All you Need to Know about Pruning Roses

Did you know July is the month for pruning your roses? Okay, there are some exceptions. If you love growing roses and want to know more about when and how you go about pruning roses, read on!


1. It is not advised to go pruning roses in July if your roses usually have one single massed flowering in spring. These types of roses often include old-fashioned roses and most climbing roses. In this instance you should wait until after they have finished flowering, then cut them back.

2. In cold districts, it is often better to wait until around early August to prune, when there is less risk of new growth being damaged by frost.

Why Prune? Roses respond really well to a prune. Pruning stimulates new growth, plus it also tidies them up. Roses can look a bit shabby otherwise!

Techniques and Tools for Pruning Roses

  • Good quality gardening gloves to protect your hands from thorns.
  • Clean, sharp secateurs.
  • Small saw with a narrow blade that curves slightly (easier to manoeuvre inside the bush).
  • Lime sulphur (eg. Yates) and a good sprayer to apply.


Parts to Prune

  • Cut out weak, spindly, criss-crossing or dead stems.
  • If established, consider removing some of the oldest stems, sawing the old, dark brown stems off cleanly at their base.

pruning roses

  • Remove remaining stems back to a few buds above where last year’s growth began. The topmost bud that remains after pruning should be facing afterwards.


Stand back and assess. Does the remaining wood seem healthy and vigorous? Is the centre of the bush nice and open so that the sun and air can get right into it?

Completing the Job

Spray the whole roses and the soil beneath the bush with lime sulphur. This helps to remove rose scale from stems and destroy fungal spores lingering in the soil. A good layer of organic mulch over the root area is also a good idea, but don’t let it come into direct contact with the rose’s trunk.

In warm climates, before applying the mulch, spread some Dynamic Lifter Advanced for Roses or some Thrive Granular Rose Food. However, in frosty areas, it’s best to wait until the last frosts are over before feeding the roses.


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Sources and Photo Credits

Wisteria Hysteria

We have wisteria hysteria! Fragrant, cascading flowers are currently adding a ‘Monet-esque’ quality & lilac haze to cities and towns in Australia.

A mix between a vine and a shrub, the wisteria’s dripping, fragrant clusters of flowers provide lovely cool shade over a pergola, or privacy, cascading down to create a screen of delicate, fragrant blooms.

Want to add value to your property? Wisteria Hysteria could be for you! Who wouldn’t be swept away viewing a property with dripping tendrils of lilac, blue, white and pink.


Getting Started (That is, Be Patient)

Although wisteria are vigorous climbers, often growing 4.5 metres ore more in a year, it can take at least six years for a newly established wisteria to start flowering. So best get cracking now!

Growing Conditions

Wisteria enjoy a full sun position. If planted in partial shade they will grow, but most likely won’t flower. If your soil is not in good condition, add compost, otherwise it will grow in most soil types. They do like well drained soil and reliable moisture, particularly during flowering and the initial growth period.

When to Plant

In spring or autumn.

How to Plant

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and about two to three times as wide. Space plants 3 to 4.5 metres apart. If training over a pergola, plant either in the ground or in pots and ensure the pergola is high enough so you can walk underneath without brushing the flowers.

Caring for Wisteria

In spring apply a layer of compost under the plant and a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and control weeds.  If you have a week with little or no rain ensure they get a good drink. Pruning is the secret to good flowering. Prune in late winter – remove at least half of the prior year’s growth, leaving just a few buds per stem.

Hot Tip

Wisteria still not blooming? Check out this tip – Take a shovel and drive it eight to ten inches into the ground about a foot and a half out from the trunk to slice into some of the roots. Damage about 1/2 of the roots and the bush will be shocked into reproduction. (2)

Popular Wisteria Varieties

Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) in its blue form  is commonly planted in Australia, however according to Don, two other widely cultivated Japanese species are also popular amongst gardeners:  W. brachybotrys and W. floribunda.

W. floribunda

The best known of the Japanese wisterias, it is differentiated from the Chinese wisteria as it has a lot more flowers. Its dozens of cultivars include a spectrum of colours, including ‘Honbeni’ (soft delicate pink flowers with a lavender tinge) and ‘Kuchibeni’ (white flowers with a tinge of pink at the end of the petals and clear yellow autumn foliage).

W. brachybotrys

Plants in this group have very large individual flowers on long stalks and a beautiful fragrance, and include varieties such as:

‘Shiro Kapitan’ or ‘Alba’ (strongly scented, pure white flowers appear with the leaves)
‘Murasaki Kapitan’ (mauve, strongly scented flowers). This cultivar is unusual in that it twines clockwise.
‘Okayama’ (resembles Shiro Kapitan except it has faintly scented dark mauve flowers).
‘Showa Beni’ (similar to Shiro Kapitan except it has faintly scented pink flowers).

Have you caught the Wisteria Hysteria yet? If you are still not convinced you want to wait six years for your wisteria plant to start flowering, maybe take a look at some of these amazing pictures to get inspired…


wisteria   wisteria





Photo Credits: See

The Pothole Project: Creating Teeny, Tiny Gardens

Flicking through the Sunday papers over brunch last weekend, this picture of a miniature garden caught my attention….

The Pothole Gardener

Gaining exposure on the cover of this season’s Australian Garden History Magazine, the Pothole Gardener project is ‘all about creating unexpected moments of happiness’.


Founder Steve Wheen expresses on his Pothole Gardener blog, “My little gardens are a respite from the greyness of London. People read all sorts of things into my gardens when they try and rationalise them – something I’m fascinated with…”


“I don’t generally garden on the road, only on the footpaths (I’m not completely mad) and apart from keeping safe, the only rule of pothole gardening is I don’t ever use figures in my gardens. I use a lot of miniatures as part of the project, and as a big part of my work is inspiring peoples imaginations and I find leaving scenes helps provoke the audience”.

pothole gardener     pothole gardener


For Steve, pothole gardening is all about “getting out there and getting your hands dirty” and his happy little pothole garden inspirations have struck a chord with many others. Steve regularly receives pics of wonderful gardens from around the world that he posts to his blog. Some have even made it into his book “The Little Book of Little Gardens”.

pothole gardener


Get behind this fantastic feel good project and create a pothole garden of your own. Upload an image to Instagram tagging @potholegardener and @flowersforeveryoneaustralia –  we’ll further spread our favourite tags on the Flowers for Everyone Facebook page for even more people to feel the love!

References and Photo Credits:

Dirty Hands, Clean Soul

“Life begins in the garden. The rest – worry, conflict, stress – simply dissolves in the landscape” (1)

Not a green thumb? Never gardened in your life? Don’t have a backyard? None of that matters – you don’t have to be an expert on gardening to reap the benefits of simply FEELING GOOD in both body and mind.

Whether you are a student, an investment banker, a retiree or a parent, the benefits of getting your hands dirty are tenfold. Put simply, research has proven that gardening is both a highly effective mood enhancer and personal trainer all rolled into one.

Grow your own veges


Reading Indoors or Gardening Outside?

Well both sound relaxing. In fact lying down on a comfy couch reading a good book sounds super stress-free. However, a study in the Netherlands using stressed out participants split into two for reading and gardening indicated that although both demonstrated a drop in cortisol (gardening participants showing a much steeper drop) during their respective activities, the gardening group fared much better in terms of mood, reporting a complete turn around by the end of the experiment.

The Secret to Life Satisfaction

A Texas survey indicated that “gardeners reported more physical activity, claimed more energy, and rated their overall health higher than non-gardeners. Those who described themselves as gardeners showed a higher level of life satisfaction than those who said they didn’t garden”. (1) I’d make a safe bet the Dalai Lama would agree.

Dirt – The Natural Anti-Depressant

Did you know that when digging around in the earth you are ‘kicking up some potent  Mycobacterium vaccae bacteria, known to stimulate serotonin releasing neurons in the brain?’ (1) Regardless of the sensory delight of getting your hands dirty, and whether or not your horticultural endeavours are worth writing home about, we could all do with getting our hands dirty more often for a natural pick-me-up – nature’s prescription medication!



It gets you away from the ipad and outside.

Concerned about the rising addiction of screen time and its affect on adult and children’s health? Here we have the answer. Dig in the dirt, plant a seedling, prune some stems. Even 10 minutes is enough to turn your day around. It’s a bit like taking the dog for a walk to breath some fresh air and get a spot of sunshine on your shoulders. Except not everyone owns a dog. You don’t need a huge backyard to reap the health benefits of gardening either. Gardeners and gardener wannabees can all happilly potter in a small inner city courtyard, big suburban backyard, apartment balcony, roof top, or even a community garden.

community garden      window boxes

It gives you precious ‘me’ time.

Whether it’s a quick ten minutes each day or a longer stretch once a week, gardening enables you to escape into your own private world. Pottering in the garden, watering and weeding pot plants on your balcony, or planting vegetables in a community garden, enable you to take ‘time out’ from the people around you and the hectic pace of life. This gentle, nuturing activity means you can simply focus on you, and nature. Your breathing rate will relax, tension will dissolve from your shoulders, and your emotional batteries are given the opportunity to re-charge.


It gets you moving.

Whether it’s the action of squatting and rising, lifting bags of potting mix, carrying rocks, pushing a wheelbarrow, or digging with a spade – gardening provides an opportunity to work out (either in a relaxed way or a ‘Biggest Loser’ kind of way). And unlike a regular fitness workout, you are also provided with the bonus of a beautiful garden view from your window, flowers for the house, herbs and vegetables for your cooking.

So there you have it. Dirt cleanses the soul. And if you feel the need to instagram and Facebook photos of the rose you have grown, or the dinner you have cooked using vegetables from your garden, then your ‘screen time’ is well deserved.




Time to Plant your Spring Flowering Bulbs!

Who would have thought an ugly onion looking object could grow into something as beautiful as this?

Spring flowering bulbs     Muscari Rosa Alba

Autumn, specifically mid-March to late May, is the ideal time to plant Spring flowering bulbs in Australia. And you don’t need a garden to be able to experience pleasure as the first green tendrils breaking free from the earth at the first signs of Spring.

Bulbs can be planted in pots or vases to brighten up your interior, window boxes or gardens with fully portable displays. Not only are they considered to be low maintenance and easy to grow even for the rookie gardener, watching their foliage and flowers unfold from an odd looking onion into an object of beauty is pure magic.

Sweet little pots of sprouting spring bulbs


Daffodils, Jonquils, Tulips, Amaryllis Lilies, Hyacinth, Bluebells, Snowdrops, Anemones, Freesias, Alliums, Ranunculi, Dutch Iris, Grape Hyacinth, and more…


Step One: Select a deep pot or container with good drainage, preferably at least 3-4 times the depth of the bulbs you are planting.

Step Two: Fill your pot with a commercial potting mix (don’t add manures or compost). A slow release fertilizer can be mixed into the potting mix and applied each year as the bulbs emerge. (1)

Step Three: Plant your bulbs with the pointed side facing upwards (the only exception to this is Anemone and Ranunculi, if you are unsure you can always plant bulbs on their side and they will always grow upwards!). Aim to plant them twice as deep as the height of the bulb and the same distance apart as a general guide. (2)

Step Four:  Sit your pot in the shade until the leaves get to around 10cm, then place in full sun. Once flowers start to open, bring your pot indoors for everyone to enjoy. (3) 

Muscari Armeniacum

Step Five: Pots should be kept moist but not wet throughout the growing season, until the foliage dies off completely, to ensure the bulb is able to generate the energy it requires to produce next year’s flowers. Don’t be tempted to cut off the yellowing foliage!

Step Six: Once dormant, they should be planted in the garden to recover for the next season, protected from summer heat and excess water if possible. They are unlikely to re-flower consecutively each year if left in their pot, unless they are in an extremely large container.(2)

Alliums      Muscari armeniacum 'Valerie Finnis'


Groups of containers planted with a variety of flowering bulbs make a spectacular display. 

According to, Daffodils, tulips and hyacinths are all “excellent bulbs for small containers”.

Their website recommends to plant “pansies on top of the bulbs will soften the effect and the bulbs will grow through a carpet of colour”.

“Colour code your pansies to contrast or complement the colour of your bulbs, whatever your colour scheme. I like to plant 7-9 bulbs into each pretty pot; don’t be stingy!” (3)

Flowering pots of spring bulbs


To get the most out of a limited amount of planting space, This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook likes to make a thick “bulb sandwich.” “All you need to do is dig one big hole, then layer in three bulb varieties according to their different bloom times,” says Roger. “Crocuses, tulips, and daffodils are a good trio.”

According to Roger, “Spring will bring sequential waves of flowers in the same spot. As the early-blooming crocuses fade, they will be followed a couple of weeks later by fresh-faced tulips, then, in another few weeks, a raft of daffodils. An added bonus: Each plant’s new growth will help camouflage the wilting flowers and leaves of its predecessors”.

“The hole should be 25cm deep, but can be any size or shape. A 30cm diameter planting area, for example, can accommodate 7 to 9 daffodil bulbs. Follow the earlier instructions for depth of planting and spacing”.

“After covering those deep bulbs with 10 – 13cm of soil, put in 9 to 12 tulips, which do best 12 – 15cm below the surface. Add another 5 – 8cm of soil, and the planting area is ready for 12 to 15 small crocus bulbs. Fill the hole to the top with more soil and soak the area with water. Keep it moist throughout the fall, then leave it dry until spring. The reward is a four- to six-week-long feast of flowers”. (5)

A 'bulb' sandwich


eHow Contributor Erica Roth describes how the likes of narcissus (ie. daffodils and jonquils), amaryllis and hyacinths can all grow from the bulb stage hydroponically (in water, without soil) in a glass vase. To do so, follow her steps below (and let us know how you go!):
Hydroponic bulb growing
Step One: Buy Vase – Knowing how wide a vase you need will depend how large the bulbs are. Line the bottom of the vase with around 5 – 10cm of small pebbles. The rock base serves as a stabilizer for your bulbs.
Step Two: Prepare your flower bulbs by removing any areas of the roots that appear brown and withered, as these parts of the plant are dead. Snip the dead roots off with a scissors and discard.
Step Three: Put the bulbs (root-side down) on top of the pebbles. Add some more pebbles on top of the bulbs to prevent them from floating away.
Step Four: Add water to the glass vase only until the bottom 2.5cm of the bulbs are covered. The entire bulb should not be submerged in water.
Step Five: Keep your vase of flower bulbs in a warm place that reaches at least 21 degrees Celcius, but it should not be placed in direct sunlight. The bulbs need to grow shoots before they can tolerate full sun. This process may take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. Observe your individual bulbs for the right time: when they’ve grown shoots.
Step Six: Water your flower vase as needed when you see the water level going down below the base of the bulbs. You may only need to water a couple times each week when the shoots are young.
Step Seven: Relocate your glass vase to a sunny spot, either indoors or outside once the bulbs have begun to flower. At this time, you can transplant the flowers to an outdoor flower bed if you wish, or you can leave them in the vase (5).
Tulips grown in glass vases         Daffodils growing in jars