November is when we stop to smell the roses.
But this year they bloomed in October and it's time for their first summer prune.
Remove the just-flowered stems at about the length that you'd pick for a vase.
This allows the bush space to develop new flowering stems during the next two months.
If horrible black spot appears, try spraying with a mixture of a teaspoon of baking soda in two litres of water, with a few drops of liquid soap added to help the mix cling to the leaves.
This spray is also useful for treating fungal leaf spot on bearded irises.
I like dividing irises in November if I can find time; if I leave it until February or March I may lose a season's flowers.
The leaves of some early flowering white irises, that were in the garden when we moved here, are highly susceptible to this fungus.
I try to control it by removing all the foliage when I divide the rhizomes.
Luckily the more modern iris varieties that I planted nearby appear to be resistant to it.
With a dry summer forecast, this is a good time to check that birdbaths are waterproof and topped up.
A friend recently helped me solve the problem of a pedestal birdbath that wouldn't stay level.
"Lay a big paver absolutely flat on the ground below your birdbath," she said.
"Put the pedestal on top and give the bowl a final check with a spirit level. It won't shift again." So far so good.
Many plants need regular watering in hot weather. Instead of a sprinkler, place a hose turned to a low trickle next to the plant. It's far more effective as the water soaks straight to the roots where it's most needed.
November is peak garden visiting time, the chance to check out trends.
As English gardener and TV presenter Monty Don says, "A garden isn't a place, it's a journey." He's spot on and I learn something from every new garden I see.
I recently visited Pam and Gary McKay's Cowra garden where Gary has turned the design concept of keeping an open centre, usually a lawn, on its head.
Influenced by Blue Mountains' woodland gardens; Gary planted tall hedges to create a series of spaces linked by winding paths.
Each space has its individual character, using a variety of plants with a feature like an urn, garden sculpture, seat or water feature.
This imaginative design invites exploration while encouraging you to pause and enjoy each space.
Oberon Garden Club is opening five gardens on the weekend of November 4 and 5 from 10am to 4pm. Entry is $20. Visit Oberon Visitor Information Centre, 48 Ross Street, contact 6329 8210 or visit www.facebook.com/OberonGardenClub
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