Gardening: Feed up your floral family

THIS time last year winter was mild and we didn't realise what lay ahead - 35 degrees and bush fires during August, unheard of!

Last weekend's drop in temperature indicates that this year winter may last until spring, which really is better for the garden that performs ideally with the change of seasons.

A continued winter allows time to complete pruning, particularly rose pruning and fertilising.

August is the ideal time to fertilise the entire garden, using the correct food for different plant types.

If you are in doubt use a neutral product such as Bounceback or Martins Organic Advance Plus.

Deadhead camellias, azaleas, daffodils and other bulbs and plants as they finish flowering.

Be careful when pruning not to cut trees or shrubs that will flower in the spring.

Keep a watchful eye on azaleas as petal blight is common at this time of year - look for mushy brown flowers that should be sprayed with Zayleton.

Travellers returning home from Europe have a yearning to have window boxes filled with colourful geraniums, but be warned glasshouse cultivation and instant colour dominates the market place and European gardens certainly don't cope with our humidity.

It will help to feed and prune to improve flower quality.

Here's a tip - plant in a good quality potting mix such as Martins Premium, add a little slow release, a dessertspoon of dolomite, plus potash - then after the first month of growth, pinch them out and begin weekly watering with Flourish.

It is too early to fertilise lawns - wait until the grass is actively growing (that is, being mowed). But it is certainly a good time to spray weeds and bindiis, taking care when purchasing to ensure the product is suitable for your lawn.

Your local nursery will be able to give you experienced advice.

Never apply sprays to newly mown grass. Apply to dry grass, four to six hours of sun for best results.

Fertilising citrus, in short, apply poultry manure to ground grown plants followed by citrus food, but not on potted plants.

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