Farewell to summer

16 Mar


If that was summer, well, I’d like my money back! We just spent the weekend down the coast, and while we did get out to the beach and have some surf and sandcastle fun, at night we were all gathered around the open fire, and autumn’s only just started.

Just when we were grateful that the drought was over, we’re kind of wishing it would come back. After the wettest and coolest summer Sydney has had for a very long time, you probably haven’t taken much time to enjoy what the great outdoors has to offer or to make the most of your own garden space. I think it’s time to cut our losses, look forward to next spring and summer and make like a boy scout and “be prepared”. If you’re like us, you haven’t had either the opportunity or inclination to spend too much time in a very muddy garden, and when you have ventured out there, the weeds are starting to reach triffid proportions, and they are just a bit too scary to attack. It’s time to take back control!

Here are my top 5 farewell to summer garden jobs to get you going.

1. Chop it up
Plants love a good haircut. Your trees, shrubs and even some of your perennials will love having a bit of a prune, re-shape and also spreading out. Autumn is the perfect time to give your deciduous trees a prune before they head into their skeletal winter dormant phase. Effective pruning not only improves the appearance of the tree, but it also promotes growth next spring. Shrubs also appreciate a trim, and it’s a great opportunity to have a good look at what is and isn’t working, and be ruthless with what needs to go. Clumping plants like agapanthus also benefit from a winter culling, thinning out and even spreading apart. You can double the area covered by effectively de-clumping and spreading out ground over species ready for the next growing season.

2. Dig it in
I love bulbs, I’m not sure why, but I think it’s the mystery of what is going to appear each spring and then the burst of colours the flowers provide. My only problem is that bulbs need a lot of planning. You need to plant them a good 3-6 months before they grow, and generally that’s just way too much forethought for me. But now that we have our own garden space this might be the year to give the bulbs a go. Spring flowering bulbs like Daffodils, Jonquils, Tulips and Irises need to be planted in autumn, between March and May. Planting methods vary between the species so it is best to follow the instructions on the pack. Bulbs can be purchased from your local nursery, supermarket or BigW or Kmart. If you want to be a bit more exotic you can order them through catalogues or on line at sites like Bulbs Direct or Garden Express. They all need a good rich loamy soil, so spread a fit of fertiliser and make sure that the garden drains well so they don’t get soggy feet.

3. Feed it – yum
If you have to have a lawn, then autumn is the best time to give it a bit of love. Some fertiliser, aeration and some extra grass seed to fill in the bare spots. It’s also a great time to start a lawn. While the weather’s cooling down and the soil’s still warm, the turf will thrive before winter strikes.

4. Recycle it
If you haven’t started a compost pile yet, then now is the perfect time to do it. You’re going to have heaps of pruning and culled plants after you’ve given your garden a hair cut, plus you have all the leaves that your deciduous trees have shed, so give them a suitable place to rot so you can re-use them on your garden as yummy compost. I’ve written about compost and worm farms before, so you can check it out here at To wriggle or rot

5. Think it through
If your garden leaves you less than inspired and you’re just not sure what to do with it, it’s time to re-design. While you’re cutting, digging, feeding and recycling take a step back and have a little dream. How do you want to use your space? What do you want to feel when you’re there? Grab a pencil and paper and start to sketch it out. And as always, if you need a little help, you can give us a call. Drawn Outdoors specialises in helping you to realise your dream garden! Check us out at Drawn Outdoors at your place.

The great part about Autumn is that the foliage is spectacular, think I might need to plan a trip to the mountains to be inspired by the autumn colour.



4 Responses to “Farewell to summer”

  1. Clair March 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Oh no, was that i-pad fail again?? I want to know what the last 2 jobs are!

    • drawnoutdoors March 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      yes, that was flying drama queen legs induced iPad fail, but is finished now, so you can get autumn cracking!

  2. Clair March 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Phew! Glad I got to read the last 2, as composting and planning are my 2 favourite garden jobs. Zach likes the digging and the picking, and Milo is all about lawns (though the birds eat all his grass seeds).

    I do agree about Summer, though. We were referring to it at work as “Swinter”. More rain in store for this weekend, too, alas.

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