With the shorter days and chilly mornings there is no denying that winter is with us. With the long, hot days of summer now in distant memory, you might be surprised how some of those gardening jobs that seem like a chore in summer can be actually enjoyable in winter.
We assume that our gardens lie dormant during the cooler months, it is important to remember there are a number of jobs that need to be done in winter to help our garden rest and rejuvenate.
Think winter is not the right time for planting? Think again! At this time of year there are many plants available that you won’t see at other times of year, e.g. an enormous number of rose varieties, deciduous fruit trees, nut and ornamental trees not to mention the gorgeous spring flowering trees. The plants are sold soil-less or in special bags and are often cheaper than regular potted plants too so you can get planting without busting the budget. Much of the seasonal rose activity, especially pruning and planting, should take place in winter.
Many weeds are annuals and just like the lovely bloomers you plant in your garden or pots they make merry for a short time. As your lawn is near dormant these fast growing weeds can leave you with dead spots come spring through cutting off sunlight that is already in short supply in winter. As the weeds will be obvious chances are they will be looking lush and green and be standing taller than your lawn, the manual removal with a weeding tool is actually an easy and effective option. If you decide to take a chemical approach, the first trick is to identify the weeds so you can decide on the best treatment. Just bear in mind that even quality selective herbicides appropriately applied can cause your lawn a lot of stress in winter so use herbicides as a last resort. While your lawn will not need mowing as often in winter, it still needs weeding and feeding!
If you did the right thing and fed your lawn in early autumn then it should be tolerating the cold conditions well right now. Whether you fed or not you can still help it, not by feeding your lawn, but your soil. Keeping soil micro-organisms nourished can improve your lawns resilience so apply a product such as a hose-on seaweed or organically fortified product.
Across the cooler months, it is best to mow with your catcher on, rather than mulch mowing. This is because the mulched material can be too slow to break down in the cold weather and can give rise to fungal problems. It is important to mow occasionally in winter. This is not just to trim the grass but also to pick up all the bits and pieces such as twigs and leaves that can be reducing the all-important sunlight.
You do not need proof of a green thumb, or some kind of external validation to be a gardener. Gardening is a lifelong learning process – you never know everything it’s so complex and detailed. However, if you love it, and care for your plants, if you are engaged, then you are a gardener. Gardening is really just about showing care. We all kill things, we all have disasters and successes. That is part of the process. Come and visit our club as Hornsby Council has given permission for the meetings to resume under strict COVID19 restrictions and the size of the gathering. The Galston District Garden Club usually meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Galston Community Centre, 37 Arcadia Rd, Galston, 7.00 pm. For more information, visit our website: www.galstongardenclub.com.au