Some gardeners use cold weather as the perfect excuse to take a well-earned break from their garden, however, horticulturist, garden writer, TV presenter, Melissa King, says there is little downtime for gardeners in winter despite it being a slow growth season. As the temperature drops, it’s time to prepare the garden for the onset of more stressful conditions to come.
Winter can be hard going for plants, where heavy rain can saturate the soil and cause root rot, and prolonged periods of early morning frost can damage delicate leaves yet it’s important to maintain gardens over winter so you’re not faced with a jungle in spring, when nature jumps back to life. “The onset of the cooler weather means that plant growth slows dramatically and has to tolerate not just the cold conditions, but also reduced daylight hours and often increased overshadowing. During this time, lawns and gardens use up their stored energy reserves, making them more susceptible to diseases and weed invasion,” says Melissa.
Here Melissa shares her top tips and favourite garden tools to maintain the garden in winter and give it the best possible start to spring.
1. Winter is the perfect time to get stuck into pruning to promote healthy plant growth and an abundance of blooms next season. As a general rule don’t cut more than a third off a plant, and cut off roughly half of the growth in a neat rounded shape. You might like to prune to an outward facing bud, so the branches grow in a vase like shape.
Cyclone’s Heavy Duty Bypass Pruner (RRP $24.98) is ideal for pruning live and green wood. Featuring soft grip over-mould handles which provides extra comfort and control when pruning. For those difficult branches that require extra reach and cutting power, Cyclone’s Bypass Ratchet Lopper with Telescopic Handles (RRP $69.98) offers a specialist ratchet-cutting mechanism to help reduce fatigue.
If you live in a frosty area, it’s often a good idea to wait until the risk of frost is over before pruning, so new shoots don’t get damaged – particularly for roses.
2. Old, spindly or dead wood also needs to be cut away. For heavy duty logs and branches that can go on the winter woodpile ready for the fire pit or indoor wood heater, Cyclone’s Supersplitter axe (RRP $69.98) is ideally weighted and the perfect tool for splitting timber.
3. We appreciate fragrant blooms in our gardens all the more in winter, so why not indulge your sense and plant perfumed beauties like Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), with exquisitely scented starry flowers near the garden gate or grow a hedge of Sweet Osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans) whose flowers have an intoxicating scent, along a path or walkway. Winter is the perfect time to give your garden a colour makeover, so why not liven outdoor rooms with exuberant bedding plants like Pansies, Violas, Cinerarias or Polyanthus.
4. If your garden is very green then chances are you’ll spend a lot time raking up leaves. “It’s important to remove fallen leaves from the lawn as soon as possible as leaves can become wet from rain and morning dew, stick together, and form a thick layer that will suffocate the grass and breed fungal diseases. These leaves can also be composted,” says Melissa.
Cyclone’s Super Rake (RRP $22.95) is multi-purpose and suitable for raking leaves, sand and lawn clippings on grass, broad paths, gravel and paved areas as well as the doubling as a scraper for levelling sand or topsoil.
Investing in the garden and lawn can add more than just value to your home. Gardening is good for the mind and staying active can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Spending a few hours to spruce up the garden will create an outdoor space that is both bursting with life and a sanctuary for relaxation.
The Cyclone garden range comes with a lifetime warranty and is available nationwide at Bunnings Warehouse Stores and all good garden and hardware retailers.
Featured Image: Cyclone Super Rake. Image courtesy of Cyclone