In the garden: July
The winter chill is settling on the garden. It's time to enjoy winter flowers, sharpen up the pruning tools and get those spring bulbs in
Photo - Robin Powell
Pot up a fragrant flowering daphne to enjoy.Choose a spot with morning sun, and feel free to cut sprigs of flower to enjoy inside.
Last chance to plant out tulips and other spring bulbs.
Crepe myrtles can be pruned in winter to keep them at the desired height and width. Prune back to the ‘knuckles’, clearing the main trunk or trunks to show off its good looks.
Prune roses except for spring-flowering climbers. Remove weak and spindly growth and crossing branches, clean out the centre to improve air flow and reduce disease, and reduce length of stems by about a third. Avoid spreading disease between plants by dipping tools in a bucket of water with 10ml of household bleach added for each litre of water.
Plant bare-rooted roses in pre-prepared beds. After planting water them in with seaweed solution and bed them down with a good mulch - roses especially love lucerne.
Use leaves from the bay tree to flavour chicken skewers cooked on the barbecue.
Feed bulbs with bulb food. Be careful not to overwater bulbs growing in pots - only water when the soil has dried out.
Ensure the bird bath and any bird feeding stations are kept spotlessly clean to avoid spreading disease to your feathered visitors.
Feed sweet peas with a weak solution of liquid fertiliser formulated for flowering plants.
Go over the lawn with a garden fork to aerate sodden, compacted areas and promote more grass growth and fewer weeds. Those with large lawns might want to hire a machine to help out.
In the garden: August
Get a jump on spring colour with brightly coloured annuals. Buy flowering pots of pansies, or plant fast-growing seedlings of alyssum.
Plant out rhubarb crowns, allowing two crowns per rhubarb-lover. Rhubarb loves rich soil and plenty of moisture, so mulch with well-rotted cow manure and don’t let them dry out.
Prune spent perennials, such as salvia, sedum, Easter daisies and ornamental grasses once new growth appears at the base of the plant.
Clean out the compost bins and spread the black magic over garden beds to feed the soil.
Tall bearded iris like rose food as much as roses do: treat them to a serve now.
Enjoy fresh lemons with everything. Use some of the harvest for preserved lemons; juice some and freeze into ice blocks for summer salad dressings and cordials.
Germinate heirloom tomato seeds in a warm, brightly lit spot indoors, ready for planting out in early spring.
Shape sasanqua camellias after they have finished flowering.Choose your style - dense hedge, loosely rounded shrub, or airy, Japanese-style with exposed trunks, and trim to suit.
Sprinkle coffee grounds around tender plants susceptible to snail and slug attack.
Plant a new hedge. As a general rule plants should be placed at distances of 20-25 percent of the width of the free-standing plant. For example, if you’d like a low-growing hedge of the white-flowered Camellia ‘Silver Dollar’, which grows to around 2m wide, plants should be placed about 50cm apart.