A Guide to Growing Your Garden Every Season

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“As soon as the days start getting longer, the gardening year begins” Darin Bradbury of Mint Pool and Landscape Design says.

“Start considering where your preparations are at for the end of winter and start of spring,” he advises. “This is very important. How are you preparing for heat and water loss that will occur in summer?”

Bradbury, a multi-award-winner at the Melbourne Garden Show, stresses Melbourne has “crap soils…not very fertile…[with] poor structure”. Many local soils are hydrophobic, which means any moisture beads to the top and never soaks to root level, he says. “The first thing you should be doing is using a bio-mulch, which has a composting material in it,” he says. “Water is absolutely critical in Melbourne when it comes to our gardens.”

Home gardeners should dig their planting holes “twice as big as they think they will need”, he says.

“Put in some good fertiliser, wet it down well, and you really cannot go wrong,” Franklin says. “Whatever you do this season, it will always pay you back in summer.”

Seasonal tip: If planning a vegetable patch, prepare and plant in this period – before the heat of summer arrives, and after late-winter frosts.

Orrong Road by Franklin. Photo: Supplied.
Orrong Road by Franklin. Photo: Supplied.

OCTOBER – JANUARY \ The party season

In summer, savvy suburban gardeners should aim to put down their rakes by the week before Christmas, Franklin suggests.

If you have been diligently fertilising in spring, you should “have the lawn mower ready to go”, he advises.

“You will be busy in November and December getting it all done by Christmas as it is the pinnacle, when your garden is on social show,” he says.

Seasonal tip: Water features are fabulous in summer gardens, but choose a spot in diluted sunlight to minimise algae and evaporation.

Orrong Road by Franklin. Photo: Supplied.
Orrong Road by Franklin. Photo: Supplied.

FEBRUARY – MAY \ The seasonal clean-up

Home-owners must sow some serious hours into maintenance: pruning, mulching and clearing dead leaves and plants.

“Deciduous plants will lose leaves and so there is now a lot more sun coming into the garden and that is great for young plants,” he says. “It is a good time to get rid of all the garbage. The more leaves you get rid of in autumn, the less to get rid of in winter when it’s not so good outside.” Another task at this time is laying mesh to protect plants from the cold.

Seasonal tip: Grasses are at their prime so keep up the mowing and watering. “Lawns are exposed to the sun and tend to really take off and look amazing,” Bradbury says.

Essendon by Mint. Photo: Supplied.
Essendon by Mint. Photo: Supplied.

JUNE – AUGUST \ The season of rest

Geraniums are a sweet plant option if wanting garden colour in winter.

“They come in a wide variety of colours and are very hardy so will do OK in the winter, and coastal plants are also going to do OK,” he says.

Grasses tend to “do it tough” if irrigation and plumbing is sub-standard at this time of year.

“If water cannot drain away, the weeds will overgrow your lawn,” Franklin says.

Seasonal tip: If your family has youngsters, it is a good time to get them tending herb gardens.

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