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Welcome to the Wonders of  Winter!

Winter has finally arrived and although many may want to hibernate by the warmth of the fire or heater, now is the perfect time to rug up and get out in the garden.

So don’t forget all those winter tasks!

Winter Tips

  • In the middle of winter it is easy for us to forget to water the garden beds under the eaves. Often these areas are hooked to the automatic reticulation system that is turned off in winter. These areas need hand watering at least once per week. If the soil has been allowed to dry out add a wetting agent such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner  which will make the water soak into the soil wetting the plants roots where it is needed. Plus it has the additional benefit of containing Seasol a natural complete garden health treatment.
  • Moss thrives in lawn areas where it’s very shady, compacted and there is a lack of drainage. It can be controlled by aerating and cultivating the soil. If lawn isn’t growing because it’s too shady try removing the lawn and planting shade loving ground covers.

 

 

  • Fertilise spring flowering bulbs as they are pushing up through the soil. PowerFeed for Flowers, Fruit and Citrus fertiliser will deliver all the nutrients a young bulb needs for flowering. Bulbs are fantastic waterwise plants and look stunning mass planted in pots or in a sunny position in the smallest of spaces.
  • If reverse cycle heating is the only form of heating in your house, place a saucer or container of water close to indoor plants. This form of heating tends to remove moisture from the air and indoor plants can suffer in winter. Move plants away from the direct air flow.
  • Early winter weeds have also germinated and controlling them early, while they are small and the sun is shining saves a job later on in the year. Small weeds only need a small amount of work to control them. For soft foliage weeds between paving, on pathways or near vegie gardens try pouring boiling water over the foliage, they will collapse in no time.

Dog Friendly Gardens

Creating a dog friendly garden isn’t difficult all it takes is a little thought and forward planning. About 35% of Australian households own at least one dog and although this number has reduced slightly in the last few years, we remain a nation of dog lovers. Most dog lovers have a garden and have struggled at times to have a great garden as well as a happy healthy pet. It’s possible to have both, a few simple design tips that can be implemented in both established and new gardens will ensure the whole family (including the dog) is content.

Caring for a new puppy can be a gardener’s worst nightmare. By the time the puppy has matured and is happy to laze under a cool tree, the backyard is often a shadow of its former glory. But don’t let this be a deterrent, the emotional and physical benefits of owning a dog far outweighs the negatives.  Take a look around the backyard and begin to create some pet friendly features, make it an enjoyable space for the whole family including the dog.

Top 5 Tips for a Dog Friendly Garden

  • When selecting varieties avoid soft brittle stems and chose those varieties of plants that are flexible. Do a test at the garden centre by checking the resilience of the foliage, gently checking how far it will bend down. If there is no resistance and it springs back easily, it passes the test. Many of the strappy leaf plants are perfect for those gardens that are home to active dogs.
  • Mass plant varieties close together and as they grow up will create a visual barrier that most dogs will walk around rather than jumping over. Carefully selected ground covers will also be avoided and if there is an area where the dog is out of bounds a slightly prickly variety is a further
  • Using river stones on garden beds up to 15cm in diameter as mulch is a deterrent to keeping them off garden beds. These stones, when laid tend to feel a little unstable, underfoot for dogs and in most cases will walk around rather than try to negotiate uneven terrain. The size of the stones will depend a little on the size of the dog.
  • Create a special area that the dog can oversee the backyard from. They love scoping their territory and if they can view the whole backyard from this vantage point, it reduces the need to go to every corner of the backyard.
  • Try the reticulation system under mulch. Dripper irrigation placed under mulch is not only water efficient, but will not be noticed by the dog. As the old adage goes – out of sight, out of mind.

 

Top 5 plants to avoid with dogs.

Many plants can cause a problem to dogs if they are eaten. It’s best to avoid the following varieties if you have a dog that chews on leaves and stems.

Oleander– All parts of this plant is toxic if ingested.

Azalea and Rhododendrons– All parts of these varieties are toxic.

Bulbs – Daffodil and Jonquil bulbs should be avoided if the dog digs continually and prone to eating what they find in the soil.

Alliums – This genus includes onions and garlic.

Avocado– All parts of the Avocado should be avoided including the bark and seeds.

Fragrant Climbers

Adding perfume to the garden is easy with fragrant climbers and if space is at a premium try growing in large containers over frames.

Jasmines would have to be one of the most popular and hardiest of all the perfumed climbers. Jasminum polyanthum or Pink Budded Jasmine is the fastest growing of all the Jasmine varieties and if there is one in flower within a bull’s roar of your garden you are sure to sniff it out. Dark green foliage contrasts brilliantly with the pink buds, which open to pure white flowers.

Jasminum sambac or Arabian Jasmine is a scrambly plant, probably a little untidy in habit, but can be forgiven because of the divine perfume that it produces when in flower. Can be grown successfully in a large pot and looks gorgeous when the foliage cascades over the sides.

The Chinese Star Jasmine has been extensively planted in gardens all over the country. This tidy neat creeper it is perfect for small space gardening and is massed with creamy white flowers in summer. Perfect for planting around the outdoor entertaining area, where we can enjoy the subtle perfume on a balmy summer night.