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Time to Cut Back and Prune!

Prepare now for this summer's best rosesJuly is pruning time and not just the roses. Itís also time to cut back hydrangeas and fruit trees. Rather than a dreaded chore, with the right tools and correct information, pruning can be easy. Think of it as a late winter cut-back that rejuvenates plants and prepares them for a summer of healthy growth, glorious blooms or fabulous fruit. Pruning brings light and sunshine into the garden warming the soil and stimulating growth from the roots in the ground up.

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Attract more birds

Duranta have berries that turn bright yellowBirds are attracted to gardens where there is some shelter and a regular supply of food. By planting bird attracting plants you can encourage them not only to feed from your feeding station but to also nest in your garden.

The best feeding programme for birds is to plant shrubs and trees which offer nature's menu. Favorites like the Aloes will attract nectar feeding birds while seed eating birds are attracted to the seed heads of grasses.† To attract fruit eating birds, plant berry producing plants. Here are some of our recommendations from Eckards.

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Food gardening for winter

Plant from seed or established seedlings for a mixed basket of winter greensAutumn into early winter is the time to refresh the veggie patch or even plant up some new containers of veggies and greens to boost your kitchen garden over the coming months. By planting before it gets frosty you will find that you get some good growth with the warmer day temperatures and ultimately a better harvest down the line.

As you pull out the last of your summer crops that are ending always prepare the soil to replace the nutrients used up with the last harvest. Veggies love loads of organic matter and home-grown organic veggies even taste better than organic store bought.

Traditionally the best time of the year for root crops one can also add some leafy greens to the winter harvest. As gardens have become smaller and more protected it has become easier to grow top crops too. If your veggie patch is very exposed to the elements and covers in heavy frost then choose root crops first but if not itís time to experiment!

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Boring Winter ... No Ways!

Create a splash of colour with bedding plantsIt's not "all the trees are brown and skies are grey" in SA in winter. It can easily be the most colourful time of the year in your garden.† Over the next few weeks it's time to sow and plant some of our all time favourite bedding plants Bedding plants are most rewarding this time of the year as there is just so much to choose from.

These include calendula, cineraria, dianthus, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, nemesia, pansies, snapdragon and stocks. The range is extended even more with the selection of seeds that make adding colour to your winter garden just so easy.

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