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A winter wonderland

Local horticulturist and author Sally-Anne Fowles, of Spirited Gardening, shares her top tips for creating a thriving garden.

As we dream by the fire and the daylight hours get shorter, we nourish ourselves by putting on warm woollies and tucking into big servings of soup. But what are some of the things that we can do to nourish our garden through these cold, frosty times?
Winter, surprisingly to some, is an incredibly important, busy and productive time.

So, here are a few tips to help you and your garden on the way:

Local horticulturist and author Sally-Anne Fowles, of Spirited Gardening.
  1. Care for your soil
    This is a wonderful time, especially when the rain is falling, to lace your soil with a seaweed-based product – a great health tonic and winter nourisher for your soil’s microbiome. The healthier your soil the healthier your plants, in-turn, helping your plants resist frost, pests and disease as well as conditioning the soil and encouraging root growth.
  2. Bare-rooted plantings
    In the depths of winter, roses, deciduous fruit and ornamental trees, asparagus and rhubarb are presented in their most naked form without any soil around their roots. This is the most economical of times to purchase these plants, so get in now, prepare holes for plantings and pop into your local nursery for advice.
  3. Native plantings
    Many native plants are at their peak of flowering in the depths of winter,
    including grevilleas, banksias and hakeas.
    You won’t be the only one that appreciates these garden additions. Creatures including nectar feeding birds will be grateful for a wintery food-source.
  4. Exotic plants for winter colour
    Here are just a few valuable delights to brighten your garden – chimonanthus (wintersweet); daphne odora; hellebores (winter rose); winter flowering iris and chaenomeles (flowering quince) and camellias.
  5. Time to prune
    July is a key time to be pruning your roses, deciduous ornamental and fruit trees. If you are new to pruning do a bit of research and lean on fellow experienced gardeners. Pruning techniques are certainly a skill worth learning.
  6. Sharpen your tools
    Prior to winter pruning, get your tools up to speed with a nice clean, sharp blade. This will not only help with clean cuts but also lessen strain on your hands and your cutting tools. Remember to oil the joints too.
  7. Happy house plants
    Ensure plants are not too close to heat sources and mist plants regularly in warm, dry rooms.
    While many think winter gardens have minimal visual offerings, refocus your view to observe the beautiful features of your garden that you may not notice when the springiest of flowers are shining. Observe the wholistic essence of your plants including the beautiful bark, the plants’ form and rich patterns and textures of leaves, which are often overlooked in the quest for a beautiful bloom.

So, after a busy day in your winter garden, this is my challenge to you … How often do you take the time to switch off (mobile phone to off) – to sit, to listen to the natural sounds around you, to immerse yourself, even in the simplest way, in the natural world, to allow any distractive thoughts to melt away? A really easy way to begin is to simply sit and focus in on the natural sights and sounds around you. Focusing on bird call is a great way to start for us Adelaide Hillians as we are blessed with so many different birds to connect with.

Until next time…


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