Toggle navigation

In the garden: June

It's time to get the jump on the cold this June and prepare the garden for the mid-winter chill



Before the cold really kicks in, check that all beds are mulched to protect the soil and feed its microorganisms so they they can continue to boost plant health.


Buy asparagus crowns. Once established each crown will produce for about 20 years, offering about 10 spears over the season so you’ll need at least 10 crowns for each asparagus-lover who’d like to enjoy fresh asparagus a couple of times a week over spring.


Sharpen the tools before pruning season gets going. If you don’t want to do it yourself, take advantage of the mobile sharpeners available at some markets and garden club meetings.


Prune hydrangea stems back by about a third to a pair of plump buds. Use the healthy offcuts to propagate new plants.


Plant some lilies for spring and summer. Try Jacobean lily, Sprekelia, or the pineapple lily, Eucomis.


Trim off damaged foliage from hellebores to enhance the coming flower display.


The shortest day of the year is June 22 and that’s the traditional time for planting onions. Use a bed that was manured for a summer crop and this time skip the mulch - onions like sunlight on their developing bulbs.


Trim unsightly dahlia foliage back to the ground.Bulbs can be left where they are, but make sure to mark the spot so a misplaced shovel doesn’t spear them.

In the garden: July

[pic: roses]

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

[pic: iris]

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.

About this article

Author: Linda Ross