If your lawn is long and shaggy after the holidays, cut it back in stages. Fertilise with a granular fertiliser suitable for your soil such as 2:3:2 or 2:3:4, or 3:1:5 to feed leaves and roots, and make it more drought tolerant.
Feed the whole garden with an all-purpose, organic slow-release fertiliser. Do this before it rains so you won’t need to water it in. Maintain mulches and ensure spring-flowering shrubs, especially camellias and azaleas, are well watered.
Give roses a light prune towards the end of January; don’t remove too much leaf cover. Top up mulches, if needed, and feed with Vigorosa or 8:1:5. Continue spraying monthly with a fungicide suitable for mildew, black spot and rust.
Trim vigorous trees by removing whole branches or lift the canopy by cutting off the lower branches. Tip prune vigorous autumn-flowering plants like ribbon bush (Hypoestes aristata), poinsettias and chrysanthemums to keep them neat so they’ll produce more flowers. Control fast-growing evergreen foliage plants like acalyphas, coprosmas, pittosporums, dodonaea and euonymus with judicious pruning.
Take slips from out-of-shape pelargoniums, lavender, heliotropes, Chinese lanterns, Solanum rantonnetii and daisy bushes, and 10cm-long, semi- or half-ripe cuttings of hibiscus, coprosmas, camellias, fuchsias, buddleias. Tidy up bromeliads and remove ‘mother’ plants that have flowered. Don’t damage new suckers which will take her place.
Start feeding cymbidium orchids with low-nitrogen, high-potash food to encourage flowering. Maintain the humidity around Moth Orchids (phalaenopsis) by misting or placing the container on pebbles in drip tray of water. Cut off faded flower spikes at the base of the plant, repot and feed with a balanced 2:3:2 orchid fertiliser.
Pamper your live Christmas tree when you move it back outside. Loosen the soil and give it a thorough soaking and feed.
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