If you made any garden-related New Year's resolutions, now is the time to follow up on them. Perhaps you vowed to use water more efficiently, compost more, grow more bee-friendly plants or spend time enjoying and relaxing in your garden.
Or maybe to get the plants you already have, fully established in the garden, before being tempted with new purchases!
If you are in a bushfire region, keep your home safe by regularly cleaning gutters, removing rubbish and mowing grass. Be sure you have a fire plan and check that your hoses will reach all areas.
Roses will often give you a second burst of flowers if you deadhead finished rose flowers regularly, keep them well-watered during the hot months and fertilise so they bud again. Hedge clippers work well for deadheading flower-carpet rose varieties.
Also deadhead annuals and perennials to promote continued flowering.
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Summer is the best time to give lavender a good haircut, ideally when its main flowering period is over. If you don't trim lavender regularly it produces fewer flowers. Prune back by a third, but don't cut too hard - Take off all the old flower stems and make sure you've left some growth on the main stems as lavender won't produce new leaves from old wood.
Restrict new plantings where possible until cooler conditions arrive in autumn. If you do need to put a plant in, plant into moist soil, preferably when cloudy of rainy conditions are expected. Provide temporary shade until the new roots establish.
Water new plantings daily for a week, and then twice a week for the next month. Mulch well.
Water plants between sunrise and about 11am for best results. Don't be tempted to water too often or your plants might become water dependent.
If you have an automatic irrigation system, check it regularly. If it fails, even for a few days, plants that are relying on water can be lost, especially those in pots.
Start thinking about ordering spring-flowering bulbs for planting in autumn, and making your lists - there are many to choose from and many different places from which they are available - your local nurseries as well as bulk order and more specialist online nurseries.
The Armidale Garden Club's first meeting for the year will be on Thursday February 24 in the Uniting Church Hall. Mark the date as everyone is welcome!
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