Seize the season – 10 jobs for your garden

IT IS hard to believe we are nearly halfway through winter already.

Before you know it, you will be bundling up the warm blankets and packing away the slippers for another year.

Before we get ahead of ourselves there is still plenty to do in the garden this month to keep your place neat, tidy and looking its beautiful best.

Why not make a start with these 10 tips?

1. Have you got a pile of rubbish or unused material that keeps growing or looks unsightly? Bite the bullet and send it packing for good. You'll wish you had done it sooner!

2. Pull out, smother or poison woody weeds in your lawn and around garden beds before they bolt at the first sign of warmer weather. Keeping on top of weeds now will make your life easier in the long run.

3. Spread bags of organic fertiliser around, such as compost and aged animal manure, to nourish the soil so it's full of goodness to support spring growth. Follow this with a warm blanket of mulch.

4. Top up mulch in all your garden beds to help control weeds, protect the soil and conserve moisture later on. There are many different types of mulch to choose from to suit your budget, site and preference. Lucerne hay, sugar cane and bark are all good choices. If you don't have a trailer or ute don't dismay - most local garden suppliers will deliver for a reasonable fee.

5. It's time to cut down clumps of tree dahlias. As the foliage dies off, prune the canes to ground level and share them with friends. Cut some of the canes into 30-50cms lengths, including two horizontal nodes, then bury them horizontally, like a dog bone. Each node will shoot, giving you new plants.

6. Give your herbs some tender loving care. Now is a good time to trim your marjoram and thyme, and divide the chives.

7. Continue planting winter-flowering annuals such as viola, pansy and polyanthus for plenty of colour. You could also plant hippeastrum bulbs or add a winter-flowering grevillea if you like natives.

8. Deciduous trees have lost their leaves by now so do a check of your gutters to remove any build up of leaf litter before the next downpour. Instead of putting the leaves in the bin, add them to your compost bin to use on your garden later.

9. Prune repeat-flowering roses by removing stems that cross or grow inwards. Cut off dead, diseased or broken wood and trim healthy stems back by two-thirds. For established climbing roses, remove a third of the stems, choosing the oldest ones first. Cut back the remaining canes by a third and tie down horizontally. Feed after pruning to promote spring displays.

10. When all that is done, brew yourself a nice cup of tea and find a warm, comfy corner to put your feet up and enjoy the rewards of your hard work. You deserve it!

These tips are brought to you by the Garden Maintenance Team from ASSERT Services, a local not-for-profit organisation that provides housing, home care and disability support services in the Toowoomba region.

Ask them about their special Winter yard service by phoning 4632 3233.

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