Autumn gardens

Q.Paul
What should I be doing to my plants to get them ready to survive winter?

A.Plants generally do their own preparation for the pending Winter, for example, deciduous plants lose their leaves, and herbaceous perennials die back and retreat underground.
Tidy the garden, pruning off any unruly growth. Pull out spent flowering annuals and remains of harvested vegetables.
Mulch or re-mulch moist garden beds helps to keep the soil temperature warmer and prevents the soil from freezing.
Rake up fallen Autumn leaves and put them back onto garden beds or into the compost bin

Q.Drew
What plants should I be planting that will thrive in winter conditions and give my garden a bit of colour during the cold season?

A.Your garden doesn’t need to be dull in winter. There are an extensive choice of annuals, perennials and shrubs which bring your garden alive during this time. Plant annuals such as violas, pansies, and primula. From seedlings it will take 8-12 weeks to fully establish and provide welcome colour in your garden throughout Winter.

Some hardy permanent plants which flower during the Winter include helleborus, flowering japonica, euryops, cheiranthus, camellias, correa, proteas and ‘Winer Cheer’ kniphofias.
For perfume and flowers try growing daphne, sarcococca, pink luculia, mahonia and wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox).

Q.Helen
Are there any vegetables that I can plant now that will be ready to eat in winter?

A.Often the vegetable patch is left fellow (empty) in Winter. There are many vegetables that can be grown through the cooler months including: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, silverbeet, leeks, spinach, broad beans, and parsnips. For best results consult a vegetable guide for your local climate which will provide suggested varieties and planting times.

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