Many gardeners throughout the Hilltops region have probably been feeling a bit frustrated with gardening over the last two months.
Whilst it is always wonderful to receive the rain, it does feel like there hasn’t been a break in the weather to get out and do many of the winter garden tasks that proficient gardeners like to do to prepare their garden for the upcoming warmer weather. We have decided to do a focus on gardening this issue, to hopefully inspire and motivate gardeners that spring is only around the corner.
Today we have interviewed our regular garden columnist Glenice Buck from Glenice Buck Designs about what she sees as being some productive wet weather garden tasks, what her hit list for winter garden tasks are and what services her business can provide you at this time. We are excited to announce that we will be interviewing Glenice further in upcoming issues and with the fast approaching spring season she will be writing more regular garden columns for the Hilltops Phoenix. Glenice will be keeping us up to date with the seasonal garden tasks and information we need for our gardens.
Glenice has worked in the horticulture industry for over twenty years working in all areas of the industry. Glenice has owned Glenice Buck Designs for the past 15 years where she has focused on providing horticultural advice, garden design and tree consulting services.
Glenice, it’s been hard to get outside much without getting soaked whilst gardening. Do you have some advice on garden tasks you can do without having to battle the weather?
Yes, there is always a lot you can do in wet weather. Some ideas I suggest would be:
- Pull all your garden tools together, give them a clean with warm soapy water (biodegradable detergent is best)
- Check your garden tools are sharp and oil your secateurs
- Organise how you store your tools - small hand tools could be stored in a bucket of clean sand. Larger cutting tools could be hung on a rack. Rakes, spades and shovels can be grouped in large garbage bins with bricks in the bottom for stabilisation.
- Check if you are going to need any bagged products such as premium garden mix, potting mixture and fertiliser for upcoming plantings etc - if you have a dry spot to store these products you could purchase them now so they are ready to go for when the sun is shining.
- In between showers, check the drainage in your garden beds and across paving areas. Check is the water getting away easily? Do you have pools of water sitting in spots?
- Try not to let your swimming pools overflow into garden areas. Let water out via overflow/waste water pipes before it gets to this stage. Constant chlorinated or salt water spilling into beds will have an adverse affect on your soils and plants.
- Think about what plants you will be needing for upcoming plantings - visit your local garden centres for some inspiration or look online at some plant mail order companies.
- Now is the time to source your summer flowering bulbs such as Dahlias, Gladioli and Lilies.
- Check what your veggie garden is doing - start planning what seeds you may need for your warm season veggie crops. Check what seeds you may already have. Work out a plan of what needs to be sown and when. Do they need to be planted out in trays first or can you direct sow them?
- In between showers, take the time to check your plants for any pests and diseases. Fungal diseases can be more prevalent in wet conditions. Look out for snails and slugs.
- If the showers are light and there is no forecast for hail or freezing temperatures, move your indoor plants outside to give them a lovely wash down.
- Take all your outdoor potted plants out of their saucers of water so they don’t get totally waterlogged.
- Be careful of walking too much on waterlogged soils as you will cause more damage via soil compaction whilst the soil is boggy.
There is still a lot to be done! When the sun does come out what garden tasks would you be recommending to gardeners to do now in mid-winter?
Yes, there is still a lot to be done. Now is the time to take full advantage of the reduced or slowing down of growth in the garden. Putting time aside to tackle the weeds, complete all your winter pruning and spreading mulch are my top tasks that I see as being important so that you will be in the best position for spring. Here is a more comprehensive list of garden tasks for mid-winter:
- Weed all garden areas, once weeded apply an organic fertiliser and then spread a thick layer of mulch over beds.
- Treat your lawn areas with a broad leaf spray to remove the broadleaf weeds before spring – this may need to be reapplied a number of times.
- Fertilise your lawns with a high nitrogen content fertiliser. This should have a recommended N:P:K ratio of 4:1:2.
- Complete the pruning of your roses.
- Cutting back and/or dividing of your perennial plants. Now is a really good time to look at your herbaceous perennial plants. Are there any gaps in the bed? Can you divide them to fill in gaps? Is there anything not pulling its weight in show and growth?
- Complete pruning on your deciduous trees (as long as they are not the early spring flowering ones).
- Plant out new garden areas – now is the time I would always recommend to do any new plantings.
- Check irrigation systems, make sure all systems are working, fix broken drippers, pop ups and joiners. Change batteries of controllers if necessary. Ensure the systems are ready to go for when the hot weather will hit.
What is the biggest mistake gardeners make at this time of year?
I would definitely say it is forgetting about the garden at this time of year. Unless your garden is covered in snow, it is the best time to be quite strategic in your garden management. In most areas of Australia, the garden conditions are ideal at this time to tackle all garden tasks and set the garden up for the warmer months.
There will be a slow down with lawn growth so all your time won’t have to be spent mowing, you can really do some editing and fine tuning in the garden. Winter is when a nice garden can really be set up to become an amazing garden.
Many of these tasks will never get completed in the summer months as you will always be busy trying to keep on top of the lawn growth and weed growth. Completing the preparation in the cooler seasons will set you up for a more organised and manageable spring and summer.
If gardeners are feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the jobs to be completed, are you available to complete these services?
Yes, we can provide seasonal garden management plans, weeding, pruning, fertilising, mulching, garden plantings, new garden installations, irrigation checks and lawn care. All our garden care services will provide the client with a seasonal garden management plan where we can be involved with as much or as little as you like. At this time we are very busy, but definitely if clients need help, reach out and we will do our best to service their gardens. We can do our garden visits either weekly, fortnightly, monthly, seasonally or even just a one off garden blitz visit. We can also supply quality plants and do the installation of them.
How does the garden management service work?
The client will contact us for a quote either via phone, email or social media. We then send through our list of rates and services. If they are happy with the outline of these policies we will do a free site visit to see what needs to be completed and so the client can meet us both. We will provide an obligation free quote for the garden management services, after this site visit.
I know now is a great time to be planting out new garden areas or adding to existing gardens. Can you source plants for clients projects?
Yes, we have contacts with growers both locally and from all over Australia. We can source plants in all sizes and have them delivered to your garden for you to plant or we can provide a quote to prepare the garden beds and do all the plantings as required.
If you need help in your garden, give Glenice Buck Designs a call to discuss.
Glenice - 0417 077 386
Phil - 0416 192 091
Website – https://glenicebuckdesigns.com.au/
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