August is in many ways the calm before the storm. Our gardens are full of anticipation, taking a deep breath before the rush of new growth in Spring.
Taking advantage of this momentary pause will help you to get the most out of your garden in the coming months, through Spring and into Summer.
Check out Tony’s Tips below to find out what your garden needs at the moment. We couldn’t choose just one Plant of the Month but we narrowed it down to two. One is a particularly sentimental favourite!
There is already a hint of Spring in the air with Magnolias flowering, new growth on roses, and plum blossom set to arrive any minute. It’s a wonderful time to do any serious tree and shrub planting as the plants will get a chance to settle in before answering the call of Spring with a very positive growth flush. Make sure you always improve the soil at planting to facilitate that establishment and growth.
Get your garden ready for the amazing change from dormant plants to going flat chat in just a couple of weeks. Spring is just around the corner!
- When new shoots start appearing on your roses their appetite will increase markedly. Start feeding your roses now with a high potassium fertiliser such as Blooming Roses, Sudden Impact or Black Marvel.
- Now is the best time to treat your lawn for bindi-eye and other broadleaf weeds with a selective herbicide. You can also control moss in lawns with an iron-based moss killer.
- Prune cold-sensitive shrubs and perennials such as Sasanqua Camellias, Hibiscus, Fuchsias, Plumbago, Gauras and Salvias. Later this month prune Oak Leafed Hydrangeas as well.
- Sow seeds for cabbages, lettuces, carrots, onions, and silverbeet.
- Prune hedges into shape now to ensure new Spring growth comes in the shape you want. This is probably the most severe and important prune of the year!
- Remove galls (lumps) from Citrus trees now before the wasp larvae hatch and lay more eggs, which cause more galls. Put wasp traps on trees to trap invading wasps as mid-August to November is the main infestation period. Feed with a high potassium, low soluble nitrogen fertiliser to increase natural pest resistance.
- In the second half of August, feed yellowing Gardenias with Harry’s Gardenia Food to aid in recovery from a fairly cold Winter.
- Near the end of the month, start spraying your peaches, nectarines and roses with Kocide or Liquid Copper to prevent leaf curl and black spot.
Plants of the Month
Daphne and Brown Boronia
Daphne is flowering beautifully at the moment but is often constrained by poor planting or just misunderstood! Daphne Odora is the traditional and most fragrant Daphne and they love shaded or semi-shaded and well-drained positions. When planting, I never mess with the root system, always plant into improved soil up on a considerable mound in the shade of a tree or shrub. This ticks all the boxes for Daphne; it hates root disturbance, hates being planted deeper than it was in the pot, hates wet feet, loves good drainage and dislikes full sun! It also does well in pots as long as it has a good potting mix. To be honest, Daphne thrives on a bit of neglect!
Brown Boronia is said to have the most delicious perfume. Unfortunately, I can’t smell it as it has a selective scent but I grow it for my wife who loves it. Boronia loves good drainage, I grow ours in a pot. In the garden plant up on a mound of improved, slightly acidic soil to ensure good drainage. Water regularly and keep it moist but not waterlogged. Prune it back hard by a third or more after flowering and give it a good feed with a slow release or organic native fertiliser to rejuvenate and prolong life. The improved “Heaven Scent” variety was actually bred by our own John.