- All the summer-flowering seedlings are ready for planting from now into the new year. Bedding begonias, dahlias, salvias, marigolds, New Guinea impatiens, torenias and browallias are just some of the plants coming into season.
- Tip: Combat the fungal disease so prevalent here by watering the garden early in the morning.
- With the current rapid growth, hedges, topiaries and standards will lose their shape. Do not allow this; rather clip regularly and lightly than one drastic hack now and again.
- In the veggie garden, it’s time to plant seed potatoes. Plant out seedlings of tomatoes, chillies, peppers and eggplants as well as lettuces, cabbages, beetroot, spinach and chard. Sow seed of all the pumpkin family, dwarf beans, runner beans, maize and sweetcorn.
- Feed roses every four weeks, and spray weekly with a fungicide. Compost and mulch rose beds and underplant roses with annuals such as lobularia (alyssum), which don’t compete with the rose roots. Aphid problems can be solved with eco oils, strong jets of water or, in severe cases, a systemic root drench, which avoids the need for spraying.
- Annuals to plant now include petunias, dianthus, begonias and portulaca.
- Azaleas and camellias must be exhausted from blooming through winter and spring, so feed them every four weeks with acidic plant food and mulch with bark chips.
Good garden practice:
- Plant insect- and bird-attracting plants, so that they don’t depend on being fed with nectar and seed feeders.
- Keep up with weeding from early in the season, as one year’s seeds can quickly become seven year’s weeds.
- Mulching will help to suppress weed growth.
- Plant fruiting crops in your vegetable patch, such as, tomatoes, aubergine and peppers, and tropical fruits like bananas and pawpaws.
- Take cuttings of our favourite foliage plants, like acalypha and crotons. Also, clean out stale water from the urns of bromeliads, and remove some of the suckers to plant elsewhere to start a new patch of these beauties.
- In the veggie garden, plant out young plants of all the different basil types. Also, sow sweet basil and coriander seed regularly. Prune back any aggressive herbs and fertilise the entire herb garden. Plant young citrus and sub-tropical fruit trees like avocados, mangoes and litchis. Stake them after planting and protect them from sunburn with temporary shade structure over the young tree.
- Make softwood cuttings of herbaceous shrubs like lavender, daisy bushes, fuchsia, pelargoniums and summer herbs.
- Plant some of the colourful arum lilies now in pots to brighten up your patio. There are lots of summer-flowering bulbs like amaryllis, eucomis, galtonia, gladioli, zephyranthes, liliums and dahlias that can be planted too.
Courtesy of Essentials written by Bronwen Watson