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After facing a long and dry summer, your backyard may be looking a little worse for wear. However, as the seasons change, so too will your garden. Autumn is the ideal time for Australians to step up their gardening game.

By: Bonnie Radcliffe, Feb 2020

Maintaining your garden is important for a variety of reasons. A well-kept garden can keep your home cooler, be a source of food and shelter for local wildlife and plays an important role in the water cycle. Not only is gardening great for your mental wellbeing, a healthy garden can also increase the value of your home by up to 25 per cent.

As temperatures begin to drop, the soil still remains warm. It’s this combination of cool air and warm soil that is perfect for planting and garden growth. Plants established during this season develop strong root systems before their growth begins to slow in winter.

So, if you’ve been planning to refresh your garden with some new plants, or replace those that are struggling, autumn is the perfect time to do so. Here’s how to prep your garden so that it can flourish:

Nurture the soil

  • As Summer slows, the end of the season is the ideal time to give your soil a little TLC. Focus on removing weeds which can overtake your garden and be harmful to the growth of other plants.

    Once you’re on top of weeding, mulch is your garden’s best friend. Mulching helps the soil preserve moisture so you don’t need to water it as often, and also prevents those weeds from coming back. In time, mulch adds nutrients to the soil resulting in a healthy garden.

    Soil preparation is an essential element to successful trans-seasonal gardening, particularly when sowing plants that will be their best in spring.

Get pruning

  • We all need regular haircuts to keep our hair growing healthily and strong and so too do our plants. Pruning a plant to remove damaged or diseased leaves will improve airflow through the plant and promote a fruitful season of growth.

    When it comes to pruning, the chief rule is to cut cleanly and avoid over-pruning. We also suggest using this time to remove plants that have failed to thrive in previous seasons, creating additional space for new planting.

hand-planting-beans-seed-vegetable-garden-growing-vegetables Sow in autumn for flourishing plants by spring

Sow and plant

  • Autumn is the perfect time to grow bulbs and new plants as they’ll have enough time to grow before they’re ready to bloom in spring. Bulbs are easy to grow and are a great way of adding a pop of colour to your garden.

    Popular and well-growing bulbs in Australia include iris, salvia, daffodils and tulips. Likewise, bottlebrush, rosemary and frangipani trees are popular drought-resistant plants and are perfect for the harsh Australian climate.

    If you’re feeling stuck for inspiration, Gardening Australia provides expert garden advice for every type of gardener, including how to maintain your garden during the drought.

Get smart about how you water

  • With most of Australia in a state of persistent drought and many areas impacted by water restrictions, the conservation of water is a priority for all.

    There are many ways gardeners can conserve water while also ensuring plants stay hydrated and healthy. Using greywater is a viable and simple method of watering your garden.

    Collecting excess shower water in a bucket is a safe source of irrigation water all-year-round, is easy to use and is an excellent way to preserve water.

The secret to a healthy garden is carefully preparing it in autumn. Showing your garden some TLC in autumn will result in flourishing plants by spring!

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of State Custodians.

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