The days are at their shortest and finally there is winter chill in the air. Not much gardening gets done after work at the moment. It just gets dark too quickly. The weekend is now the time to get out amongst the plants. Up early and go for a morning walk because that’s when you see some great front gardens and start to learn what other people are growing in the neighbourhood.
One plant we are seeing more on in the garden is rosemary. It is one tough plant and there are lots of interesting varieties like Chefs Choice. It is semi-prostrate and usually stays under a metre. It also grows with a slight twist which is rather interesting. There are also Westringia which are native rosemary and our current favourite there is a variety called Deep Purple. These are not for cooking, but make great hedges or by itself as something that will fill in a big gap.
Now is a good time to move roses and deciduous trees if you now realise you have planted them in the wrong spot. Cut the soil with a spade in a circle around the plant. Dig underneath and try to keep the root ball undisturbed. Plant at ground level, or in a pot if you can’t plant straight away. Water with seaweed solution a few times over the next 3 months and your plants chances of survival are great.
Think about pruning deciduous fruit trees over the next couple of months. Spend a bit of time just looking at the plants structure before you cut. Cut any weak twiggy wood out and any branches growing inwards. You want that nice wine glass shape unless of course you are espaliering the tree along a fence in which you will need to tie down and control some of the branches.
Look out for bare-root fruit trees on sale now at the nursery. This month you get the biggest choice of fruit trees available, including plants with 2 and 3 different varieties grafted onto them. Amazing plants like these are always in short supply so you need to be early for one of those.
There are also rhubarb and asparagus crowns available now. These gnarly looking things are at least 2 years old and will get you off to a great start.
Look out for our huge range of hellebore from Post Office Plants. The flowers come in singles and doubles in an array of colours.
Now is a good time to add some lime to your vegetable garden. This helps when soil becomes acidic, which can occur when manures are used frequently and over a long period. Dolomite lime will help raise the ph with its calcium, but also contains magnesium, an important nutrient for healthy plant growth. Don’t fertilise at the same time.
We have just harvested some early snow peas and these have been good to eat raw as they are small and tender. Don’t let your veggies get too old – get stuck into them and follow up with some fresh plantings of lettuce, cabbage, pak choi, spring onions and red onions to keep you going before spring plantings. Water regularly and try to do it in the morning. Watering plants after work will only mean they are wet, as well as cold when they go into the night – not great for plant health.
Enjoy your winter garden.