I have to admit I don’t like being cold, but once I am rugged up in a warm coat and boots, I love the crisp air of winter. We are lucky in Australia, winters are never drab…well, maybe a little when it rains. Something is always blooming or even fruiting. The native wattles and the banksias are in colour. In our garden, our camellias, azaelias and cyclamens are showing off, but it doesn’t stop there. Our orchard has colour because of our oranges and lemons. You would nearly think it is summer with all the colour.
People often think of winter as a quiet time in the garden, but actually it can be a very active and magical time. Although many plants are resting, there are others that are preparing for warm weather to come back, like spring bulbs and vegetables. We shouldn’t leave all the preparation to these plants. There are still things we can do into the garden to ensure edible winter crops grow their best and we are ready for Spring.
Pruning – time to prune those roses. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless, by leaving only three or four main stems. Ensure the centre is very open. This will prevent mould and other diseases occurring because of crowded growth. Tidy up climbers, vines and spring flowering shrubs. After pruning sprinkle the soil lime sulphur and apply an eco-friendly/organic pesticide to ensure pests and diseases are kept at bay.
Tidy up – Pick up leaves, twigs, sticks and bark. Use as mulch, if possible. The leaves can go into the compost bin.
Plant a new crop of vegies – time to dig your garden bed and if it is not too wet, add some manure. Let it rest for at least a week before planting. It is a great time to sow carrots, English spinach, cabbage, lettuce, peas, spring onions, leeks, broad beans, and radishes. Remember to get rid of any pesky weeds.
Look after your citrus – depending on where you live, you will be picking citrus during the winter. July is a good time to fertilise citrus, with an all-purpose fertiliser specifically for citrus. If you are planning to grow some new fruit trees this coming summer, consider planting some old, heritage varieties in July by using bare rooted stock from specialist growers.
Add to the colour – check planting guides for your area and pot up some annuals. Choose plants like geraniums, pansies or polyanthus that are already in flower for an instant show. Don’t forget to water well after planting and then feeding about every 10 days with a liquid plant food. Also, keep in bloom by deadheading.
I hope these few suggestions don’t frighten you, but encourage you to get into the garden this winter and enjoy the magic of winter. I would love to hear if you have any suggestions.
Garden earthly passionately,
Attracta & the earth passion team.