Gardening with John Gabriele

Picture: Getty Images
Picture: Getty Images

Now is the perfect time to catch up on your reading and the latest garden ideas from your favourite garden magazine to gain some inspiration for the spring ahead.

Aside from the chance to catch your breath, winter can be a very productive time in the garden. The decline in plant growth during winter provides the perfect opportunity to take stock of the garden and plan for the busy spring season ahead.

Review the garden with a critical eye and look for ways the garden be improved. Begin by creating a list of everything you would like the garden to be and what needs to be removed to help create that vision.

Drawing a rough garden design will assist in bringing the vision to life. Remember fail to plan, plan to fail. Take note of what worked in your garden as well as what didn't over the last year and adjust this year's plan to try something new or fix what went wrong.

Apart from planning ahead for spring, keeping the garden clean, neat and tidy during winter is paramount so outdoor spaces can be enjoyed on those rare days when light winds and sun-filled skies make outdoor areas a welcome place to relax.

Outdoor furniture can be easily neglected during winter so now is the time to make any needed repairs to outdoor furniture or protect furniture with a lick of paint or oil for wooden pieces.

Furniture covers might be in order, particularly for pieces that may have been damaged from hot summer sun.

Taking care of garden tools is another task for winter. When it comes to hand tools, a little time will be required to keep them in good order. Remember an ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure.

Many gardeners fail to clean these tools after each use and they soon begin to rust, and the handles split and splinter from being exposed to the weather.

To bring them back from the brink of disposal, begin with cleaning any accumulated dirt from the heads of tools and lightly sand the metal surfaces with emery paper to remove any surface rust. Sand wooden handles to a smooth finish. Oil handles with Linseed oil to reduce splitting by simply wiping tools over with an oil soaked rag and remove any excess oil with a dry cloth.

Don't let winter dampen your gardening enthusiasm as there is always something to keep you busy in the garden as we wait for spring.

This story There's plenty to keep you busy in the garden over winter first appeared on The Canberra Times.