Winter has landed in Victorians’ gardens.

The more you know, the better you’re going to be prepared for spring time!

Photo: Native garden in Brown Hill, designed, build and managed by MK Gardens

Winter is here, days are short and chilly winds have already begun, but this is not a time to get cozy in the security of your home and forget about the garden. There is plenty to do out there to set you up for spring.

Start by tidying up garden beds, lawns and shed. Remove any dead plants, branches and leaves laying around on your lawn. Thin layer of build up material on garden beds is fine ( it will turn into compost and add nutrients ) but anything thicker then 5 cm can lead up to problems like fungus diseases especially around tree trunks. Remember as well that not all the plants like to be wet in winter and a covering of leaves might cause them to rot. Then look at your gardening tools, maybe they need some repair, cleaning and just a bit of love. Winter is a time for the odd jobs you have been putting away, like sorting out pots and containers, strings and tags. Get organized, you will thank yourself later!

Winter is here but garden maintenance isn’t cancelled!

Regular weed control is a must in our cool and wet climate. Weeds are thriving during the wintertime, so stay on top of them. How? Quite easy: use sheets of paper or cardboard underneath the mulch, this will suppress all new germination and stubborn weeds will rot. Add more mulch if needed. Regularly do rounds with a small fork in hand around the garden and disturb emerging weed seedlings, you don’t have to pick them up, just leave them where they are. Your last resort is a weed killer, use it carefully and try to choose a selective herbicide or a more natural one. There are plenty of resources out there.

Cool months are the time to cut back and prune lots of your trees and shrubs: all deciduous fruiting trees and shrubs, roses, ornamental grasses and herbaceous perennials. Few rules when pruning trees: start by pruning dead and intersecting branches. The basic rule is that you want to open up your plant to allowed air and sun penetration. Cut above new nod. If you are still not sure on how and which plants need to be cut back, ask your local horticulturist or do some research on particular species.

It is time to plant some bare-rooted and native plants!

This is as well a time to plant your bare-rooted fruiting and ornamental trees and shrubs. The soil is soft and deciduous plants are now dormant so this is a great time to put them in, if this still doesn’t convince you, maybe this will: bare-rooted are much cheaper than the same potted plants and variety selection is excellent.

We can’t forget about our Australian native plants, some of them look their best during winter, giving us stunning flowers and lush foliage. There are many new fantastic-looking varieties which are designed for smaller gardens. Try some eucalyptus: ‘Baby Blue’, Synandra or ‘Silver Princess’ you won’t be disappointed! There is plenty of great Grevilleas like ‘Superb’ and ‘Anzac’, or low-growing ‘Winter Delight’.

Winter is a great time for planning and designing!

Lastly during long winter evenings get your planning done, maybe there is a patch of your garden that can look better or you dream of a fireplace or an entertainment area for the whole family? Rug up on the couch with a warming drink in your hand and an inspiring, garden design book or better get in touch with a local landscape architect and get ready for spring.

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