When gardens come to life
Summer months – perfect time to enjoy what you made out of your garden
NOVEMBER and December are some of the most glorious times to spend in the garden.
Take this time to enjoy the flowers and new growth that make all the hard work worthwhile.
To keep your plants looking their best and to extend their flowering, deadhead (or snip off ) spent blooms and give a light prune to any shrubs that have sent out unruly new growth to keep bushes compact and dense.
There are some plants that demand to be noticed as summer begins.
Hydrangea and agapanthus are a match made in heaven with their big round flower heads contrasting in blue and white, these show-stoppers are great for wowing the family when they visit at Christmas and can be cut for amazing table centrepieces.
If you feel like experimenting, you can play with the soil pH and try to turn your blue hydrangea pink or vice versa.
Generally speaking, acidic equals blue while alkaline equals pink and there are solutions you can add to the soil to create this effect.
White hydrangea will remain white regardless.
As summer draws near, it is important to prepare for the hot months to come.
Keeping gardens moist is the greatest challenge at the height of summer so check your irrigation systems to make sure there are no holes or blockages and if you use sprinklers, make sure there is no plant growth obscuring the sprays.
Mulch the ground heavily to create a layer of insulation, keeping the moisture in and the heat out.
If you have an edible garden, you should have your tomato, pumpkin, potato, zucchini, capsicum, corn and cucumber crops well under way by now.
Keep them well watered and disease and insect free as best you can and you will soon be rewarded with bountiful crops.
With the onset of summer, we also get increased heat and humidity.
Fungal diseases love this time of year.
Black spot on roses is one of the most prolific contenders.
Pick off the worst affected leaves and burn or bin them.
Don’t leave them on the ground or put them in the compost, as this will spread the disease.
Prevent black spot by watering plants at ground level only, fertilise to boost the immunity of the plant and maintain good airflow around bushes.
There are lots of sprays that will also help to keep the disease in check.
Sooty mould, powdery mildew and downy mildew are other common fungal diseases.
Removal of affected foliage and application of fungicides helps with these problems.
If you have fruit trees, you should be starting to see the formation of your crop.
Fruit fly will also have noticed this development so now is the time to set traps and spray if you start to see puncture wounds in the fruit.
EYE-CATCHER: White hydrangea and blue agapanthus create beautiful contrast in the summer time.
RIGHT: Find a shady nook in your garden and relax and enjoy all of your hard work.