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Canberra Today 7°/9° | Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

There’s plenty to see in a winter garden

Geraniums can do well in winter if they are in a protected spot. Photo: Jackie Warburton


There may be fewer flowers in the garden this time of year, but there’s still plenty to see, says gardening writer JACKIE WARBURTON.

MANY large shrubs, such as garryas and stachyurus, are coming into show in winter and both are a must-have for a large garden.

Jackie Warburton.

Geraniums can also do well in our winters if they are in a protected spot.

The pictured geranium is tucked under the eaves to the entrance of the house and watered once a week. It flowers all year round and is a good example of a spot for a good plant. 

Frost damage will be noticeable on some plants but, for now, leave this burnt material until all frosts have passed and do a big garden clean up in early spring. 

Frost and cold air flows to the lowest point in the garden and can cause frost pockets that don’t move until morning. Frosts will be more severe where there are open areas with no trees on nights with clear skies and little cloud. 

When designing the garden, think of Canberra winters and where the cold air flows. That will help with the plan and planting choices for a seasonal garden. 

All winter pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs such as crepe myrtles, smoke bush and deciduous hibiscus should be done now. Any spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythias, mock orange or viburnums should not be pruned until after flowering. 

Gang gang cockatoos… delightful to have in the garden. Photo: Jackie Warburton

GANG gang cockatoos are around looking for food and are delightful to have in the garden. Over the past few years there have been increasing numbers in our urban gardens and it is wonderful to see a flock of at least 20 of them, all in pairs, in Kambah. 

To encourage gang gangs, plant native trees such as melia azedarach, sheoaks (casuarinas) and wattles. 

KEEP watering citrus trees and spray with a horticultural oil on the bark and leaves for eggs of the bronze orange bug. 

They are a pest, prolific in summer, that can damage the fruit and leaves. Spraying now will go a long way to combating the problem as they start to hatch late winter. Remove any damaged fruit from the tree and try not to do any citrus pruning in the cold months. Wait until spring. 

DECIDUOUS trees, shrubs and vines can be planted from now and next month. 

Deciding where the new plant will go and preparing for it is helpful  before bringing a plant home. 

Dig the hole twice the size of the pot and plant the plant to the same soil level as the potted plant was. Most importantly, water in with seaweed solution. 

Some trees and vines can be bought bare rooted and are cheaper without potting mix, but need to be planted as soon as they arrive home. If buying a potted-up, deciduous fruit tree, check if it’s been potted-up recently by the nursery. If so, it will need more time in the pot to establish itself again before replanting. 

ASPARAGUS crowns will be available to buy this month and can be a long-lived perennial in the garden. Crowns can take three to four years to develop to maturity. They don’t like root disturbance, so choose a permanent spot where they won’t need to be moved. 

Asparagus likes a pH of 6.5-7 and a sprinkle of dolomite lime a few weeks before planting will sweeten the soil. 

There are male and female plants. The male makes better eating and the females produce berries in the autumn. These berries can be picked and sown, but will take a few years to mature.

Soak the crowns overnight in a weak solution of seaweed solution and then plant the asparagus crown on a mound about 40 centimetres apart at the bottom of a trench. Water in and wait to see spears in early spring. Keep mulched and weed free. The first eating spears should take at least three years.

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Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Jackie Warburton

Jackie Warburton

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