What a cold and wet start to the beginning of winter it has been…. The rainfall has brought a lot of joy to many Melbourne gardeners, but the cold temperatures are always a lot harder to be happy about. However, after the recent bush fires in my local area the cool change has been a nice change for the garden. A lot of plants suffered from the extreme heat and lack of rainfall. It is only now that they are having the opportunity to recover all thanks to the cooler weather. It is almost as if they have all hit the re-start button.
The cooler temperatures and rain is not the only benefit to the change of seasons. Now is the perfect opportunity to get on top of all those little garden jobs. By doing a few garden tasks it will open up a lot more time in the spring to enjoy planting or even better the success of your plants.
What can we be doing now to get everything ready so that spring can be an abundance of success? Here are my 5 garden tasks!
5 Garden Jobs for Winter
- Clean garden borders:
Remove any unwanted weeds and thin out sprawling plants. Thinning out ground-covers will allow more space for new plantings, reduces the chances of ‘over crowding’ and allows for more air-flow through the garden. By doing this it can help your garden in a multitude of ways. There will be less chances of pest and diseases establishing and less root competition.
- Prune back old flower heads:
Remove old flower heads on plants such as Salvia and Penstemons. By pruning off 2-3 inches this will encourage and stimulate your plants to flush with healthy new growth in late August into early September. Then followed by an abundance of flowers not too long after! Pruning helps to create a stronger network of branches by encouraging them to strengthen and thicken. Which will usually result in plants becoming more dense and lush.
- Add humus to enrich the soil:
Adding aged compost (humus) to your soil can help improve the overall health and structure by introducing healthy microbes and nutrition. Add a few shovels of compost to the soil surface, work it into the soil with a rake or garden fork. If you are adding compost to established garden-beds, place around plants and gently, with as little interruption to the roots of any established plant, work the compost into the soil.
- Tend to the Greenhouse:
As winter hits, my greenhouse is very much forgotten. I don’t use my greenhouse through the winter months all that much… instead it turns into a shelter for my indoor plants and unused pots/containers. It may seem to be a forgotten space but I always have grand plans!
I like to get my greenhouse ‘sorted’ before the end of July. Why? Because mid-august is the perfect time to start sowing the seeds of the spring and summer vegetables.
- Colour Up!
In my recent blog post I shared some of my favourite plants to use in the garden for the purpose of introducing some winter colour. Adding annual plants can keep the garden looking beautiful as the transition from winter into spring takes place. Violas and Pansies in particular can continue blooming into late November…. if they are well looked after!… So, plenty of fertiliser and water as the weather warms.
What gardening jobs are a must for you during the winter months? Let me know down below in the comments. You never know, you might just inspire me to do a few more tasks around my garden this season!
Until next time happy gardening!
By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs