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Canberra Today 4°/10° | Monday, October 25, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Gardening / Time to plan for winter blooms

I had to share this photo of a Buxus sempervirens or box hedge plant in an English garden… to think we consider it a dwarf plant.
AUTUMN, glorious autumn, the perfect time in Canberra! Despite being the first week of February, it’s planning time for autumn planting time for annuals for winter colour such as pansies, violas and primulas, to perennials, trees, shrubs and, especially, bulbs (Floriade starts planting bulbs in March).

Cedric Bryant.
When buying bulbs, it’s wise to get them from a local garden centre.

While it’s tempting to order bulbs, or for that matter any plants, online from colourful catalogues, the purchaser has no control with the quality of the bulbs/plants and they can’t be sent back.

Whereas local garden centres have had their bulb orders in for months sourcing the best quality, which can be viewed and felt before buying.

Most bulbs like full sun, so don’t plant them under evergreen trees or shrubs. Deciduous trees are fine as they have no leaves when the bulbs are flowering in spring.

WHILE displays of autumn leaf colour is glorious in Canberra, nearby Tumut stole a march on us years ago with its Festival of the Falling Leaf. This year it will be in Bila Park on Saturday, April 28 with the theme “Tumut, Then and Now”.

This is always a great family, gala day with an amazing street parade, a full program of events, finishing with fireworks at night.

FEBRUARY is an ideal time to prepare the soil for autumn planting, digging in composted leaves and any other organic material. If the area has had no plants for a while, or worse still, if it is a garden around a new home and the ground is compacted, Multicrop’s liquid Groundbreaker is infinitely better than gypsum as it soaks deep into the ground. I use this product for all my planting in new ground. Available from most garden and DIY centres.


  • Time to cut hellebores back to ground level to encourage new leaves and flower production for winter.
  • Prune back long and leggy rose bushes to encourage a last flush of flowers later this month and early March.
  • Keep tying up dahlias as they shoot skywards and come into flower.
  • Remove old flowers from petunias and give a light trim to encourage the last flush of new blooms.

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Cedric Bryant

Cedric Bryant

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