The New Year is well underway and by now you should have firmed up some projects for your garden, if not then haul out some old gardening magazines, pour a cup of tea, grab a pencil, some coloured crayons and paper on which you can draw up a rough plan of your garden. Rainy days like we are having aplenty are a godsend for planning sessions. Page through those glossies to see what you like. Fill your garden's gaps with inspiring finds. Then you can go forth and take on these projects yourself or if you are just too busy or overwhelmed get some expert assistance.
Also bear in mind that up until April your Hilton garden will have you on the run just keeping up with lawn care, trimming and weeding so do save the hardware projects for winter. You'll have your hands full mowing regularly to keep the grass at about 5cm.
The arums have been lovely and it is time to divide and replant overcrowded arum lilies which are beginning to die down. To do this carefully lift entire clumps as any piece of root left in the soil will develop into a new plant. Divide on a sheet of plastic and replant. If you find any plantlets on the old flower stalks of day lilies and Dietes plant them out. Feed Liliums and cut off faded flower heads but leave as much leaf growth as possible to produce food for next year's bulbs.
Roses will be grateful for a feed of anything high in potassium like Vigarosa, 8:1:5 or 5:1:5, to encourage the next flush of flowers. With all the rain those who spray will need to keep up a regular spray routine. If you do not spray, do feed well and dead head furiously to minimize disease in this rainy season. Well fed, tidy bushes will be more resistant to fungi.
If you are going to plant a container grown Christmas tree in the garden, first place it in the shade so that it may acclimatize to the outdoors before subjecting the tree to full sunlight. This reduces the risk of burning. Loosen the soil in the container, mulch and feed with a slow release fertilizer before watering.
With the global revolution to living a more environmentally friendly life there is a strong move to home composting. Add lime or a compost activator to speed up the composting process. Turn regularly and keep moist to encourage earthworm activity and the breakdown of material. Add your organic kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, teabags etc. Lime also helps to keep flies away.
In line with more economical global trends, seeds go a lot further and you can always split a packet with your gardener or domestic worker to spread the joy of gardening and encourage the community to become a little more self-sufficient. The following flower seeds can still be sown ageratum, alyssum, aquilegia, balsam, begonia, coleus, cosmos, dahlia (bedding), gypsophila, hollyhocks, impatiens, lavatera, lobelia, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, portulaca, salvia and sunflower. Feed your family home grown food in autumn by planting bean, beet, carrot, celery, cucumber, corn, eggplant, lettuce, pumpkin, radish, spinach, squash and tomato seeds now.
January is also the month for Tanglewood's Crazy Sale, it happens this weekend so visit Tony and Carlene and treat you garden to some gorgeous bargain buys. Mike at Ronnoco also has a sale on groundcovers, roses and pavers. Get there early to avoid disappointment. Happy gardening!