Gardening / Getting a workout from weeds!

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Cats… a favourite in real life and statues since the time of the pharaohs.
Cats… a favourite in real life and statues since the time of the pharaohs.

I LIKE to think of gardening as a great form of exercise. In fact, there’s increasing evidence that those who garden live longer!

Gardens cannot be neglected because weeds will take over and plants will die from a lack of water and feeding. The trick is to keep on top of it.

Take weeding, for instance; it’s important to have a program of planned maintenance, not doing a bit in the front, then at the back, then back to the front. It’s best to tackle one bed at a time, dealing first with the weeds, followed by dead heading and then feeding plants.

Mulching at this time of the year is normally considered a no-no.

The conventional wisdom is that by not mulching now the winter sun is allowed to warm the soil. I believe it doesn’t matter when you mulch, so long as you actually do it.

With frosts due any day, mulch acts as a blanket to keep the soil warm. In addition, it reduces the effect of frost. Always remember to water the soil thoroughly before applying mulch, just after rain is ideal.

Provided mulch is applied at least 75mm thick, there will be no weed problem for the next six months. For years, I have recommended Canberra Sand and Gravel’s Organic Compost. The only complaint is that it smells for a couple of days, but I always like to think if it smells like manure it must be good.

A stone pig… for a little fun consider something from the seemingly limitless range of statues and sculptures.
A stone pig… for a little fun consider something from the seemingly limitless range of statues and sculptures.
TO have a little fun in the garden consider something from the seemingly limitless range of statues and sculptures.

A great project for children to build… this ant structure, made of stones, was spotted in Victoria. The “ants” have been seen in garden centres and and toy shops.
A great project for children to build… this ant structure, made of stones, was spotted in Victoria. The “ants” have been seen in garden centres and and toy shops.

One way to get children involved in the garden is by letting them choose some of the items or even help build them, such as a bug house.

Cats have been a favourite in real life and statues since the time of the pharaohs where they were found in the burial chambers in the Pyramids.

We had a large pond in Yass and the herons would arrive from Lake Burrinjuck for breakfast. I placed a grey, stone cat with blue eyes at the side of the pond and had no more fish-eating birds.

START thinking about fruit trees. Local garden centres are the best place for qualified advice, especially regarding pollination. Peaches, apricots and nectarines are self-pollinating, whereas other fruit trees require two of the same variety for cross pollination.

Jottings…

  • Now’s a good time to plant spring blossom trees such as Prunus mume, the flowering apricot that blossoms in June.
  • Plant tulip bulbs now.
  • It’s not too late to divide and transplant hellebores.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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