Top gardening tips for February
Top gardening tips for Febuary
- Remember your Valentine on February 14. Red roses are the traditional gift on this special day, but consider a potted rose instead to give your loved one pleasure year after year. Some long-stemmed red beauties are 'Mr. Lincoln', 'Oklahoma' and 'Kardinal'.
- Observe the current water restrictions. Keep applying organic mulch around plants to improve the soil, suppress weed growth and reduce the need for irrigation.
- Order your spring-flowering bulbs from mailorder catalogues or your local garden centre, while there are plenty available. Store tulips and hyacinths in the crisper section of the refrigerator until April or May, when the soil is cooler and the time is right for planting.
- When it's hot and windy, move potplants and hanging baskets into a cool, shaded spot to prevent them becoming stressed. Apply sealer to the inside of terracotta containers to reduce evaporation and add water-storage crystals to potting mix for extra moisture retention.
- Stake and tie dahlias and chrysanthemums to prevent stems snapping in strong wind. As this is the active growing period for trees and shrubs, check that all stakes and ties are secure to reduce risk of injury. Old pantyhose make ideal soft ties.
- Trim climbers such as wisteria, jasmine and grape vines. These vigorous growers tend to take over in summer and might need pruning.
- Watch for black spot-a fungal disease causing mottling on rose leaves-which is more prevalent in high humidity. Gather affected leaves and dispose of them in your garbage bin. Don't add them to your compost heap. Spray roses with a suitable fungicide, such as triforine (use only as directed).
- Cut off old agapanthus flower stalks to prevent seeding, prune back hydrangeas to a pair of plump buds after flowering and trim straggly native plants to maintain an attractive shape.
- Fertilise cymbidium orchids fortnightly with Campbells Orchid Food 'A' until flower spikes are well-developed. This helps them produce beautiful blooms in winter.
- Delight in the summer shades of crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) and butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii).