It may be a bit chilly outside but your plants are still needing care and attention, so here are a few tips to maintaining your garden so it thrives into spring.
Care for your garden tools
Use the time in winter to care for your tools. Use linseed oil to nourish all your wooden-handled tools, which also reduces splinters. Clean and sharpen all your blades in winter too, including on the mower.
Last season's growth
In winter propagate new plants by making hardwood, or last season's growth, cuttings of shrubs such as roses, English box, lavender, fuchsias, hydrangeas, and abelia. Increase humidity in winter and protect these cuttings by putting them under a plastic cover.
Start your compost bin in winter and add layers of plant material and some animal manure to increase both the temperature and microbial activity in the bin.
Did you know you can modify the colour of your mop-headed hydrangeas with acidifying or blueing tonic in winter? You can also use garden lime for pink flowers, too. Repeat applications each month until the desired colour appears.
Check the health of your indoor plants in winter, and re-pot any that have become root bound. Wipe all dust of the leaves regularly and position away from both cold draughts and heat sources. Your indoor plants will also probably require less watering in winter.
In winter you can also lift and divide herbaceous perennials that have died down. Replant immediately or pot for later use. Transplant azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons, but take a wide root ball as they have surface roots. It's also a good time to plant new rose bushes into well-prepared soil.
Pruning and fertilising
Finally, don't fertilise or prune too heavily in the colder months as this only encourages new growth, which may increase plant stress and shock. Half-strength liquid seaweed can be used as a plant tonic however.
Visit your nearest Mitre 10 store or www.mitre10.com.au for more information and products that let you enjoy your garden in winter.