Purchase Spring flowering bulbs such as Daffodil, Freesia, Jonquil, Snowflake etc now. Wait for the cooler months of April or May to plant. In the meantime, prepare your bulb area by weeding, cultivating and adding compost. Alternatively, plant in pots. Store your bulbs in a cool dry location (cool climate) or place in the fridge for approximately 6 weeks (warm climate).
For a colourful garden without water-hungry flowers, consider more drought hardy coloured foliage plants that can mix in with any planting scheme. Plants with pink/red/purple leaves are Iresine (Bloodleaf), Canna, Alternanthera, variegated Star Jasmine, NZ flax, Cordyline, Blood Grass and Hemigraphis. For yellow foliage choose the golden forms of Duranta, Marjoram, Lysimachia (Moneywort), Helichrysum petiolare, Euphorbia and Berberis and yellow variegated forms of Westringia, Pittosporum and Euonymus.
Watch lawns for signs of lawn grub attack. At the first sign spray, with Baythroid. Brown patch may also be affecting your lawn. Use Mancozeb Plus. To differentiate between Brown Patch and Lawn Grubs, lay a piece of wet hessian or carpet on the lawn and leave overnight. Lift the next morning and should you have grubs they will be on the surface of the lawn or the underside of the carpet/hessian bag.
TIPS AND TASKS:
- Prune Hydrangea by either removing dead heads or pruning back to the second pair of leaf buds. Get into the practice of pruning flowering shrubs immediately after flowering.
- When creating a garden, make it great to be in and not just pretty to look at. Make places for playing, resting and entertaining as well as areas of both sun and shade.
- Feed citrus and other fruit trees. Fruit trees require fertiliser on a regular basis.
- Control weeds. Golden rule of gardening, don’t let your weeds go to seed!
- In the flower bed plant Ageratum, Calendula, Cornflower, Dianthus, Lupin, Pansy, Viola, Sweetpea, Wallflower etc.
- Regularly remove any dead annual flower heads so as to induce a longer flowering period. If your summer annuals are looking poor, cut back by a third and feed or remove altogether.
- Begin watering cymbidium orchids with bloom-promoting liquid fertiliser.
- Prune natives after flowering has finished – most will need to have their spent flowers removed as a minimum. Fertilise with native plant food, blood and bone etc.
- Powdery mildew looks like a powdery dust on your plants. Plants affected include Hydrangea, Rose, Crepe Myrtle and Zinnia. Control with Mancozeb or Baycor. Alternatively, mix 1 part full cream milk with 19 parts water. Spray twice weekly.
- Look out for caterpillars. Cut them off the plant with old scissors, spray with pyrethrum or control with environment friendly Dipel.
- Occasionally aerate your lawn with a garden fork. This will reduce the effects of compaction and help water soak in thoroughly.
- Control fruit fly by regularly collecting ripen fruit and disposing of fallen/rotten fruit. Purchase a fruit fly control kit.
- Spray roses to control Black Spot and Aphids. Use a rose fungicide to control Black Spot and a pyrethrum based spray for Aphids. Prune and fertilise for Autumn flowers.
- Non-chemical control of Black Spot mix one part full cream milk and nine parts water. Spray twice weekly. Use soapy water for the control of Aphids.
FLOWERING PLANTS FOR JANUARY:
TREES AND SHRUBS
Clerodendrum (Butterfly Bush)
Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle)
ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS
Brachyscome (Native Daisy)
Heliotropium (Cherry Pie)
Portulaca (Sun Plant)
Rudbeckia (Yellow Cone Flower)
Hemerocallis (Day Lily)
Mandevilla (Chilean Jasmine)
Chrysocephalum (Yellow Buttons)
Tristaniopsis (Water Gum)