Good time to sort out the garden

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Give the garden a lift for a winter project.

WINTER is the ideal time to reassess your garden. It’s looking bare, the leaves have fallen and there will be few flowers until the bulbs emerge in spring.

Cedric Bryant.

Yet this is the time to take a slow walk around the garden.

The might be, for instance, some areas looking neglected with shrubs that have struggled for years. Stop hoping, if they don’t  look good now they never will. So bite the bullet and take them out, even small trees that have struggled for years.

Once the clean out is complete, there will be open spaces begging for new plants.

Then there’s the struggling lawn that’s been battling weeds, lawn grubs and no rain. Muse about getting rid of it. Maybe borrow books from the library on landscaping for ideas.

I have illustrated the possibility of replacing the lawn with this mini mum-cost, Japanese-themed garden.

Replace the grass with small, 10mm, dark, glossy pebbles to give the idea of a stream. A stepping-stone path plus maybe the odd oriental stone lantern will complete the effect.

This photo was of a garden in the Bathurst Spring Spectacular (this year, the weekend of October 26-27). I highly recommend it.

Examine trees for life-threatening fungi.

A SUBJECT you will rarely see in garden articles discussion of tree fungi. Not all fungi are bad such as truffles. However, some fungi growing on outwardly appearing healthy trees, feed on the tree and break down healthy wood.

One of the most informative advice is from a University of Massachusetts website. Entitled “Wood decay on living trees” (at umass.edu/urban tree/factsheets/25wood decayfungi.html) it offers excellent advice on how to reduce the effect of fungi on living trees. Two key warnings on that site say: “Some fungi can attack and weaken the wood in living trees” and “decay fungi can create hazard trees with a great potential for harm”. If trees on your property have fungi growing on the trunk, I suggest you discuss this with a qualified tree arborist.

YATES has been at the forefront in promoting gardening for children and this year’s Life Education Growing Good Gardens Grants Program is now open.

 The 10, $1000 grants encourage young people to design and create their own gardens, promoting a healthy lifestyle and growing fresh fruit and veggies. Early learning centres, schools, youth and community groups are invited to submit a design for a “healthy garden” within their school grounds or community. Applications close on June17.

Jottings…

  • Move houseplants away from heaters, heater ducts and away from cold windows. Reduce watering and feeding.
  • When picking citrus always cut off with some stalk attached.
  • Dahlia tubers can be lifted now. If you know the names write on the tuber with a waterproof texta. Then store in sawdust in a cool dry spot. Polystyrene boxes are ideal for storage.
  • Prepare lawn mowers now for spring. New blades, flush out fuel tanks, touch up rusted parts and new spark plug.

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

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