June; the month of the shortest day, the start of the colder weather and clean up time in the garden!

The last of the leaves will have fallen from trees and shrubs and most of the perennials will have finished, so a good tidy up of leaves and plants can be completed.

Before the ground becomes too wet and cold the lifting of tuberous begonias and dahlias ready for storing should be finished.Chrysanthemums and other summer/autumn perennials need to be cut back by about two thirds if they are to be left in the ground. Alternatively, they can be lifted, trimmed up and stored in plant trays to over winter in the greenhouse or conservatory.

Many of the spring bulbs will be starting to emerge through the ground or will be just below the surface, so be careful when working around them.

The pots of my Freesias are through the soil and as I have cut back all my pots of chrysanthemums I now have room to move them into the green house to flower in early August.

I have also moved my cymbidium orchids in as they have plenty of buds ready to flower.

The lawns are slower growing so need to be mown less often. This time of year moss can be a problem and may need to be treated.

Fruit trees will benefit from a winter spray programme of copper and conquer oil over the next 2 to 3 months. Pruning of fruit trees and roses and other trees and shrubs may now be started (take a look at the Pruning Workshops on offer here if you're unsure of where to start). 

The green house clean up and disinfection ready for the next season will help to keep it pest and disease free.

Winter time is also time to have the lawn mower serviced and other tools cleaned, repaired and sharpened.

This year I have planted my garlic in May, and in a new place in the garden to see if this will help to avoid the rust that spoiled the quality of the bulbs last season.

Good Gardening, Michael Coulter

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk or you can email Michael directly at coultchrys@xtra.co.nz