The most important job in the garden this month is to feed fruit and nut trees with 20.10.10 fertiliser. Three mugsful for large trees strewn around the base of the tree and one mug for young trees is just the right amount. If you grow fruit trees like lemon or kumquat in pots then use a soluble fertiliser such as Phostrogen. If you haven’t pruned your grapevine yet then do so before the sap starts to rise when any pruning will cause the branches to ‘bleed’. Leafless grapevines look gaunt at this time of year but it gives you the opportunity to have a look at the basic structure and do some pruning. Reduce the number of fruits on loquat trees, so as to produce larger fruits later on.
Check around your flower beds and see what has grown too big for its spot. Tulbaghias are delightful plants in any summer garden but the clumps can quickly grow quite large, so fork them up and separate them into smaller clumps replanting in other places or sharing with friends. A ground cover plant called Oenothera speciosa, a member of the evening primrose family, has pretty little pink flowers that stay open all day unlike some others in this family. However, it can rampage across your garden unless you keep it under control. As the season progresses and growth is fast, tall plants will need to be tied in. Herbaceous plant supports are now available here in garden centre shops but you could use some of the prunings from your trees just as easily.
Lavender along with rosemary bushes and hedges will benefit from being trimmed this month. If rosemary bushes become too big then they tend to separate out into sections spoiling their beauty. Prostrate rosemary bushes are in flower already, along with some of the wild lavenders and are much sought after by the early bees. Plumbago puts on enormous growth each year, sometimes flowering three times in a season and would benefit from some drastic surgery now. You can safely reduce the stems to around 15 cm. Damascena roses as well as Banksias also benefit from taking out any old wood and feeding with a rose fertiliser, whilst bougainvilleas are pruned about this time, as their leaves have fallen and you can see where to cut. Wear sleeves, gloves and safety glasses for this job, as the thorns, which help the plant to climb through trees in tropical jungles, can be vicious.
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