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 The seasons are rushing by and  the Autumn leaves have been waiting to  begin their work as your valuable free  mulch, this helps to keep the earth warm.  It can also be added to the compost bin and the worm farm or stored for next year.  So, get busy dig, cultivate and prepare the garden beds for new season’s planting.  This will provide aeration to the soil.  Invest in a bird feeder as food supplies for wild birds in winter are very low. This is such a lovely sight to see them tucking in for a feed.

PRUNING IN WINTER  Fruit trees and deciduous trees could need attention in July/August.  Leaf curl spray can be used on peach tree leaf curl.  You will find this available at your local nursery.        

Prune dead, diseased and misplaced branches from ornamental trees while they are dormant.   Cut back ornamental grape vines to the main branches, also trim Crepe Myrtle to keep them compact.

In July, prune summer flowering shrubs fuchsia,  oleander and  plumbago, they all like gentle shaping.    Also prune sasanqua camellias. 

PERENNIALS This is the time to get busy with dividing your perennials.   Some are happy to be undivided, however,  If the clumps are very large they will produce less flowers, so get to it.   Remember to give away your excess perennials to friends.  Over  the next  few months  the time is right for planting new perennials, these can be planted until August.  Your local nursery will have a good selection for you to choose from.

PESTS  White Scale.  As you know they like rose bushes and if left untreated will multiply to cover stems and branches.  Treatment during their dormant season in winter, prune and burn badly infested stems then spray the rest of the bush with white oil.  

In July, Mealy Bugs may appear and can infect a large number of plants.  Spray with pyrethrum, if not successful, give them another spray. You could also try outbreaks by dabbing the bugs with methylated spirit.

Every winter you will need to look out for black spot, mildew, red spider mites and Harlequin bugs. I forgot to mention the snails that have been hiding deep in the garden shrubbery. 

BULBS Your spring flowering bulbs should be popping their heads up by now be careful when weeding between them and keep an eye out for slugs and snails.    Some bulbs that will be flowering in June are Jonquil (Narcissus), Lachenalia and Cyclamen.

Summer-flowering bulbs;  agapanthus, arum lilies, crinums and day lilies can be planted now.   After flowering do not remove the foliage until it has turned yellow.  Lift the bulbs, remove any soil from around them and store in paper bags in a cool airy place.

Fertilize bulbs with blood & bone and some potash.  Be careful using the snail bait if you have  any pets.  

ROSES Now is the time to have a check on your pruning tools.  The sharper they are the less damage can be caused by blunt tools. Roses require  pruning late July or early August, this will encourage the plants to have an abundance of blooms in spring and summer.  A reminder that roses require six hours of sun a day so don’t plant under large shrubs, they like rich soil and good air circulation.     In August if the roses have begun to shoot, a good feed will encourage growth.  Any queries, check out the Rose Society web site for more information. July is a good time to plant bare-root and potted roses.  Check your local nursery and mail order firms for your selection.

WINTER VEGETABLES Planting, nurturing and harvesting your own vegetables is well established now with the home gardeners.  I encourage younger people to have a go and appreciate ‘Mother Nature’ at her best at harvest time.  June is really the best time to prepare this task.  Add plenty of compost, manures, worm castings and perhaps a sprinkle of lime.   Fortnightly feeds will give you good results.

It may be winter but you can plant many things. Peas, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, parsnips, rhubarb and Swedes. Your local nursery will have an enormous amount to choose from.

Plant in August  -  Good time for potatoes, beetroot, cabbage, leeks, radishes and asparagus

 HERBS Some fresh herbs in the garden.   If you are new to gardening,  planting some herbs will give you a sense of satisfaction when you can go outside and pick some basil, mint, parsley, thyme or coriander to add to a meal.   A reminder to keep mint or tansy confined in  large pots.  Visit your local nursery where you will have plenty to choose from.  Sometimes it is a battle not to choose too many.  Old clumps of herbs may be lifted, divided and replanted or shared with a friend.

 FLOWERS Please visit  your local nursery for a wonderful selection of flowers suitable for your winter displays.

July is a good time remove old flowers from camellias and azaleas as they finish flowering. Sow the new season’s seedlings – Polyanthus, Viola, Cineraria, Salvia, Zinnia, Verbena, Nasturtium, Snapdragon and Viburnum to give some winter colour and scent

 WORM FARM By now most gardeners will have a compost of some type.  The worms will work so hard for you and this will assist your soil and make it easier for your seedings and young plants to set and produce whatever you have planted this July. If you don’t have one I recommend you give it a try.  You will be happy with the results.  First of all  purchase a worm farm.