James Hilyard is Ipswich City Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Department, City Maintenance manager.
James is a horticulturalist, arborist and holds a master’s degree in sustainability.
In this month’s column, James shares five things to do in your Ipswich garden in the middle of winter.
Winter is a great time to get out in the garden.
It’s not too hot, the grass probably doesn’t need mowing and the garden doesn’t need as much watering.
As the days are getting longer, now is the perfect time to get the gardening gloves on.
Being outside surrounded by a green landscape is also great for your health and wellbeing.
I have compiled a list of five things to do in the garden this July in Ipswich.
1. Plant something
Get a head start on the warmer spring months by planting now.
Winter is a good time to plant as it’s not too hot and plants have time to settle in before the growing season take off.
Now is a good time to plant vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, beans, broccoli, onions, sweet potato and potatoes. Herbs are do well generally in winter and you will get longer out of them before they go to seed.
Grevillias and Eremophilia (the emu bush), are native flowering shrubs currently available from council’s Queens Park Nursery, and are also a good choice for winter planting.
Another Ipswich favourite is the rose bush which will do well if planted now.
July is the time for spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils. Other flowers such as sunflowers can go in the ground now as well.
Now that frangipani are dormant, it is a good time to take some cuttings if you would like to strike some new plants. Leave the pieces in a dry place for the end to seal then plant them.
Most roses and hydrangeas can also be pruned unless they have not flowered or are a variety that are expected to flower in spring.
Prune back hedges and bushes that you would like to have thicker growth, lower down the trunk.
Avoid pruning any citrus until later in the season as well as hold off from applying any nitrogen rich fertiliser until any risk of frost has past.
If you apply it now there is a chance you will get new growth too early and a frost could burn it off.
Check the lawn for plants that can be dug by hand. Best to get to them now before they take off again in spring.
Clover or heavy infestations may require spraying.
4. Tidy up
Rake up any fallen leaves and dispose of in your green waste bin.
Pull out and dispose of any dead plants as they can spread disease or infections to other plants in your garden.
Give your gardening tools a good sharpen, clean them up with a good disinfectant and oil.
Apply mulch to your garden beds and around trees. For best results, get the right depth of mulch. Too little or too much are both undesirable. Try to aim for about 75mm to 100mm depth of mulch. I like to put on about 100mm and find that it quickly settles down to a depth of about 75mm. This is the ideal depth to save water and keep down weeds.
5. Take on a major project
While the growing is slow going, now is a good time to invest in any major gardening projects you have been putting off.
Put that garden bed in or build that retaining wall you need.
Reposition trees or garden beds or get stuck into the paving or concreting you have not been able to get to.
Ipswich City Council provides a free plant program each financial year to assist residents in developing a greener and more beautiful Ipswich. As an Ipswich resident you can collect your plants from the Queens Park Nursery.
The Queens Park Nursery is open Wednesday, Thursday from 7.30am to noon and again from 12.30pm to 3pm and also Saturday mornings 8am to noon.
Grevillea species currently available at Queens Park Nursery
Eremophila species currently available at Queens Park Nursery