A good selection of different bulbs assures your garden a colour display for the greater part of the year. Late winter/early spring brings jonquils and lachenalias, followed by daffodils, anemones and ranunculi. Hyacinths, freesias, sparaxis, tritonias and watsonias in Spring, and calla lilies, hippeastrums and gladioli in Summer.
Many bulbs can be left undisturbed for many years and become a permanent and recurring feature in your garden, such as bluebell, crocus, daffodil, grape hyacinth, jonquil, lily-of-the-valley, snowflakes, sternbergia and tulip in cold climates. Or daffodils, jonquils, freesias, grape hyacinths and snowflakes in temperate climates. Use bulbs on slopes, under trees or in your lawn. It is also advisable to mass-plant them to create eye catching effects.
It is too late for spring flowering bulbs, but most Summer and Autumn flowering bulbs are planted in winter - and that is now!
Winter is the dormancy period for many plants and therefore the best time to change the look and layout of your garden, if that is what you are planning to do. Now is the best time to move shrubs and trees and to plant bare-rooted deciduous plants and fruit trees.
Plant some winter flowering plants, to get some colour into your garden over winter. Examples are - Camellias, Azaleas, Cyclamen, Daphne, bird attracting Grevilleas and Coreopsis.
Most plants like to be kept a little drier in winter, especially tropical ones, unless they are being kept in a heated room. In which case “mist spray” them occasionally, but their water requirement is easy to check: Insert your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If the soil feels damp or sticks to your finger, the plant does not need watering. Simple!
Mow your lawn less frequently in winter. Every four to five weeks should be sufficient over the winter months.
Miniature roses can be cut back hard, they respond well to heavy pruning. Climbing roses should be cut according to their habit, these don’t usually like to be hacked back too much. Standards and weeping roses can be cut to shape, keeping the centre free to allow sunlight to penetrate and to give the bush a nice shape. Some people like to spray their pruned roses with Lime Sulphur, thus warding off any diseases or pests that may pass by.
You should always feed your roses after pruning, to keep the root ball nice and healthy over their rest period.
Thin out your strawberry patch by separating the runners from the parent plants. Trim the roots and top growth of these runners before planting them out.
Weeds & Pests
Check and spray Azaleas for petal blight and spray them the moment you notice any spotting on the petals. Pick off all infected blooms and do not leave any spent blooms on the ground. Put them into the trash, NOT on the compost!
Spray bindii before the seeds set (late winter) to assure a prickle free lawn in summer!