Gardening news and handy tips from Scotts

Winter in your garden

Short days, cold nights, biting winds straight off the ocean and lashing rain all indicate winter is once again upon us. For those living in northern areas, winter is typified by sunny, mild days while in the south, days suitable for gardening may be few and far between.

"… O cold the black-frost night….
Hardly to be believed that summer
Will turn up again some day in a wave of rambler roses,
Thrust its hot face in here to tell another yarn …."
 

 

From South of my Days by Judith Wright

 

Pots

Planting

Even though the soil is cold, winter is the season to plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs including fruit trees. Garden centres will be full of stock from late June right through to early spring.

  • Plant bare root roses and deciduous trees and shrubs
  • Plant kohlrabi, carrot, leeks, sweet potato, cabbage in warmer areas
  • Make a list of winter-flowering shrubs you like for their winter flowers - and remember to plant them next spring! Camellia, daphne, magnolia and wattle bloom in winter
  • Plant seedlings of Iceland poppy, cineraria, calendula, pansy and viola

Want to know how to care for roses?
Click here for instructions.

Fertiliser

Fertilising

 While most of the garden 'goes to sleep' over winter, vegetables, bulbs and annuals that flower or crop during this season and into spring will benefit from an occasional application of plant food.

secaters

Pruning

Winter is pruning time for most trees and shrubs, apart from those  producing spring blossoms - cut them back after they've flowered. If pruned too soon (in winter), most of their early spring flowers will be removed.

  • Cut back herbaceous perennials such as wind flowers, penstemon, catmint, bergamot, canna.
  • Prune deciduous trees and shrubs such as maple, ash, elm if required
  •  Prune spring-flowering deciduous shrubs eg weigela, flowering quince, forsythia after flowering
  • Prune deciduous fruit trees including apple, pear, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, almond and nectarine
  • Prune roses in mid-to-late July - make sure pruning is complete by early August at the latest
grass

Lawn care

Watch for signs of waterlogging over winter, especially after heavy rainfall. If required, aerate again to allow excess water to soak into the soil. Lawns which beome saturated on a regular basis may benefit from the installation of a permanent undergound drainage system.

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Controlling garden pests

Summer in your garden

Like no other season, the Australian summer fills the hearts of gardeners with trepidation - will it be unbearably hot and dry or will torrential rains create havoc? For most of us, it's all about outdoor entertaining, the festive season and holidays.

O 'tis easeful here to lie
Hidden from noon's scorching eye,
In this grassy cool recess
Musing thus of quietness
"

From A Midsummer Noon in the Australian Forest by Charles Harpur.

Pots

Planting

Early summer is still a good time to plant out flowers and vegetables. Avoid planting in the heat of the day, complete plantings before the end of December and water seedlings in with Miracle-Gro® Seafeed 3in1 to get them off to a good start

  • Plant seedlings of zucchini, pumpkin, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, leeks, lettuce, sweet corn, cucumbers
  • Plant herbs in the vegetable garden, pots or dotted among your ornamentals
  • Plant autumn flowering bulbs such as sternbergia, belladonna lilies, colchicum by mid December
  • Plant petunia, impatiens, celosia, bedding begonia, French marigold, zinnia, salvia, sunflower, torenia, verbena in early summer
Fertiliser

Fertilising

To keep plants growing strongly, they need regular feeding. Using a fertiliser that includes a wetting agent will assist moisture and nutrient penetration

secaters

Pruning

Trimming evergreen trees and shrubs in early summer will help keep them neat and tidy as well as encourage bushiness, rather than long, straggly growth

  • Lightly prune camellias and azaleas where needed in early summer.
  • Keep hedges trimmed - often and lightly
  • Continue to dead-head all summer annuals & perennials, and summer-flowering shrubs including roses.  Give the plants a boost with the appropriate Miracle-Gro® MaxFeed Water Soluble Plant Food
grass

Lawn care

  • Prepare lawns for the hot dry months by fertilising in early December with Lawn Builder™ + Wetting Agent. Well- fed lawns are better able to cope with heat and drought stress
  • Raise the cutting height of the mower to leave the grass longer - this reduces moisture loss from the soil and overheating of grass roots
  • Where local regulations permit, or if you have abundant tank water, give lawns one deep soaking per week to keep them green and healthy
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Controlling garden pests

  • Protect summer vegetables against caterpillars, thrips, aphids, whitefly and other soft-bodied insect pests with Defender™ Pyrethrum Insect Spray
  • Mites can do a lot of damage to ornamental plants. Try Defender™ MaxGuard which is also effective and long-lasting against a wide range of other pests. DO NOT USE ON FOOD PLANTS
  • Watch out for black spot on roses. Spraying with diluted milk powder may be effective, or use a combination rose spray like Defender™ RosePride

Autumn in your garden

The change of seasons from summer to autumn is welcomed by gardeners as the sun begins to lose its intensity, tropical storms abate and hot, drying winds subside. The days become mild and mellow - perfect for restoring the garden back to its best and planning for the cooler months ahead.

"Today in April, soft-sky April
The figs wry-leafed are gone to sap,
Pawpaws hard-green cling
Slow swelling for winter pulling...
Gold cassia and golden rod,
Exuberant chrysanthemums!
"

From Earth by Brian Vrepont

Pots

Planting

Plant out winter and early spring flowering annuals and vegetables while the soil is still warm, so they will establish well before the onset of colder weather.

  • Plant bulbs from mid March to the end of April
  • Plant strawberries, lettuce, onions, spinach, radish, broad beans, cabbage
  • Plant pansies, violas, polyanthus, cineraria
  • Plant natives such as correas, bottlebrushes, lillypillies and grevilleas
  • Plant evergreen trees and shrubs
Fertiliser

Fertilising

An application of plant food now will not only give plants a boost after summer's harsh conditions, but will help them build up strength to survive winter's chill.

secaters

Pruning

  • Deadhead roses to promote a final autumnal flush of blooms
  • Cut back pelargoniums and fuchsias by about two-thirds
  • Cut down herbaceous perennials that have finished flowering
  • Trim evergreen shrubs that need tidying
grass

Lawn care

Repair bald patches in the lawn with Lawn Builder™ Topdress Mix and fresh lawn seed or runners

Apply Lawn Builder™ New Lawns & Repairs to give your repairs a kick start

For established lawns:

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Controlling garden pests

  • Keep an eye out for aphids, especially on roses. Dispatch aphids quickly and safely with a long-lasting insect spray like Defender™ RosePride or Defender™ MaxGuard (not to be used on food plants)
  • Pests on vegetables and herbs can be controlled with Defender™ Pyrethrum Insect Spray. Watch for the caterpillars on the White Cabbage Butterfly on brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli)
  • An anti-snail campaign now will pay big dividends in the spring. Use Defender™ Snail & Slug Pellets
  • Treat fungal diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew with a fungicide

Spring in your garden

The blush of colour on the buds of magnolias, daffodils and blossom trees heralds the dawning of spring, the start of a fresh year in the garden. As plants burst into new growth, we too take on new energy as we head out to tackle the tasks put off over winter.

"Grey Winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest,
And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind of the West
And the Spring in her raiment!"

Henry Kendall

Pots

Planting

  • Plant tomato seeds in punnets, keep moist but not wet and place in a warm spot out of the direct sun. When the soil has warmed in mid spring, the danger of frosts has passed and seedlings are large enough, plant out into the vegetable garden or into large containers. Stake taller growing varieties at planting time
  • Choose drought-hardy perennials such as nemesia, geranium and scabiosa for summer colour
  • Plant impatiens in shady areas
  • Direct sow lettuce, silver beet, rocket and bok choy seeds, for healthy greens, from mid spring when the soil has warmed
Fertiliser

Fertilising

Feeding the garden in early spring will ensure strong, healthy growth throughout the growing season

secaters

Pruning

  • Trim back camellias lightly to encourage bushiness
  • Prune blossom trees and other late winter / early spring blooming trees and shrubs immediately after flowering has finished
  • Prune passionfruit vines back to the main leaders
  • Deadhead flowers of spring flowering bulbs then let foliage die off before removing it or lifting bulbs
grass

Lawn care

Lawns need attention as we come out of winter. Cold weather slows growth and allows weeds to get a toe-hold

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Controlling garden pests