On chilly days it might be tempting to slip on a jumper and stay inside, but with a few maintenance and light renovation tasks left to do in the garden, it’s the best way to stay warm this winter.
• Before starting work on any garden maintenance it’s a good idea to begin with a clean slate. Rake up any fallen leaves, twigs and bark and throw them on the compost heap. Scraps of dead wood can also be used for an indoor fireplace or barbecue.
• Clean out guttering with Hoselink’s Long-reach Pivot Cleaner designed to hook easily over gutters, with a long extension reducing the need for a ladder. Clearing gutters now will avoid any blockages or damage during the cold snap.
• Remove any dead flowers, plants or weeds from garden beds and borders. In particularly rainy conditions, weeds can become more of a nuisance than normal. The best way to eradicate them without chemicals is to pull them up. Hoselink’s Weeder makes light work of this tedious task, so why not set aside a little time each day to tackle the weeds?
• Trim any unruly hedges or shrubs to neaten them up – Hoselink’s 2-in-1 Hedge Shears have four different lengths to help you stay on top of hard-to-reach areas.
• Repair any broken pergolas or wooden structures in the garden and give them a lick of paint or wood treatment if required.
• It’s worth remembering in some parts of Australia a winter sprinkler ban is imposed, so it’s time to switch off and let the rain take care of your yard for a while. This will also help to prevent any waterlogged soil.
• Check the compost heap isn’t getting too wet. It may need a temporary cover if so.
• When the leaves have fallen pruning becomes a much easier task, especially when tackling larger jobs such as fruit trees. Now is the ideal time to clear any dead, diseased or damaged branches and begin pruning back and thinning out your fruit trees to ensure a bountiful crop next season. Hoselink's range of secateurs and cutting tools will help do the job with ease.
• Roses can also be tackled in winter, ideally from July to August when the risk of frost has passed. Begin pruning roses from the base of the plant upwards, cutting at an angle just above any buds facing towards the outside of the plant. Don’t be afraid to get secateur-happy with your plants; roses need heavy pruning to create a basic, open framework ready for new growth in spring.
• Cut off twiggy branches and old foliage from herbaceous perennials.
• Towards the end of winter cut back any climbers, removing the oldest stems before tying up any untrained growth.
Nourish your soil
• Well-nourished soil is the key to a flourishing garden. Feeding the soil with compost, manure, blood and bone can help to give it a boost in time for the next planting season.
• Aerate the soil. Turning over and raking through the soil with a spade, fork or hoe will improve air and water flow, though this shouldn’t be done too frequently as it can damage the soil structure.
• Mulch, mulch and more mulch! Spreading leaves, hedge trimmings and prunings around the soil can help to feed and nourish it whilst preventing loss of nutrients and water, as well as keeping pesky weeds at bay.
Plant for the new season
• Though winter can be decidedly bare, there is the joy of a new growing season on the horizon, and now is the ideal time to purchase your seeds and plan what to grow in the garden. Companion planting may sound complicated, but with a bit of research you can grow plants together that will be beneficial to pollinators, as well as helping to control pests. For example, planting garlic near roses can help to repel aphids, so plan wisely to make gardening a little easier in the future.
• Some seeds, like onions, leeks and cabbage, can be started in a greenhouse or cold frame at this time of year, and most packets will contain information on when and how to do this.
• Start sowing some of your veggies outside. Depending on which region you live in, hardy root veg such as carrots, parsnips and beetroot can be sown out alongside broccoli, potatoes, lettuce and onions.
• Bare-rooted fruit trees and plants such as rhubarb and asparagus, as well as bushes, can also be planted now.
• If you forgot to sow your spring bulbs in autumn, then plant bulbs at the end of winter for a beautiful summer display.
• Fertilise any winter-flowering bulbs when the buds first appear, to give them a boost.
Wrap up plants
• During particularly cold weather and frost, plants are at their most vulnerable, so it’s worth investing in some horticultural fleece, plastic covers or hessian to wrap them up on cooler nights. Remember to uncover them again in the morning so they can get some sun.
• Move warmth-loving potted plants into a more protected area of the garden, such as under a porch.
• Cover perennial and flower beds with a layer of wood chips or straw to help protect them during very cold snaps.
• Tender potted plants can be kept warm with a layer of insulating material wrapped around the pot.
Remember, each climatic zone of Australia will have different requirements in the garden, so ensure you research which jobs are best suited to the area in which you live, particularly for wrapping up plants and sowing seeds.