Now is the time to purchase spring flowering bulbs and deciduous trees, shrubs, vines, and other dormant plants. Visit your local garden centre for ideas and advice. Alternatively, there are also some excellent online suppliers such as Swane’s, Yalca Fruit Trees, Tesselaar, and Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery. Preparing planting sites ahead of time is beneficial as it gives the soil and any added organic matter time to settle and break down beforehand.
Prune berry canes, blackberry vines, currants and blueberries (maintenance pruning only if needed). Check with local garden experts or online for appropriate treatment for different varieties. Top dress beds with nutritious organic matter (homemade is best wherever possible), and a light covering of mulch to protect the soil while still letting in warming winter sunlight.
Create warm micro-climates around vulnerable plants using strategically placed rocks, bodies of water, or berms of sticks, straw, or similar (frost works its way down hill and pools in low areas). U-shaped hedges of hardy plant species can also be planted to trap northerly sunlight.
Re-locate frost sensitive pot plants to sunny protected spots. Avoid positions which receive sunlight first thing in the morning as it can damage the cells of frosted leaves.
Harvest ripe citrus fruit to prevent it stealing much-needed nutrients from the plant. Apply seaweed extract fortnightly to give a boost of potassium and increase resistance to frost damage.
De-compact garden soils and mulches to improve aeration, encourage soil life and absorb winter rains. Use a sturdy garden fork or broadfork such as locally designed Gundaroo tiller – simply push in and lever forward without turning the soil, being careful of plant roots. For more open areas with less plants or in seasonal veg patches, you can lever backwards and lift the soil. Work backwards to prevent undoing your efforts. To reduce future compaction, stick to designated path areas and keep soils mulched.
One to Read
This flamboyant hardcover book – Petal: The World of Flowers Through an Artist’s Eye [Hardie Grant Books 2020 RRP $50] – is a modern interpretation on traditional botanical illustration publications, celebrating the flower.
Renowned botanical artist Adriana Picker showcases flowers from all around the world with over 200 stunning illustrations from 27 plant families. These enchanting beauties are accompanied by truly fascinating stories, facts and legends by writer Nina Rousseau.
A diversity of families and species are included from the rarest and most unusual to those more universal and seemingly obnoxious and weedy.
Petal is the quintessential table piece and would make the perfect gift for any lover of flowers, art and beautiful things.