Welcome to winter! Acorn Nursery will be open for collection and delivery from 9am today. You can place your order online, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or over the phone on 98903162. Don't forget to pop into The Oaks Cafe for a takeaway coffee and a bite to eat when you pick up your order!
If you're at home looking for a project, you're in luck! Now is the perfect time to prune your roses. Tony is here to make it simple and easy. Read on to see how!
The mild Melbourne winter means there is a lot to look forward to this season. We have lots of winter-flowering plants to brighten up your garden, including Lavender, Wallflowers, Pieris, Daphne, Sweet Box and Grevilleas.
Whilst we might think it’s cold, a lot of plants love the cooler months and do their best work at this time. After a shortage in the last year, popular varieties of new season roses will start to come through in early June. I also can’t wait to prune my existing roses to remove their messiness and get them ready for spring.
My Camellias and Hellebores are flowering now and Primulas and Poppies that were planted early will start flowering soon. Japonica Camellias are starting to flower and will continue through to Spring. They are ideal to add a bit of colour to shaded spots in the garden.
Things to do:
Prune your roses! Unless you are outside Melbourne in a frost-prone area, I recommend pruning roses before the shortest day of the year. June 21 is the lowest ebb in a rose’s growing cycle here in Melbourne. The exception is if they are once flowering roses such as Banksia or Albertine which we prune after flowering. The Winter prune is to stimulate new growth, rejuvenate the plant and equalise the growing points. Almost all roses flower on new growth.
If you’ve had disease issues this year, the most important preventative measure you can take is a spray over and around the pruned bush with Lime Sulphur to kill any dormant fungal spores. Safe, low toxicity and very effective. If there is white stuff on the Rose stems that is a scale infestation, which will need a dose or two of Pest Oil. The first feed should be a high potassium rose food when the first new growth emerges to increase natural disease resistance.
- Watch out for clover, bindi and creeping oxalis invading your lawn. Treat with a suitable selective weedicide like Buffalo Pro. If Winter Grass is invading your lawn use Winter Grass Killer (but not on Kikuyu).
- Lawns that are fed regularly become acidic and less vigorous. Ideal pH is between 6 and 7. A liming of the lawn now will balance out the acidification from regular feeding.
- Liquid feed annuals with Phostrogen to encourage more flowers.
- Watch out for night feeding caterpillars on brassicas and herbs. Spray at dusk with safe Pyrethrum, which breaks down in sunlight, or use vegetable dust.
- Plant certified seed potatoes now into improved friable soil that didn’t grow potatoes last year. Plant 10cm deep about 25cm apart and side dress with all purpose complete plant food. Mulching with pea straw or sugar cane is helpful. I have had great success growing potatoes in large tubs if garden space is an issue.
- We will soon have lovely Rhubarb and Asparagus crowns. Plant them in winter to give them time to settle in.
- If you have box hedging turning rusty orange, dose with Dolomite Lime to ‘sweeten’ soil then feed with Blood and Bone a month later.
Plant of the Month
Protea Australis Ruby
Proteas are tough, hardy plants that put on a great display in winter. This month we're featuring Protea Australis Ruby. It has spectacular black-tipped, ruby-red flowers on a compact bush through winter and spring. It loves a sunny spot and requires minimal watering once it is established. It is also rather striking as a cut flower!