Bring the birds into the garden
+ Don’t forget about the bees. Although they hibernate in colder areas, bees will often forage for food in winter. Many bee-attracting flowering annuals such as alyssum, lobelia and calendula will flower during winter if they’re grown in sheltered spots.
+ Winter is here and usually brings plenty of wind, rain and frost, depending on where you live in New Zealand. Wind can shred soft foliage, dry out the soil and tip over newly planted trees and shrubs. The long-term way to guard against wind is to grow groups of trees to create shelter belts, but for short-term protection, build a shelter of wind cloth, driftwood, recycled timber or whatever you can grab that will help to reduce the impact of fierce winter gales. Always stake newly planted trees and shrubs for their first season or two, especially if they’re planted in an exposed spot.
+ In frosty areas, cover frost-tender plants such as citrus, palms and hibiscus with frost cloth or even a blanket when temperatures are forecast to drop. Mulch frost-tender shrubs and perennials with straw or compost, making sure you don’t pile it up too high around woody stems, otherwise they’re likely to rot. Move potted frangipani, gardenia and other tender plants to a sheltered spot.
+ If you have a sunny area in the garden that you don’t know what to do with, consider planting wildflowers. Even a small bed can look delightful and will attract lots of lovely bees and butterflies. In warmer areas, sow seed now for spring wildflowers, but in frosty places, wait until spring to sow. Seed is available online from kingsseeds.co.nz and gardenpost.co.nz.
+ Aerate wet spots in boggy lawns with a garden fork and fill with sand. Reduce watering and mowing during winter as well.