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Top tips for winter gardening

27 July, 2020

Winter is a great time for garden planning and design. Because our plants are currently in dormancy, they are living off stored energy reserves and protecting their foliage and roots from the effects of cold temperatures. Rather than trying to boost their growth with fertiliser, consider retrofitting your irrigation or improving your garden layout. My top Bay OK tips for winter will help!

Reduce lawn areas. We all enjoy lawn, but not the ongoing maintenance, fertiliser and watering it demands. If it’s not used for pets, children to play or exercise, consider if you really need it. The front verge is the perfect place to start. If you love the look of lawn, explore the variety of native groundcovers now available that give this look without the maintenance requirements.

Zone your garden. Group plants together that have similar water and fertiliser requirements. Planting in hydrozones (based on the high, moderate and low water requirements of your plants) means you can easily modify your irrigation system to suit.

Improve your soil. If you are gardening on sandy soil, you will know that it doesn’t retain moisture or nutrients very well. Fertilisers leach through the soil profile when it rains and end up in our waterways. Winter is a good time to tackle this problem by adding a soil improver or compost, and a clay product which will hold all that goodness in the soil.

Mulch! Keep up the mulch layer on top of your garden beds during winter to keep your plant roots and surrounding soil and microbes a bit warmer. You might even be able to coax a bit more growth out of them! The mulch will continue to decompose and add valuable organic matter to your soil, and this is all that it needs in winter. A coarse, chunky mulch is best, topped up to 5-10cm.

Choose natives. If you are creating a new garden bed or just replacing plants, it makes sense to choose natives. They are particularly suited to WA’s soil and climate, and thrive on less water and nutrients compared to exotic species. They also attract local wildlife into your garden and provide valuable habitat. Choose the right plant for the right spot and you will discover that local native plants are easier to grow and maintain. For a list of native plants visit the Bay OK resources on the GeoCatch website or visit your local nursery.

And remember, while storms may have wreaked havoc on our mature trees, most will recover in spring with new growth through the canopy. Just give them time and they will reward you with welcome shade in the summer months.

For more advice on Bay OK garden design, check out our series of short videos on Facebook, featuring celebrity garden designer Lisa Passmore. With creative titles such as ‘The Good Dirt’ and ‘Kick the Turf’, these videos are sure to be a hit with our local gardeners.

Bay OK is part of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program supported by the State Government to improve water quality, waterway health and management of Geographe waterways.

Lisa Massey has been the Bay OK Project Officer at GeoCatch for over seven years and is a passionate advocate for sustainable gardening.