The shortest day is now past which means buds, new shoots, green leaves and hopefully soon, Spring! Unfortunately (I am not at my best in the cold!?) we still have many cold days ahead and lots to do!

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Keeping the garden tidy is the topic for the month and one way to tidy up is to prune. The best time to prune your roses is from the middle to the end of the month. Hopefully all your tools – secateurs, loppers, saws etc. are clean (wipe the blades with methylated spirits to ensure that no diseases are spread from one bush to another) and sharp. If your secateurs are beyond repair, spoil yourself and purchase a new pair which is on special - Pruner By-pass Red – was R115-00, now only R79-95! Pruning is easy – just always cut to an outside bud to encourage air circulation in the centre of the bush.

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It is not necessary to use a sealer but spray twice with Ludwig’s Insect Spray – was R145-00 now only R99-95 or Kumulus fungicide - was R74-95 now only R49-95, immediately after pruning. After pruning, scatter around each bush 2 Tablespoons Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate), 2 Tablespoons of bone-meal and I Tablespoon of superphosphate. Water well.

Roses are not the only plants that need pruning this month. Some shrubs, especially small ones need to be tidied. Other larger ones such as mackaya bella and hibiscus need to be trimmed after flowering. Another reason why we cut back is that many plants grow leggy. Many of our gardens are small and we tended to plant too many shrubs too close together. Trimming them enables them to each show-off some of their foliage, colour and flowers!  Shrubs that spread over onto your lawn also need to be cut as the lawn will die under them. You also need to prune your fruit trees such as peaches and plums. If you are not sure how to do it, pop into one of our nurseries for advice.
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Hydrangeas must be cut back but only at the end of the month - remove two thirds of any stem that has flowered to a strong pair of buds. Feed them with lots of acid compost and water well. Never let them dry out for too long as their roots are very shallow. I always suggest that every garden has one as the leaves wilt when they need watering which will probably remind you to water your other shrubs at the same time.
Remove the dead foliage on all your day lilies, tulbughias, agapathus and even tall plants such as your cordylines. Your garden looks better, the plants feel better and you are happier when it is all neat and tidy. Once this job has been completed, it is easier to spread your fertilizer necessary for good spring growth which you must do only at the end of the month!

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Is your garden now looking tidy but bleak? Let’s brighten it up with patches of cheerful, colourful annuals! We apologize for not having enough primula malacoides plants this season. The seed suppliers were not able to import enough seeds and those we were able to get our hands on appeared to have reduced vigor so have not grown to be the quality that we know you expect from us. Perhaps pansies and violas can replace them this year. It does not matter how cold it gets pansies can take it! They can freeze, yet when a sunray rests on them, their bright faces will add excitement to any garden.
Find a sunny spot in which to plant them and benefit from our special - buy 2 containers of pansies and take a 3rd one in the same container for free! Or if you want to make a bolder statement plant ornamental kale – yes cabbage plants in pink or white – buy our instant colour pots which were R19-95, now only R15-00 each (these plants are trending at the moment after being ignored for soooooo long)!

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Your citrus trees are gross feeders so feed them (use the same regime as for your roses but vary the quantities depending on the size of your tree. Lemons are thirsty trees - give them the same amount of water consistently - if you are going to give them 5 litres twice a week, always give them this amount – do not vary it - and this will ensure they give you juicy fruit! All our citrus is less 30% this month. If you don’t have a citrus tree planted in the ground, why not plant one in a pot and receive a double bonus as all our pots (excluding plastic ones) are less 30% and the potting soil which was R36-95 is now R26-95 while our Macadamia Nut Shells which you can use as a mulch which was R39-95 is now only R29-95. We have a host of beautiful and exciting pots and containers.

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You can almost any plant in a pot and seeing you are probably spending most of your time on your warmish patio, spruce it up and save at the same time. Our Cycas revolutas are all less 30%. They have a distinctive shape, are evergreen, and make a striking feature in the garden being big, bold and beautiful!
 
Grasses, although they do not have colourful flowers, are also capable of transforming a drab landscape into a vibrant, maintenance free one. All our 15cm evergreen grasses have been reduced from R24-95 to R17-50 so if you are thinking of making a change in your garden, these are the plants to use.

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Now let’s BEE busy doing what we love to do!

  • Keep an eye on your annuals, bulbs and veggie patch as little or no rain falls now – a good soaking every 4th or 5th day should do the trick. Eat your veggies before they get too mature – lush green peas, long juicy carrots, crisp round lettuce, fresh spinach, round red radishes – if you are not only visualising these but actually having fun picking them, then all your hard work over the past few months has been worth it!
  • After harvesting your cabbage and cauliflowers pull up the old stumps, chop them up and put on your compost heap. If you leave them in the ground, they will attract insects.
  • Don’t remove any frost damaged plant parts – leave them to protect the plant
  • Use luke warm water on your indoor plants but do not water them too often. Remember, root growth does not die down in winter, it simply slows down.
  • Turn your compost heap
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  • Get rid of all your expired chemicals – for this month only you can bring them into our nurseries and we will dispose of them responsibly
  • Continue to feed the birds visiting your garden – our bird seed is really inexpensive if you bring in your own container
  • Enjoy your aloe flowers and the sunbirds visiting them!
  • Visit us and pick out the deciduous tree of your choice – dig a large hole and plant it now so that it is settled for spring
  • Move any large well-established shrubs now
  • When you are watering, sprinkle the leaves to remove the dust
  • Water your rhododendrons (azaleas), camellias and magnolias well
  • Keep your pavement tidy as it is the first thing people see when they visit you.
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Again we have many, many gorgeous plants on special so pay one of our nurseries a visit!