Spring Jobs: October
Prune rhododendrons when they finish flowering to maintain shape.
Plants grown too tall will respond well to a hard prune. Follow with a feed formulated for acid-loving rhodos, and mulch with cow manure.
Plant out summer-flowering annuals such as petunias, verbena, cleome, salvia, portulaca and zinnia.
Prune camellias as they finish flowering to maintain their form and size. Feed and water well, then lay on a mulch, keeping clear of the trunk.
Plant out dahlia bulbs for late summer and autumn flowers. The ‘Dalaya’ and ‘Hypnotica’ series both performed well in the 2019 Trail Garden at Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden, requiring no staking and repeat flowering over a long period.
Head to the mountains. The Leura Gardens Festival will run across two long weekends this year,October 5-7 and 11-13. Expect old favourite gardens to open their gates as well as some exciting new additions.
If cymbidium orchids have been in the same pot for four years or more, give them a refresh by removing them from the pot, cutting the clump in half with a sharp spade or knife, removing the old bulbs and old soil and planting into fresh orchid mix. Water with seaweed solution and half-strength orchid fertiliser. They want shade through the summer, or a position with only the earliest morning sun.
Celebrate the waratah at the Wild About Waratahs Festival at Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens. And if you have the perfect spot in the garden - well-drained, sheltered from wind, tucked in among other plants, plant one now.