Winter is on its way out. While you keep a watchful eye out for old Jack Frost, though, there’s no reason not to enjoy the glories of a winter garden. Delight in the two absolute queens of winter this month – camellias and magnolias. Winter blooming cultivars like ‘Australis’ (Camellia japonica) and ‘China Clay’ (Camellia x williamsii, a hybrid) are exquisite! Likewise, look out at this time for the gorgeous and heady blossoms of magnolia varieties like Campbell’s (Magnolia campbellii) and Chinese (Magnolia soulangeana).
Top to-dos for this month include:
Sowing for Spring
The time is ripe to sow seeds for those spring beauties – French marigold (Targetes patula), peony poppies (Papaver paeoniflorum) and garden nasturtium (Tropaeolus majus), as well as spring-flowering bulbs like hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) and tubers such as Chinese peony (Paeonia lactiflora). Be sure your seedbeds get lots of sunlight and warmth, and water regularly.
Feeding and Weeding
Nourishing your garden this season requires care and attention. Spring-flowering annuals and bulbs (also winter veggies) are actively growing, and so require regular feeds. But deciduous fruit trees like apples, plums, pears and peaches are dormant, and need only one careful application of fertilizer (ideally blood-and-bone meal) towards winter’s end.
Be careful to keep up with weeding, too, as otherwise, those annoying little fellas will get in amongst your precious plants. Nothing beats pulling them out by hand, but mind you check back a few days later and get the ones that’ll be sprouting from bits of root or bulbs you missed.
Feeding Tip: Use a low nitrogen fertilizer in winter to prevent diseases like grey mould.
Weeding Tip: Weeds thrive in disturbed soil, so use a daisy grubber to pull up dandelions and docks without mucking up the surrounding soil.
Of course, if you’re pressed for time, you can leave it all in the expert hands of your friendly Top Cut gardener!