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The cold weather and the wind this past weekend did wonders to the garden. All the last leaves hanging around on the deciduous trees are off and the winter flowering annuals and perennials all look bright and cheerful after their ideal weather burst. With the leaves off, a big clean up and start of pruning season will have the garden and pavements looking clean and fresh. This time of the year we always look at pruning to kick-start spring and this year we look forward to a few new gardening inspirations and fresh ideas to get the whole family into the garden.

10 things you should be doing in your garden right now

One Plant some colour

One might think its too late to plant some colour in the garden. The winter bedding plants might be full of flowers right now but the spring flowers are only just getting started. Planted now, spring colour will last till the end of October giving your garden a boost of colour just when it looks a bit drab. Keep them fed with Multifeed Flowergro added to the water once a week and take of the deadheads to stimulate more flowers. Plant Primroses, Pansies, Violas as well as the dainty white Chrysanthemum and fragrant Alyssum to herald the coming spring.

Two - Prune the roses

Pruning the roses is the first step in the big spring clean that starts now. The thing to remember is that with roses, you cant really go wrong! As long as you do cut the roses will reward you with flowers. Gone are the days of specific instructions and vase shaped bushes and slanted cuts facing the right way. Modern roses in our climate simply require a cutback and you are ready to go. Our tip is to use sharp secateurs and cut back Hybrid Tea roses by half and Floribunda roses by a third. Ground covers get cut back by about two thirds while Climbers just need shaping.

Three Spray aloes for Scale

Aloes have become very popular in modern landscaping and although one might think they are low maintenance there is one chore that you have to check this time of the year. Aloes are susceptible to scale in the home garden. A white little insect that sits on the outside edge of the leaves and can cover the whole plant and kill it off if left unchecked. Scale is notoriously difficult to get rid of so dont delay if you see some it will get harder if the whole plant gets covered. Spray with Oleum once a week until it clears, normally about three or four applications will be enough. Dont spray onto the flowers.

Four Feed your lemon tree

Everyone loves a lemon tree in the garden to give an almost endless supply of lemons to the kitchen. Lemon trees will come into flower soon and then flush new foliage. By feeding now with Bounce Back your tree will have the nutrients it needs ready as soon as the weather changes, giving you the best chance of a good crop and a healthy tree. As soon as the new leaves start apply Merit, a systemic insecticide, to prevent the bumps on the leaves. Our tip: Pick off all the fruit on your tree now, feed, water and let dry out till the leaves start to flush.

Five Plant some greens

The veggie garden will start to go through a bit of a dip in supply soon so plant some fresh greens. Spinach, lettuce and oriental veggies are perfect to fill the gap in supply and you can harvest leaves as you need so they will keep you in supply till the end of October when you will start your summer veggies. Add a row or two of carrots to be ready for the first salad lunch!

Six Mulch the garden

Use the leaves and cuttings from the pruning to mulch the garden beds. One cannot overemphasise the value of mulch to the garden especially when you are considering the environment. Mulch regulates the soil temperature, retains moisture and encourages earthworm activity naturally in the garden. Using your own garden waste is the first step in recycling and improves your organic gardening point!

Seven Sort out your containers

The container plants also need a boost this time of the year. Remove the top layer of soil and add a couple of handfuls of compost to top them back up. A handful of Bounce Back and a good watering till the water runs out the bottom of the pot will get them started. If you have pots of bedding plants feed them with Multifeed Flowergro every week till its time to take them out. If you are changing them now for spring remove half the soil and replace with some fresh potting soil.

Eight Check out the irrigation

As the temperatures start to rise so too will your watering levels. Check your irrigation now to see what parts need updating and which sprayers have blocked through winter. Especially after pruning there always seems to be some sprayers damaged or moved while you are in the beds doing a clean-up. If you do it now it wont be a rush when its gets warmer and then suddenly you cant water because a pipe miraculously got a hole in it.

Nine Fertilise

Often gardeners wait to feed only in mid spring. That might be the case with your lawn but we recommend you start with the beds now so that you get an even better spring garden and an earlier one! Using an organic fertiliser is the most effective this time of the year. Organic fertilisers do not burn, become part of the soil and do not leach into underground water causing problems in the environment. Vitaboost in the orange bag has added carbon which helps the plants absorb the nutrients easier and is a finer pellet that is easy to broadcast.

Ten Indoor plant maintenance

After the winter your indoor plants will also need to be refreshed. On a warm day place them in the bath or on the patio and rinse the leaves down to remove all the winter dust so that they can breathe a bit easier. Top up with a handful of potting soil and check for any signs of scale or mealy bug and spray them with Oleum, this will not only get rid of the bugs it will also act as a leaf-shine leaving them all glossy and looking fresh. Feed them with Nitrosol and make sure when you feed them the water runs out the bottom of the pot. Once they have dried off return to the rooms where they stand all ready for summer.

NB: Dont stand them outside in the sun they will die from sunburn even in winter.

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