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Brighten your winter months with the cheerful blooms of hellebores. From the classic ivory (blushed with rose) coloured blooms of Hellebore ‘Winter Sunshine’ to the sumptuous musk colour of Hellebore ’Penny’s Pink’, these hardy and easy to grow plants can be shown off indoors when in full bloom and planted out when the display is done for years of cool season colour!
Hellebores require good light to flower well, so bloom better in dappled light than dense shade. They’ll cope well with root competition from big trees, but for more prolific flowers, apply Yates Thrive Rose & Flower Granular Plant Food which contains fast-acting nutrients as well as a slow release fertiliser for feeding for up to 3 months.
New release Daphne ‘Perfume Princess’ (pictured) has a deliciously sweet winter perfume, and blooms prolifically through winter. Perfume Princess begins flowering earlier and flowers for a very long period, the blooms are larger and more plentiful than Daphne odora (common daphne) clustering at the tips of the stems and along the branches. Whether you plant it in a container or in the ground it is bound to fill your garden and your senses with gorgeous winter scent.
To grow daphne, good drainage is essential, so select a pot with plenty of drainage holes, or a position in a raised garden bed so water drains away freely. Look for this new daphne variety, 'Perfume Princess' at your local nursery.
Daphne prefers a slightly acidic soil, so treat alkaline soil with Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur to reduce the pH. Also keep an eye out for scale insects that can be a common daphne insect pest. To control scale, spray daphne with Yates Conqueror Spraying Oil.
Don’t forget to feed daphne with a potassium boosted fertiliser like Yates Thrive Rose & Flower Granular Plant Food. It will help promote healthy green leaves and lots of heavenly flowers.
Traditionally growers of dahlias lift tubers from the ground as foliage dies down, then store in a cool dry place until mid spring when they replant. Depending on where you live, your soil and winter weather conditions, dahlias may survive quite happily in ground over winter. Dwarf dahlias, and new generation, multi-branching varieties, such as ‘Love Affair’ and ‘Home Run’ bred by Dr. Keith Hammett in New Zealand can remain in the ground for many years.
However, in areas with wet winters, where soil stays moist and cold for long periods, dahlia tubers may rot off in the ground, so digging and storing is wise. If you’re planning on planting dahlias this coming spring, start to improve and enrich the soil now by digging in a few handfuls of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food.
Alyssum Magic Circles Mix is a delightful, easy to grow annual. It’s a pretty, low grower with a mix of lilac, cream, pink and white flowers. Sow seeds directly into garden beds or pots and cover with a fine layer of mix and keep moist. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. The long-lasting blooms have a soft honey scent, and once it’s sown, readily self-seeds, so it will pop up again year after year. If you prefer an all-white look, choose Alyssum Carpet of Snow.
Gardeners in the tropics enjoying the “winter” or dry season, can add some hot colour with Marigold Safari Mixture, which flowers with bright yellow, orange and scarlet double blooms. Sturdy dwarf plants are ideal as garden edging or borders and beneficial in the vegie patch too, attracting bees and beneficial insects.
To promote lots of growth and encourage plenty of flowers, liquid feed flowering annuals like alyssum and marigolds, as well as pansies, violas, poppies and spring flowering bulbs such as hyacinths and tulips with Yates Thrive Natural Fish & Seaweed+ Plant Food Concentrate.
Also feed bulbs such as Erlicheer jonquils, snow drops and early daffodils which have already flowered. They’ll absorb nutrients through the foliage, storing food for next seasons flowering. Leave bulb foliage to die down naturally.
Enrich the soil under magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas by spreading a 50mm layer of compost (homemade or quality bagged compost) as mulch. The organic matter in compost protects the surface roots of your flowering trees and shrubs, improves soil structure and encourages worms and beneficial organisms. In addition, sprinkle over Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food then water it all in well. Your soil and your plants will love it!
Testing the soil pH – the degree of soil acidity or alkalinity – every few years is a good idea. Although plants can often provide a guide to your soils acidity or alkalinity, you can help things along and adjust the soil pH for optimum growth of particular plants.
A Guide To Soil pH
Adjusting soil pH using Yates liquid products is much easier than granular formulations, it’s faster acting and there’s no dust or digging, simply mix and apply according to the directions on the pack. Yates Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime Dolomite helps raise the soil pH for more vibrant pink blooms on hydrangeas, and is also useful to ‘sweeten’ acid soils for growing vegetables and sweet peas.
Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur lowers the pH of the soil, making it more acidic. Ideal to use when growing acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias.