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In The Garden: December

Summer is upon us now and our gardens need special attension to survive the heat and prolonged dry weather.

Here are some jobs to help get the garden through this challenging time.


Bromeliads. Photo: Robin Powell


Remove the pups from old bromeliads once they are about a third as big as the parent. Use an old serrated knife to cut away the pup, taking some of the mother plant with it. Plant into a loose mix with added slow release fertiliser.

Check pre-Christmas council clean-ups for abandoned treasure, such as containers that could be planted; stools or shelves that could display plants; or abandoned fish tanks- just the thing for pond plants that like to have their feet in a little bit of water.

Need red flowers for Christmas? Look past poinsettia to bonfire salvia, kangaroo paws, dwarf Christmas bush, petunias, sun-hardy fuchsia, mandevilla, geranium and New Guinea impatiens.

Feed gardenias. Gardenias are hungry plants and flourish when given an appropriate feed at the start of every season but winter. Add a monthly dose of seaweed solution too.

Add a handful of lime to the compost pile. The breakdown of organic matter causes acidity, which discourages earthworm activity.

Check traps for signs of fruit fly activity and either start spraying with an organic spray, or net susceptible plants.

Give roses a summer trim, removing a third of the growth, to set them up for the autumn flush. Feed with Sudden Impact for Roses and water deeply. Use seaweed tonic fortnightly to build strong plants that can shrug off disease, and spray with eco-fungicide or eco-rose every 7-10 days at the first signs of black spot. Infected leaves won’t be cured but the spray prevents the spread of fungal spores.

Feed lawns with blood and bone to promote microorganisms that break down thatch in lawns.


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Author: Robin Powell