- Add a burst of two-tone warm-weather brilliance with a Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’. Placing third in the 2015 Plant of the Year award at London’s Chelsea Flower Show, it was bred by retired NSW Department of Primary Industries employee John Fisher in his garden in Orange. Quick-growing, it’s at home in most soil types and at its best from spring to autumn.
- Celebrate Australia Day (26 January) by planting a bright-as-bright flowering gum. One of the best is the small-growing hybrid pink ‘Summer Beauty’, which is tolerant of our humid conditions in the Eastern States.
- Aerate lawns to ensure water and fertilisers are getting to where they’re needed. You can simply use a pitchfork to create holes in compacted soil, or buy yourself a pair of spike-bottomed aerator sandals that clip onto your regular shoes.
- Plant a few flowers among your vegies to lure pollinating insects. Good for attracting bees are blue, purple and yellow plants such as borage, sage and sunflower.
- Set aside a moment for a summer evening stroll to check what’s looking good in your neighbours’ gardens, and grow them yourself. The best displays will likely involve crepe myrtles, hibiscus and, a little later on, tibouchinas (once called lasiandra).
- Once roses have produced their best blooms, prune them back a little. This causes the plant to bounce back with renewed vigour and also promotes reflowering.
- Keep annuals blooming their heads off right to the end of summer by deadheading and fertilising every few weeks. If they start to look straggly, treat them to a trim.
- Divide perennials such as bearded iris and daylilies to increase numbers.
- Increase watering of roses and shallow-rooted plants such as lemon trees and camellias, which are prone to becoming thirsty when conditions are dry.
- Regularly check citrus trees for the first signs of scale or leaf miner. An immediate spray of a product such as Eco-Oil or PestOil will do the trick.
- Add sparkle to summer gardens with splashes of crisp white flowers. Good contenders include Volcano phlox, white cosmos and Queen Anne’s lace.
- Give your potted plants and hanging baskets a break from blazing summer sun by moving them into more shaded spots.
- Cut back wayward climbers and give fuchsias a light prune.
Better Homes and Gardens
Here are our picks for the month of January...