to think of winter as a time when not much is happening in the garden but that doesn't have to be true! Many plants, including natives, hellebores, and camellias are at their absolute best over the next few months. Even for the less active plants, this is the best time to be giving them a bit of love. This is the perfect time of year for a lot of planting, pruning and feeding. A little preparation now will make all the difference in spring and summer!
Tony's annual rose pruning demonstration will be on at 10 am this Sunday the fourth of June. He is the absolute master so come along to have all your rose pruning questions answered!
Many plants look spectacular in early winter as the cooler weather suits their flowering cycle. Primulas and Poppies are beginning to flower and many natives and Proteas are at their absolute best.
Luculia Early Dawn is another winter winner, with large fragrant pink flowers on a bushy shrub. We also have a great range of winter-flowering Camellias and Helleborus in many colours and shapes. Winter doesn't have to be boring in the garden!
In Melbourne’s mild climate I like to prune roses before the shortest day of the year. Modern roses need to be pruned to encourage new growth and subsequent flowers. I prune bush roses and standards back by about 75%, David Austin roses back by 60% and climbing roses back by 50%. If you have had a bad year with fungal disease, spray over and around your pruned plants with Lime Sulphur to clean up over wintering fungal disease. If there is white fluff on the stems, that is scale. Spray over the plant with Pest Oil to suffocate it. If you need a bit more guidance, come along to my pruning demonstration on Sunday.
Things to Do:
- Plant certified seed potatoes, asparagus and rhubarb crowns.
- If you fertilise your lawn regularly, now is the time to use lime to correct a build up of acidity. If Winter Grass is invading your Buffalo lawn, apply Winter Grass Killer now.
- This month is your last chance to plant foxglove seedlings to flower this year.
- Watch out for aphids on Helleborus new growth. Treat with Contendor, Conguard or Bug Killa.
- If your veggie garden is vacant, put in a green manure crop to rejuvenate the soil for spring.
Plant of the Month
Camellia Betty Ridley
My feature plant this month is the beautiful Camellia Betty Ridley, a vigorous upright bush with masses of stunning pink formal double flowers all through winter. Like all camellias, it does well when planted in a raised mound of compost-improved soil in moderate shade to part sun.