Jobs pick up as temperature drops
Rain, hail, thunder, snow – winter has certainly arrived. Which means it’s time to do all those winter jobs that keep things flowing smoothly in the garden – raking up fallen leaves, clearing drains and gutters, cleaning garden tools, including your lawn mower, and spraying fruit trees and roses to keep diseases at bay.
Rake up those leaves and either add them to your compost heap or place them in a black plastic bag to make leaf mould. Your compost heap could do with the extra carbon material during winter as decomposition slows down. Autumn leaves are a good source of carbon. While equal quantities of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials are typically required for compost heaps, carbon-rich materials give microbes the energy to continue decomposition during low temperatures.
You can also insulate your compost heap by surrounding it with hay bales. A layer of manure covering the pile can also generate some heat.
If making leaf mould, run over the leaves with the mower first to chop them up before filling a plastic bag. This helps to aid decomposition. Add a handful of garden soil and a little water too. Poke a few holes in the bag to let in air, then stash the bag out of sight until spring, when you will have a rich leaf mould for your garden.
If you need a bit of plant therapy, head to your local garden centre – new fruit trees and rose bushes are in store now.
Three new roses, available this month from garden centres are Golden Gate, Akaroa and Sky Chaser, all grown by Matthews Roses. If you’re looking for an award-winning climber, consider Golden Gate. This climbing rose has clusters of large scented golden yellow blooms on vigorous canes. It’s the winner of multiple awards in rose trials overseas for its healthy foliage, good form and spicy scent.
Akaroa is a floribunda rose with rich cherry cerise red blooms with white on the reverse side. Flowers cover the compact bushy plant and repeat well. This rose was named in France in honour of our French town, Akaroa. Height 80-90cm.
Sky Chaser is a floribunda rose with bronze-apricot, medium-sized flowers. Plants are strong and robust, with foliage to match. Bushes grow to a height of 1.2m.
If you’re looking for fruit trees, keep an eye out for the new plum, Lucy, from Waimea Nurseries. It’s a Fortune/Luisa cross with the meaty texture of Fortune and the superb flavour and heart shape of Luisa. It’s a mid to late season variety, growing 4m tall, though it can be trained into a fan shape for small gardens.
Another new offering from Waimea Nurseries is the plumcot Scarlet Sunrise. A plumcot is a cross between a plum and an apricot, so it possesses double the flavour. It’s an early ripening variety, with red-purple skin and yellow flesh. It’s a self-fertile variety so there’s no need to plant another one for pollination.
Though if you do nothing else this winter, why not check out the latest plant catalogues from online nurseries and order in for spring planting.
Compost: Rake up your autumn leaves as they are a good source of carbon.