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It’s surprising how much is going on in the winter garden. Flower buds might take their time to open, but the resulting blooms last for ages. Leaves finish falling from deciduous trees and begin to break down into natural compost. Winter bulbs begin to flower and for some flowers, winter's when they put on their best show.
Take special care with plants that come from warm areas. If in pots, they can be moved indoors or into a more sheltered spot – under the eaves or next to a wall would be good choices. In the garden, hammer three or four stakes around cold-sensitive plants. Then, when a really cold night is predicted, it'll be easy to throw a protective blanket or sheet of plastic over the stakes (but don’t forget to take it off in the morning!).
Wherever you have empty space in the vegie garden, take the opportunity to leave it empty over winter. The old term ‘to lie fallow’ meant that the field would be ploughed, manured then left unplanted until the next season. It’s a valuable practice so, if you can, clean out the remains of the last crop, dig in some compost and Yates Dynamic Lifter and leave the bed to rest for a few months.
Long-flowering summer shrubs that are best pruned in winter include fuchsias, crepe myrtles and roses.
Prune the hydrangea shoots that flowered last season. Prune tibouchinas that have finished flowering. This can be done in early winter in frost-free areas, but it’s best to wait until late winter in cooler parts.
Prune deciduous fruit trees and grapes that weren’t cut back after fruiting. Find more details on pruning fruit trees here.
Towards the end of winter give photinias, viburnums, murrayas and other hedging plants a trim.
Many garden pests take shelter during winter, so this is the perfect time to seek out their hiding places and try to get rid of them. Otherwise, if left alone, they’ll make it through winter and start building up their numbers again in spring.