It's time to: November
Feed your orchids. Yates Orchid Food or Campbell’s ‘B’ Fertiliser are excellent as they have plenty of nitrogen for strong leafy growth at this time. Apply fortnightly during November and December.
Lightly prune native plants to keep them from becoming sparse and woody. Prune callistemons to remove spent flowering spikes.
Apply a thick layer of mulch to garden beds to keep the soil cool and moist over the heat of summer and to discourage weeds. Choose a mulch that suits your style of garden - leaf mulch is great for shrubberies and native gardens, sugar cane mulch or lucerne for perennial beds and the vegie patch, and ti-tree mulch for showy annual beds. You may also use gravel or pebbles, especially on pot plants.
Melbourne Cup day is a good prompt for planting summer and autumn flowering bulbs such as lilies, hippeastrums and gladiolus in the ground now.
Melbourne’s dry summers mean gardeners can be inspired by Mediterranean style and fill classic terracotta pots or hanging baskets with brightly coloured red and pink geraniums. Plant now; impatiens and marigolds work well too.
Cut repeat flowering roses back by a third after each flush of flowers. They’ll be flowering on mass again in just 6 to 8 weeks. Time them to re-flower for a summer garden party.
When you have an hour
Prepare the garden for summer. Check that watering systems are working efficiently and that there is adequate mulch on garden beds. Apply soil wetters, such as EcoHydrate and Hydraflo2, if soil is inclined to be water-repellent.
When you have 10 minutes
Set out lures to check for the presence of fruit fly. Lures trap the males and as soon as they are detected Eco Naturalure should be applied as directed to fruit trees to control female fruit flies. Replenish the Eco Naturalure bait weekly through the fruiting season, and after rain.
When opening bags of manure or compost for the garden, put the bag in place and cut open with a blade or the sharp edge of a plant label, making the cut at the bottom of the bag. This saves tipping the bag over to pour out the contents.