GARDENING CALENDAR

DECEMBER
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS - ageratum, alyssum, calibrachoa, gomphrena, pertuna, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sunflower, vinca and zinnia

VEGETABLES - beans, capsicum, chilli, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, marrow, squash, sweet corn, tomato and zucchini

IT'S TIME TO ...
Do a light prune and apply an all-purpose fertiliser.

Fertilise tree ferns with half-strength liquid fertiliser and cut away any dead fronds

Fertilise citrus trees and check the soil around their trunks is not drying out - apply a layer of mulch to help them through the summer

Examine azaleas for azalea lace bug, indicated by a silvery mottling of the leaves.  Use a non-systemic spray so the bees and other beneficial insects do not die.

Deadhead spring flowering plants that have already bloomed.  This will encourage new flowers.

NOVEMBER
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS - alyssum, amaranthus, celosia, cosmos, gomphrena, marigold, petunia, phlox, pertulaca, salpiglossis, salvia, sunflower, verbena and zinnia.

VEGETABLES - beetroot, capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, marrow, melon, okra, pumpkin, silverbeet, snake beans, squash, sweet corn, tomato and zucchini.

IT'S TIME TO ...
Check roses for black spot and spray fortnightly with a fungicide.  Use a high-potash fertiliser and water regularly.  

Add a soil-wetting agent to garden beds and mulch

Potted plants also benefit from use of a soil-wetting agent and mulch, particularly pots with large plants.

Tip prune passionfruit to encourage new growth and more fruit.

Trim hedges and fertilise.

OCTOBER
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS  -  alyssum, amaranthus, begonia, celosia, cleome, cosmos, gomphrena, marigold, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia, and verbena.

VEGETABLES  -  beetroot, capsicum, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, okra, pumpkin, radish, shallot, silverbeet, squash, sweet corn, tomato and succhini.

IT'S TIME TO ...
Dig old mulch into soil, add compost and cow manure and re-mulch.  Water in well.

Prune all Spring flowering shrubs such as azaleas, camellias, bottlebrush, grevilleas, to keep them compact then feed with a slow release fertiliser.

Cut out old canes from Spiraea cantoniensis (May bush) to allow new growth.

Once Cliveas have finished flowering divide large clumps and replant smaller clumps throughout your garden in shady spots.

Aerate lawns and feed with slow release fertiliser.  If an bindii appear in your lawn spray now to control this pest.  Use a product which specifically targets bindii.  If you have a buffalo lawn chose a product specific for buffalo grass.

SEPTEMBER
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS - alyssum, amaranthus, begonia, cleome, celosia, cosmos, gomphrena, marigold, nicotiana petunia, portulaca, salvia, verbena and zinnia.

VEGETABLES - beans, beetroot, capsicum, carrot, choko, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, okra, potato, pumpkin, radish, shallots, silverbeet, squash, sweet corn, tomato and zucchini. 

IT'S TIME TO ...

Prune cold sensitive shrubs such as hibiscus and pentas. 

Prune plumbago, oleander, brugmansia and tibouchina once they finish flowering.

AUGUST
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS - ageratum, amaranthus, bedding begonia, Californian poppy, celosia, chrysanthemum, coleus, cosmos, dahlia, gerbera, impatiens, lupin, marigold, petunia, phlox, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, sunflower, verbena, zinnia, African marigold, arctotis, aster, carnation, gazania, honesty, nasturtium, rudbeckia and tuberous begonia

VEGETABLES - beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, mustard, onion, parsnip, peas, silverbeet, beans, capsicum, carrot, choko, cucumber, eggplant, marrows,  melon, okra, potato, pumpkin radish, rhubarb crowns, squash, sweet corn and tomato

IT'S TIME TO ...
Prune citrus to shape and fertilise.  Water ground well and scatter fertiliser right out to the drip line but keep it away from the trunk.  Use either packaged specialty citrus food or pelletised chicken manure formulated for citrus.  The older the tree the more fertiliser it needs.  Check for citrus gall wasp (swellings on stems) on lemon trees.  If found, cut off galls with a sharp knife before the end of August or risk a new generation.

Prune some of the flowering salvias in your garden, particularly the Mexican sage bush (Salvia leucantha) varieties "Pink Velour" and "White Velour".  

Tidy and trim camellias to shape this month after they finish flowering and before they shoot with new Spring growth.  Feed in Spring with Osmocote for acid loving plants.

Prepare your soil by digging in plenty of organic matter like compost or manure.

Fertilise passionfruit and cut vines back by about a third for a bumper crop.

Check your tress for borer infestation, often indicated by a sawdust-like substance around holes in the trunk.  If spotted, push a length of wire into the hole and work it around to kill borers then inject insecticide.

Check azaleas for petal blight indicated by transparent or mushy brown flowers.  If present spray the plant with a fungicide and remember to always water at the plant's base,, never on the foliage.

JULY
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS - carnation, delphinium, foxglove, honesty, lobelia, marigold, nasturtium, nemesia, pansy, poppy,, primula, snapdragon and stock

VEGETABLES - beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, carrot, lettuce, inion, parsley, peas, radish, silverbeet, kohlrabi, radish, shallot.

IT'S TIME TO ...
Prune roses by one third, spray with lime sulphur and give them a light feed.  Success for roses is an excellent product.  Now is the time to plant bare rooted roses.

Prune old style hydrangeas by cutting back all stems that flowered last summer. remove any dead wood and cut back stems which did not flower to a set of plump buds. 

Trim long, lanky stems of bougainvillea 

Buddlejas, Plumbago, Abelias, Oleanders and Japanese windflowers can be pruned quite severely - they will quickly recover in spring.

Divide overcrowed clumps of summer flowering perennials such as Shasta Daisies, Penstemon and Daylilies.  Either replant in your garden or share with friends.

Rejuvenate clumps of Canna lilies.  Lift clumps and cut out any shrivelled rhizones.  Cut and divide healthy sections and replant into soil imporoved with compost, mulch and then water well.

Ornamental grasses can be improved by cutting off all foliage leaving a short, stumpy mass about 10-20cm high.  New lush growth will sprout in late winter.  If clump is not old then simply put on a pair of leather garden gloves and comb the clump with your hands.  This should remove any dead foliage, leaving a better looking plant.

Dig out winter grass from your lawn before it self seeds.

Continue to fertilise all bulbs after flowering has finished to ensure good flowering next year.

Plant hellebores in a shaded spot for winter and spring interest.  for mmore upright flowers seek out the newer form of Helleborus "Ivory Prince".

Kangaroo paws are producing lots of new shoot growth which will lead to next season's flowers.  Fertilise them with a couple of handfuls of well-rotted cow or horse manure.

JUNE
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS - alyssum, calendula, cineraria, dianthus, pansy, primula, viola, aster, celosia, marigold, nasturtium, salvia, scabiosa and zinnia

VEGETABLES - broad beans, cress, lettuce, mustard, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, onion, peas, radish, rhubarb crowns, silver beet and spinach

In Autumn a lot of shrubs are still in flower and plants look rested.  They are not stressed from the heat and have been revitalised by rain.

It's a good time of year to make new gardens from old.  Rejuvenate congested perennials by dividing.  

When the days are cooler plan your Spring garden.  For shady corners try planting a white garden.  White shines in the shade brightening the gloom.  Lots of shade loving perennials have white flowers so you have plenty of options to choose from.

IT'S TIME TO ...
Look after your lawn - spike the soil with a fork to improve water penetration.  Raise the height of your mower blades as high as they can go.  If you have bindii and winter grass in the lawn dig them out now before they set seed.

Prune gardenias lightly when flowering has finished and fertilise.

Trim crepe myrtles no later than July to eliminate twiggy growth in the centre and encourage the outside branches responsible for the best flowering.

Prune plumbago, tibouchina and hydrangeas.  Cut back dahlias to ground level and dig up the tubers for storage until Spring.  Prune sasanqua camellias as soon as the last blooms have gone.

MAY
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS - cineraria, cornflower, pansy, polyanthus, poppy, primula, statice, stock, viola, bellis, candytuft, carnation, foxglove, gypsophila and snapdragon

VEGETABLES - broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leek, lettuce, onion, spinach and spring onion

May signals the month of slowdown, the distinct end of the growing season.  It's a great time to reflect on your garden's performance over the year.  Remove plants that are under-performing and add new plants of special interest.  With the exception of chrysanthemums nothing specifically flowers in May.  There are the April leftovers - salvias, particularly Savlia Leucantha or Mexican Sage which stretches it's flowering seasons long into Autumn.  It's rich velvet purple is welcome colour this month.

IT'S TIME TO ...
Lift and divide herbaceous perennials that have finished flowering such as cannas, asters, windlfowers and gaura.  Dig them up, divide into sections with your spade making sure each section has roots and then replant throughout your garden.

Finish your bulb planting.  Try planting bulbs in pots.  This is a particularly good way to enjoy bulbs if you don't like their untidy leaves after flowering.  You just move the pot to an unseen corner once the flowers have finished.

Plant flowering annuals for a spring display.  Water in well with Seasol and then give them fortnightly applications of liquid fertiliser until they are growing well.

Prune Salvias to half their height , give Abutilions a light trim to bring them back into shape and if your Brugmansia has become too large trim them back after flowering. If plants are susceptible to attack by catepillers spray with Yates Success.

APRIL
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS  -  alyssum, calendula, cineraria, cornflower, pansy, poppy, primula, statice, stock, viola delphinium, foxglove, helichrysum, hollyhock, polyanthus, snapdragon, sweet pea and Virginia stock

VEGETABLES - beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, English spinach, lettuce, parsnip, peas, radish, silverbeet, broadbean, brussels sprouts, chinese cabbage, onion, peas and spinach

Autumn's mild conditions are perfect for gardening and April is probably the best month of the year in the garden - the earth is warm and it's a great time to plant almost anything.  It is the time when sasanqua camellias are flowering.  They are the most versatile plants and can be used as a screening or hedging plant, ground cover or as a focal shrub in your garden.  They are very easy to grow in sun or light shade, need to be watered well in late spring and early summer to enable them to bud up and produce their autumn flower display. Mulch with cow manure and feed twice a year.  Prune directly after flowering to shape.

Also coming into bloom in April are the Michaelmas daisies or Easter daisies, Japanese windflowers and the show plectranthus in whites, pinks and purples.  

IT'S TIME TO ...
Snip off dead heads of dahlias to keep them blooming and looking good.

Cut back spent flowers on salvia, cannas, gaura, phlox and shasta daisy. 

Agapanthus and daylilies can be divided to encourage better flowering next summer.

Tidy up spent flower heads on kangaroo paws and feed with a native controlled release fertiliser.  

If you have not fertilised your lawn take advantage of the April growing conditions before winter temperatures slow down growth.  Fertilising in Autumn encourages thick growth before winter.  

Rake up Autumn leaves, pile them in a hidden corner or bag them up - decayed leaves are very good for enriching your garden soil.   Add them slowly, laying them in your compost heap with handfuls of blood and bone as you layer. 

Now is the time to think about buying deciduous trees as you can visit nurseries or garden centres and see the trees when they are in Autumn leaf.  

If you have been hesitating to plant bulbs get busy now.

MARCH
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS  -  alyssum, cineraria, lobelia, stock, ageratum, calendula, Californian poppy, delphinium, foxglove, helichrysum, hollyhock, pansy, polyanthus, primula, snapdragon, violas and on St Patrick's Day plant sweet peas

VEGETABLES  -  beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, radish, silverbeet, broad beans, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, onion, peas, potato and spinach

IT'S TIME TO...
Fertilise citrus if not done already

Fertilise your lawn for the final growing months before winter sets in

Check plant catalogues and purchase your spring flowering bulbs

Start a herb garden - plant coriander, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano where they will get plenty of sun

Move a plant if it is in the wrong position.  Soils are still warm and air temperatures have dropped which will assist with root development

Take cuttings as there is less risk of them drying out and again temperatures are still warm enough t encourage root growth.  There is still time for cuttings to establish before winter.

Deadhead roses and prune geraniums and fuchsias, murraya and gardenias.  Use suitable cuttings to propagate cuttings.

Feed camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas..

Trim back whippy new growth on Chinese star jasmine

FEBRUARY
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS  -  alyssum, begonia, cosmos, gomphrena, petunia, portulaca, salvia, torenia and zinnia

VEGETABLES  -  carrot, lettuce, capsicum, eggplant and tomato

IT'S TIME TO...
Prune buddleias, salvias, hydrangeas, fuchsias, abutilons and geraniums and lightly prune roses for their autumn flush if not done already.  Tidy up around the base of the plants and treat with Seasol to encourage more bushy growth.  The cuttings can be potted up for expanding your garden, giving to friends or bringing along to Club meetings for the Cuttings Table.

Feed citrus trees and spread fertiliser around the drip line and water in well.

Feed hibiscus.

Check that the soil is absorbing water.  The hot summer sun bakes the soil causing it to form a crust which reduces the ability of water to penetrate the soil.  Aerate the soil and apply a wetting agent - Eco Hydrate and Wettasoil are just some of the products available.

Check azaleas for signs of lace bug damage (silvery upper sides and rusty brown undersides).  You can treat monthly with a systemic spray or use Confidor tablets twice a year.

February can be a very humid month so check plants for fungus and mildew - white coatings or black spots.  If found spray with Eco-Fungicide. 

Plant annuals for autumn display.

JANUARY
PLANT NOW
FLOWERS  -  ageratum, alyssum, amaranthus, aster, coleus, dahlia, gerbera, impatiens, linaria, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, phlox, poppy, portulaca, primula, salvia, stock, verbena, wallflower and zinnia

VEGETABLES  -  beans, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, cress, endive, herbs, hohirabi, leek. lettuce, parsnip, swede, radish, rhubarb, silverbeet, spring onion and turnip

IT'S TIME TO...
Cut back salvia to encourage second flush.

Cut back roses by a third, feed and give a deep water - expect a great show in six weeks.

Prepare for March/April planting of sweet peas by digging lime or dolomite into the soil where seeds or seedlings will be planted.