The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - GARDENING -

Land­scape ar­chi­tect So­phie Greive of Think Out­side Gar­dens says if you’re af­ter a show­stop­ping gar­den to host fam­ily at Christ­mas and want to call in the pro­fes­sion­als, then there’s no time to lose.

“If you are con­sid­er­ing get­ting a land­scape ar­chi­tect or de­signer in to re­design your gar­den, al­low a cou­ple of months (to get the job done) de­pend­ing on the scale of the project. Larger-scale works re­quir­ing coun­cil or cer­ti­fier ap­proval will re­quire even more time,” So­phie says.

If your gar­den is al­ready the way you want it, start plan­ning main­te­nance jobs such as oil­ing the deck and clean­ing out­door fur­ni­ture into your cal­en­dar lead­ing up to De­cem­ber.

If you’re handy with a gar­den spade, So­phie says you should get your hands dirty now if you’re hop­ing for a colour­ful Christ­mas out­doors.

“Spring-flow­er­ing an­nu­als could in­clude gera­ni­ums, marigolds or petu­nias; check what’s flow­er­ing at your nurs­ery,” says So­phie.

“Spring is a great time to plant fruit trees, all types of cit­rus and flow­er­ing or fruit­ing vines such as star jas­mine which will flower in Novem­ber, as well as pas­sion­fruit.”

And for a bumper crop of veg­eta­bles for the Christ­mas ta­ble, now is the time to con­sider plant­ing toma­toes, car­rots, let­tuce and herbs such as basil, pars­ley and thyme. But first, So­phie says, you need to pre­pare the soil.

“Veg­eta­bles like a loose, free-drain­ing soil high in or­ganic mat­ter so the roots can spread eas­ily,” So­phie says.

“Con­sider test­ing the pH of the soil — veg­eta­bles pre­fer a pH of six to seven.

“You can lower or raise the pH by ad­ding alu­minium sul­fate or lime.” For a lush lawn, get started now. “Spring is a great time to lay turf or start es­tab­lish­ing a lawn as tem­per­a­tures are mild and the grass will be ac­tively grow­ing and can es­tab­lish a deep root sys­tem. Reg­u­lar mow­ing and wa­ter­ing will have it look­ing lush by De­cem­ber,” So­phie says.

How­ever, con­sid­er­ing the dry state of NSW, So­phie says keep­ing the gar­den green could be chal­leng­ing this sum­mer and she ad­vises home­own­ers to check any wa­ter re­stric­tions with their lo­cal coun­cil.

Gar­den beds can be kept in top con­di­tion by ad­ding com­post, ma­nure and slow-re­lease fer­tiliser in spring to en­cour­age plant growth.

“Top up mulch to help main­tain moist soil and pre­vent evap­o­ra­tion,” she says.

Start now to make sure your deck, lawn and gar­den is in top con­di­tion in time for Christ­mas, says So­phie from Think Out­side Gar­dens.

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