It's time to: August
Spread bush mulch - a mix of chipped gum leaves, bark and branches - over bush gardens. It will lock in soil moisture and keep out weeds if spread to a depth of 10cm.
Plant a colourful carpet of wildflowers such as everlasting daisies, fan flowers, flannel flowers and swan river daisies.
Plant grevilleas from tubestock to get the best start possible. Ensure they are planted on top of a mini-volcano for maximum drainage.
Prune frost hardy shrubs such as camellias after the have flowered. Follow up with a feed of specialised camellia food.
Hydrangeas are the litmus paper of the natural world and blue or pink depending on the pH of the surrounding soil. If colour matters, add blueing tonic for blue and garden lime for pink fortnightly through August.
Plant a colourful carpet of wildflowers like these Flannel Flowers.
Any herbaceous perennials that have so far escaped the chop, or that you’ve kept for winter skeletons should be cut back now. New growth will start on many this month.
This is the last month possible for planting bare-rooted trees. Get them in now, before any growth is visible.
Plants grown for their decorative bare stems over winter, such as red-stemmed dogwood, or the many ornamental willows need cutting back hard now. With some feeding and adequate water, they’ll put on a whole new forest of coloured stems for next winter.
When you have an hour
Grow your own hot chips! In warmer areas early potatoes can start going into the ground now. In cooler spots, hold off a couple more weeks until frosts are finished. Add organic matter and compost to soil then dig a trench and plant potatoes 30cm apart and 10cm deep. One potato planted should yield about 20 potatoes harvested so long as you feed them ell. As they grow, hill up the soil around them to exclude light. Keep watering and feeding throughout growing the season replicating the wet climates of Ireland and Robertson where potatoes grow best.
Text: Linda Ross & Michael McCoy