The flowering period for many perennials, repeat-flowering roses and annuals can be extended considerably if old flowers are removed as soon as they fade.
This prevents the plants’ energy going into producing seeds and channels it into new growth and producing flowers later in the summer and autumn.
Use sharp secateurs and cut back to just above a strong bud further down the stem of the plant.
If you are going to be away over the summer and are able to arrange for a plant sitter, group your pot plants in a sheltered shady spot close to the hose to make it easier for them.
Other options are to install a drip system with a timer or to put your pots in a trench filled with wet sawdust or wet coarse compost.
Use the bathtub or laundry tub for your indoor plants when you go away. Put your plants in the tub (still in their pots) and fill the tub with about 1cm of water.
Plants should be able to live happily in this situation while you holiday for as long as three weeks.
- A hammock; good quality gardening gloves; bird or insect houses.
- Secateurs, trowels, weeding tools and even watering cans, doormats and gumboots come in great colours and patterns.
- A year's membership to the Armidale Garden Club, or other local gardening fraternity
- Mulch after watering. Remember, a good soaking once a week is better than a little each day, which only encourages plants to send out shallow roots close to the surface.
- Ensure you have water available for birds that visit your garden, as well as for smaller insects; for example, bees and other beneficial insects such as hoverflies, lacewings, lady birds and predatory wasps all need a drink.
- If grape vines or fruit trees are dropping their fruit prematurely, give them a long, slow, thorough watering.
- Consider a living Christmas tree that can be planted out after Christmas for a lovely fresh pine smell that artificial trees just cannot match.
- Most importantly, finish the Christmas shopping, stock up on refreshments and relax in your garden, rewarding yourself for all your hard work throughout the year.
Have a happy Christmas and New Year, stay safe everyone and prepare for some happy gardening in 2017!
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.