It looks like we won't be leaving the effects of 2020 entirely behind with the reintroduced restrictions but we're still excited for the promise of a new year and the fruit, veggies, blooms and foliage growth of mid summer.
The cool weather we've had lately has been great for many things in our gardens and it is lovely to see some lush greenery, especially when compared to the harsh summer we had last year.
January is a productive and beautiful time to be in the garden and we're here to help with all your gardening needs. See you soon!
Happy New Year! Our gardens helped sustain us and keep us all sane through a difficult year last year and we're excited for them to keep flourishing in 2021. January is the start of summer proper in Melbourne and many plants love the heat and perform better for it. This is the month for many of the most colourful and fruitful plants including Bougainvillea, Mandevilla, Crepe Myrtles, and Vinca. Tomatoes, chillies and basil also thrive in January.
We should get a good batch of Magnolia Teddy Bears in a couple of sizes this month. They are ideal as a lush screening hedge or feature plant. Our first Stephanotis (Madagascan Jasmine) will also come through soon. It is a fabulously fragrant climber for tubs or protected warm spots in the garden. A lot is happening through summer and there is a lot you can do to help your garden prosper through summer into autumn.
- I prune all my traditional ball Hydrangeas back by 50% to 70% in January. This will ensure that they will cope better through summer, regrow in autumn, then set flower early and be flowering profusely from October through to December whilst weather is mild. Waiting until winter will result in flowers in January and February, the hottest, hardest time of the year for Hydrangeas to flower in our climate.
- Prune French Lavenders back to just above the lowest viable foliage this month and be rewarded with a fabulous flowering from mid-autumn right through winter and into spring!
- After flowering, prune English Lavenders back as hard as you can to just above the lowest viable foliage. Rejuvenated Lavenders are more attractive and longer-lived.
- If your Gardenias need some shaping, this is the month to do it. Prune lightly after the main flower flush and feed with Harry's Gardenia Food to encourage a new bushy flush of growth through autumn and more flowers in late spring.
- As January is the middle of the growing months, I prune a lot of my long-flowering perennials now by 25-40% to ensure new growth and an attractive plant that will flower through to winter. This includes Gaura, Salvias, Fuchsias and Agastaches. I have already pruned and fed my Clematis jackmanii and my Christmas flowering roses.
- Pest Watch: we have seen a lot of customers with Lawn Beetle Grub in their lawns causing dead patches to spread through the lawn as their roots are eaten up by the grub. We are also getting a lot of people in with Lilly Pilly Beetle attacking their new growth. We have solutions to both depending on your situation.
- Ensure your garden can cope with the hotter, drier part of summer with a dose of wetting agent such as Saturaid or Rapid Soak to maximise water penetration and a good quality organic mulch to reduce evaporation.
We will have our first batch of Hibiscus for the year in soon. The compact, colourful Trade Winds varieties are bushier, longer and more prolifically flowering and are great for both pots and garden beds. Hibiscus need at least four hours of sun each day, frequent watering, regular feeding, and a rich organic soil or potting mix. Good drainage is important so plant up on a mound of improved soil in the garden.