Gardens in the warmer coastal areas can be quite colorful at this time of year, while further away from the coast, there are some frost-hardy treasures to be found among our native plants.
Meanwhile, in cooler temperate areas people will be getting back into the garden after a brief dormant period – to prune and plant, to knock up a garden seat or potting bench.
Here are 14 tips to keep your garden blooming through the cold weather:
- It is important to monitor the weather in all regions, as winter rains can be unpredictable and gardens may need supplementary watering.
- In addition, frost can have a drying effect if rain does not follow. Mulching therefore continues to be important in every garden – protecting roots from frost and cold, and ultimately improving soil texture and thus the soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients.
- Take care not to overwater lawns, which encourages the ever-lurking fungal diseases.
- With the recent big rains, lawns can be aerated with a hollow tine fork or a conventional garden fork to improve drainage.
- Less mowing is needed during this time, but don’t neglect the edges or let your lawn become scruffy.
- Plant trees, shrubs, climbing plants, perennials and berry fruits.
- In all gardens plant peas of all kinds. In cool and temperate zones plant broad beans and parsley and capsicums.
- In all regions, plant out cabbages and onions and plant potato tubers (or wait until next month if it seems too cold) .
- Asparagus may also be an option for this area now.
- In most areas this is the main month for pruning and feeding roses.
- If you have some early spring-flowering varieties you should certainly make a start so that they will be in good shape for blooming them.
- The evergreen Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ may need to be trimmed a little. If you cut it quite close to its support, a healthy plant will reward you with masses of tight flower clusters; if you let it arch freely it will look like a primrose-colored waterfall.
- Heavy pruning is now mainly reserved for modern hybrid bush roses. With climbing roses remove old, weak canes and twiggy growth and tie as many stems as possible horizontally.
- Watch for aphids, borers, cup moth, leaf curl, petal blight and white scale and mites.