Winter has arrived and it sure feels good to be out and about in the garden, getting on top of all the jobs before the growing season takes off again in a few months! There is nothing quite like glorious sunshine, sparkling clear blue skies and fresh crisp air on a cold winters day. The light in the afternoon is just superb as it catches the last of the autumn colour.
ANNUALS: There’s still just enough time to think about spring colour – annuals like Violas, Pansies and Poppies, Lobelia, Snapdragons, Stocks, and Dianthus are a great way to herald in a new season.
BULBS: Spring flowering bulbs like Lillies are good for damp, shady areas. If you want a really good cut flower, try planting some Gladioli corms in well drained soil. You will need to keep your eye on the flowers when they start to emerge – those nasty thrips give Gladioli flowers a very hard time.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES: If you have a big backyard it’s a great time to plant fruit trees like Apples, Peaches, Plums and Figs. Get those Strawberries in now and feed them up with cow manure. Spring vegetables like Broad Beans, Broccoli, Leaks, Cabbages, Cauliflower and Silverbeet can all go in now. It’s the right time to prune those Grapevines, Virginia Creeper and even Kiwi fruit could do with a trim.
LAWNS: Maybe its time to send that hard to start mower off to the service centre. Get it ready for action with the coming growing season.
ROSES: Inspect Roses for white scale, it’s easy to see at this time of year. Spray with white oil, you may need to do this more than once to achieve total eradication. It’s time to prune roses if you live on the coast. You should wait if you live in an area that has frost.
TREES AND SHRUBS: If you have Camellias it’s a good idea to thin out those multiple buds, remove the excess and leave just one bud per lead, that way you will get large perfect flowers.
MISCELLANEOUS: Add shine and condition to your hair plus enhance its natural colour with a herbal rinse. Soak chopped flowers and leaves in boiling water (rosemary for dark hair, chamomile for fair or red hair) and when cool, use it as a final rinse.
When brushing marinade onto barbequing meat, use a herb twig (say Rosemary, or Thyme) instead of a brush for added flavour. Sage leaves threaded on your barbeque skewers will impart a subtle flavour to the meat or vegetables. Lavender vinegar can be made by infusing whole lavender stalks with flowers in white vinegar for several weeks.
Fresh lavender sprigs crushed under your nose will help relieve a headache.
Lemongrass tea has a beneficial effect on the complexion and is good for the kidneys also.
Lemongrass stems (sliced), Parsley and Garlic can be used to flavour fish.
Have you a problem sleeping? Stuff a small pillow with equal quantities of Linseed and Lavender flowers and zzzzz!
Parsley tea made from leaves or roots assists kidneys, digestion and circulation. The leaves are rich in iron and vitamins.
Rosemary can be used with baked potatoes brush pan with olive oil and bake potatoes with Garlic cloves, sea salt and Rosemary.