November 6th, 2010
November in Melbourne, and the roses are flowering, the weather is warming up and the weeds are rampant! Roses and rhododendrons both seem to be affected by early heat much more than other plants. Within a few days of blooming, many of the flowers completely blow or wither, before we have a chance to really enjoy them. One way to get around this is to bring a bunch inside to enjoy them there.
But, even if you don’t want flowers inside, dead-heading is essential, because if it isn’t carried out, the plants will have much less strength to form the next lot of flowers. Roses will produce another flush of bloom during January, with a final flush during April. If you leave the flowers on, and the seedpods are allowed to form, there will be no more flowers later on in the season. You can just snap off the dead blooms, but if you take the extra time to prune back to the next healthy leaf-junction, the next lot of blooms will be quite good and the bush takes on a better shape.
Now that we have enjoyed all this lovely rain it is time for me to get very busy and active out in the garden weeding and you guessed it, mulching! Especially around the camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons for they all have very shallow, compact root systems. They tend to dry out very easily and summer is a very hard time for them. The best way for me to help them is to mulch heavily with decayed straw or spoilt hay.
So, its off out into the yard with my garden hat squished down to stop the sun & my garden hoe in hand to attack the weeds and spread some mulch!