- Camellias are a Sydney garden icon, and the best time to buy them is now while they are in flower. Choosing the right camellia is all about location. Sasanqua camellias generally do better in exposed locations than Japonica camellias. Ask your local garden centre expert which ones will do best at your place, and check out any new varieties while you are there.
- Those bulbs that have been sitting in the fridge can be planted out now into rich, friable, free-draining soil. Add a liquid fertiliser when you see the first signs of growth to get them off to a great start.
- Lillums are hardy, make great cut flowers and inject a burst of colour into the garden. There are new varieties available each season, so don’t be afraid to revisit them even if your garden is sporting some lillums already. Buy them now to plant immediately and remember they can get to about a metre high.
- This season, try mixing your winter vegies with annuals such as Viola and Calendula. Not only will this add some brilliant colour to your vegie patch, but it will attract pollinating insects and help ward off some pests at the same time.
- If you haven’t pre-ordered your bare-rooted trees and roses, don’t despair. There are plenty around at the moment. Prepare the garden bed before you take off to the garden centre so you can get your new addition settled in straight away.
- Check your mulch levels and top it up if necessary. Although NSW will expect rain over the winter, cold conditions can actually dry out the soil as badly as extreme heat.
- The end of winter can become pretty windy along the east coast, so protect your bare-rooted trees with some good strong stakes, two per tree. Use some old stockings to secure the tree to the stake (allowing for a little movement), as they are strong, durable, flexible and won’t damage the trunk.
- Late August is the time to prune roses for spring growth. Wait until the last frosts have disappeared and prune back standard roses to outward-facing buds to keep the middle of the bush open. Climbing roses can be pruned back to old wood to give the climber a tidier shape.
- Plan ahead; as your winter flowering bulbs finish, give them a light fertilise to help them store a little more energy for next year’s display.
- Clean up your pond or water feature to keep it in top shape and minimise algae growth. Remove fallen leaves from the water, as these can choke up the water feature – no good for the plants, fish or pump!
- Winter is all about lemons, mandarins and oranges. Mandarins are perfect as fresh, portable, on-the-go snacks and oranges make delicious, nourishing juice.
- For an immune-boosting winter warmer, add some lemon juice, a slice of fresh ginger and some honey to a cup and fill with hot water. Allow it to steep, then sit back and relax!