The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - With editor Robyn Wil­lis robyn.wil­[email protected]

The benefits of win­ter gar­den­ing

I love this time of year in my gar­den.

I know for most peo­ple spring is where the ac­tion is as ev­ery­thing starts grow­ing and flow­er­ing at once.

In fact, I live in a part of Syd­ney where there’s an an­nual gar­den competition in spring. Which is a bit of a blow be­cause if it was held now, I reckon I’d be in with a chance.

Through no fault — or ef­fort — on our part, we are the cus­to­di­ans of a pair of in­cred­i­bly hardy and beau­ti­ful poin­set­tias that have been grow­ing in our front gar­den for decades. Their colour is so iri­des­cent and flow­ers so plen­ti­ful that when some­one new vis­its me at this time I just tell them to look out for the deep crim­son flow­ers in the front gar­den.

To off­set all that red, I planted a pair of plumbago shrubs a cou­ple of years ago that are re­ally start­ing to come into their own now. Although their strong­est flow­er­ing sea­son is in Fe­bru­ary and March, there’s still enough of their pale blue flow­ers to pro­vide con­trast.

The flow­er­ing bulbs in my lawn have also started to kick off, mak­ing the front yard quite a wel­com­ing sight on a cold win­ter’s day.

Keen gar­den­ers might have no­ticed that all the plants I’ve men­tioned come with a spe­cial bonus — they’re vir­tu­ally no main­te­nance. The plumbago is prob­a­bly the most work out of the three be­cause when it’s grow­ing it can re­ally take off. But it loves poor soil and di­rect sun so it re­quires lit­tle in the way of feeding or wa­ter­ing. At the mo­ment, I can en­joy the jon­quils and daf­fodils while they last, although they need to prop­erly die off over spring. Es­sen­tially, I’m a lazy gar­dener. Per­haps that’s why gar­den com­pe­ti­tions are held in spring when the grow­ing sea­son kicks off — there’s more ef­fort in­volved to get ev­ery­thing into shape. No prizes for me then.

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