Spring into spring this winter

Home gardeningHere’s what you need to do now in winter, to prep your garden for spring!

Just because it’s cold and dry, does not mean you can neglect your home garden. In fact, this is the perfect time to maintain and plant certain things now that will be blooming during the warmer days to come!

Prune your roses in winter

Roses should be pruned in July. In order for your gorgeous roses to be blooming in October, pruning needs to be done late July / August. This will allow your rose bushes to grow healthy and sprout lots of vibrant coloured flowers! Generally, roses are pruned between the second and third week in July. However, if the weather is still really cold and the frost is still around, just wait until it subsides before making your first cut. As a general rule you should try and prune your roses to approximately half their normal size, aiming to create and even shape plant. After your roses have been pruned, apply a high nitrogen content fertilizer. Typically an 8.1.5(25) will do the trick. This will assist the plants to start blooming as soon as your roses come into season.

How to prune your roses

Step 1: Encourage a vase-shaped rose bush by cutting all the branches off at hip height.

Step 2: Remove the older, woodier stems and dead branches. Select 3-4 young, strong branches that will aid in maintain the vase shape.

Step 3: Remove all branches that are thinner than a pencil as these will not be able to support flowers.

Step 4: Cut off branches that are too close to each other or rub up against one another. Also cut away all stems that cross the centre of the bush. Your vase shaped rose bush should have 4-5 strong stems around an open centre.

Step 5: Cut the remaining strong, young stems to knee height (50-75 cm)

Special tip: Climbing roses that are being trained over an arch, a pergola or against a trellis do not need to be pruned heavily. You can simply cut back each branch by three leaves to stimulate growth and remove damaged or dead stems at their base.

Maintenance after pruning: Look after your roses after pruning by spraying them with insect repellent and then from August onwards, fertilise your rose bushes by sprinkling a handful of rose fertiliser around the base. Also don’t forget to water thoroughly after placing fertiliser down. You should also work in rough compost or mulch around the rose bush at a fork’s depth just after pruning.

Home garden pruningHome garden Rose pruning

What to plant now in winter

By planting a new rose garden during winter, you will give your roses enough time to establish themselves during winter. You can also add colour to your garden by planting seedlings, like pansies, primrose, primula and alyssum.

Petunias can also be planted now! Petunias come in every colour imaginable and this is the perfect investment if you’re looking to bring lively colour back into your home garden.

There are different types of petunias, therefore, it’s important to know which one you want to plant. “Grandiflora” petunias have large flowers and are ideal for planting in autumn and winter in summer rainfall areas. “Multiflora” petunias have masses of smaller flowers and are better suited for plantings in spring and summer in the summer rainfall regions as the smaller flowering varieties are more tolerant of rainfall. The opposite obviously goes for the Western Cape.

They can survive the cold and do well if planted in late winter so that they can bloom by the time spring’s warmth triggers flowering time.

Planting your petunias:

Plant your petunias along a north facing wall because this will allow the flowers to trap a lot of heat and light. They do best in full, direct sunlight but can also survive in partial shade.

When watering petunias, they don’t fare well with too much water and wet, soggy soil so make sure the soil has good drainage.

Petunias also take extremely long to grow from seeds so rather opt for seedlings.

Lilies are also the perfect flowers to plant now. Click here to learn more.

Home garden petuniasHome garden petunias

Written by Kayla Myburgh for Home Inspirations. Sources: Richard Jnr Erasmus, General Manager of Lawnpro and Life is a Garden.

Photograph credits: Lawnpro, Gardena and Life is a Garden.

Learn more about winter gardening, find all available garden tools you may need or locate your nearest landscaper!

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