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It’s surprising how much is happening in the winter garden. Flower buds take some time to open, but the resulting blooms last a long time. Leaves finish falling from deciduous trees and break down into natural compost. Winter bulbs start to flower and many natives are putting 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 will 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!).
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. Trim natives as they finish flowering. Prune all the long-blooming roses and spray with Yates Lime Sulfur Concentrate to clean up pests and diseases. Towards the end of winter give photinias, viburnums, murrayas and other hedging plants a trim.
Winter pest control
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.
Winter in the edible garden