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It's time to: July


Select a magnolia while they are in flower. Goblet-shaped blooms come in ivory, lemon, pink, purple and bicoloured.

Choose a ‘birthday tree’ for your child or grandchild. Choose something flowering on their birthday and it will always to be talking point. Winter-flowering birthday trees include deciduous magnolias, flowering peach, bottlebrush, and the Taiwan cherry. Celebrate National Tree Day on July 31 while you’re at it. 

Transplant deciduous trees and shrubs while they are dormant. Now is the time to move frangipani. They have a small root ball so are easy to relocate to a better position if necessary.

Chit potatoes. This is the ideal month to get potatoes ready for planting out in spring. Buy virus-free potatoes and place them in egg cartons in a warm dark place to encourage the ‘eyes’ to sprout well before planting time. 



Time to prune roses. The exact moment isn’t at all critical, as long as it’s in winter. Wait for a sparkling, sunny day, and burn or bin the offcuts and old leaves.

Prune raspberry canes. Most varieties flower and fruit on canes produced last year, so simply remove all those that fruited this year.

Catalogues of summer-flowering bulbs such as dahlias, liliums and gladioli come out about now. Read them at your leisure, then get out the pen and start get!


When you have 10 minutes

Plant perfume! Fragrant flowers seem to smell all the sweeter in winter. Favourites include winter daphne, winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) and stocks (Matthiola sp.). Plant punnets of stocks throughout a cottage garden; group for maximum fragrance at the front door; or plant a clump in a large pot on the entertaining terrace. Continue to liquid feed and you will be able to bring armfuls of the clove-scented flowers into your home. 

Text: Linda Ross & Michael McCoy

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Author: Linda Ross