Prune rambling roses and frost hardy shrubs and climbers that flowered in spring and early summer like Deutzia, Abelia, Cape May (Spiraeaarguta and cantoniensis), Forsythia, Mock Orange (Philadelphus),Weigelia, Jasmine, and the Snowball Bush (Viburnum). In hot, dry regions do not prune too harshly, mature plants can be cut back about one third.
. Bougainvilleas can also be pruned when the first flush of flowering bracts has faded.
. Remove any water shoots that grow from the base of the plant. Prune marguerite daisy bushes (Argyranthemum) and Chrysanthemums after their first flush of flowers to encourage them to bush out and produce more blooms.
- Continue to feed and water regularly with a slow release organic fertiliser like Wonder 7:1:3 and try to water in the morning so that the blades can dry off during the day, this will help prevent fungal diseases and applies especially to Kikuyu lawns as they are susceptible to a fungal disease called ‘fade out’.
- For a lovely fine textured lawn with no yellow spots, mow more frequently but do not cut too short.
- If possible, mow during the cooler part of the afternoon.
- Periodically change the direction in which you mow your lawn to prevent ridges and uneven growth.
- On most soils a lawn requires watering to a depth of about 30cm each week, so to save water, measure how much your irrigation system is delivering and adjust as required. If moles are a problem, continual use of a ‘garlic based’ repellent should chase them away.
- You can still sow seeds of fast maturing, water-wise annualslike portulaca, salvia, marigolds, cosmos, nasturtiums, ageratumand zinnias
- Most perennial plantsare now growing strongly and you should wait until autumn if you have not divided overcrowded clumps yet; but perennial primroses and violets can be divided once they have finished flowering; re-plant only strong healthy plants into well prepared, fertile beds.
- Continually pinch out the dead flower heads of your annualsto prolong flowering. Cut back the dead flowering spikes of delphiniums and foxgloves and feed them with organic 3:1:5; this encourages the plants to put forth side shoots, and they will flower again later in summer.
Veggie and Herb Gardens:
- Water your vegetablesregularly to ensure they are sweet and tender and keep the beds weed free
- Feed your tomatoeswith organic 3:1:5 when the fruit begins to set.
- Pinch out the shoots ofrunner beanswhen they reach the top of the stakes to encourage flower production. Do the same for cucumbers and train the secondary growth along horizontal supports.
- Feed your peppersandeggplants with a high nitrogen fertiliser to encourage growth.
- Mound the soil up over developing potatoesand apply a high nitrogen fertiliser to sweet potatoes when they are in full leaf. Harvest onionsthat are drying out.
- If space is limited grow gem squash up a trellis or up the stems of sweet corn.
- Sow or plant herbslike Basil, coriander, dill, parsley and Italian parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, marjoram, mint, tarragon, sage,rocket and fennel.
- Last but not least, weedbecause warmer weather and the first summer rains will have those weeds growing rapidly.
- Save yourself a lot of time next summer by religiously weeding this season and not allowing them to set seed.
Containers and Indoor Plants:
Feed every 4-6 weeks with a water- soluble fertiliser, or use a specifically formulated food for plants like African violets, orchids and ferns. You can also use a granular fertiliser like 8:1:5 in single specimen containers.
General to do List:
- Continue to feed your hydrangeasregularly with hydrangea food, to intensify the colour of the blooms.
- Fuchsiascan also look at their best in December if they are well cared for now.
- Continue to feed and water regularly, but do not overwater.
- On very hot days your fuchsias may wilt even though the soil is still wet; try moving them to a cooler position or simply spray the leaves down with water and they will quickly perk up again in the evening.
- Spraying underneath the leaves often with water will also help keep red spider and whitefly at bay. Spray early, so that the leaves are dry before evening, otherwise they will be more susceptible to powdery mildew; especially on overcast evenings.
- If your hydrangea, gardenia, brunfelsia(yesterday-today and tomorrow) orcitrus tree has yellow leaves, water them with Magnesium Sulphate (Epson Salts).
- Dissolve 5 tablespoons into 10l of water and drench the soil around the plants. For fully grown citrus trees, sprinkle 1kg directly onto the soil and water it in very well. Never apply fertiliser near the stems of trees and shrubs, as this can burn them. Hibiscus plants often show yellow leaves at this time of the year but this is usually caused by cold weather, waterlogged roots or lack of nutrients.