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23 Sep 2019

Five steps to spring clean your garden

Now is the best time to get outdoors and give your garden a good spring clean out! Clearing out the old mulch, weeding and preparing your garden for the new growth will get the best out of your plants during the warmer, drier months.

Here are my top five tips to giving your garden or balcony space the best konmari’d clean it’s ever had! Take your time and work through the steps at your own pace over a day or a few.

If you need some flower-power inspo head into one of our botanic gardens and experience our amazing spring displays now in bloom and check out our plant of the month here.

Out with the old

Dead-heading, de-wooding, removing old diseased foliage, raking up old leaves and sticks, and removing old debris is the best place to start your spring clean. Dead material in the garden not only looks bad but it can harbor unwanted disease or fungus that can harm your next seasonal plants.

A good tip to remember is when working on your garden try do it when it has dried out a bit as walking on soil when it is wet can cause soil compaction that will impact on your new plants trying to grow.

This is a good time to clean your borders and edges, trim your hedges and give your lawns a good mow.

Garden waste

In with the new

Depending on where you live, now is the best time to plant your late spring and summer colour. 

The best things to plant in the veggie patch are beetroot, capsicum, choko, cucumber, dwarf beans, eggplants, Jerusalem artichoke, lettuce, okra, pumpkin, radish, spinach, spring onions, squash, sweet corn, sweet potato, strawberry, tomato, watermelon and zucchini. If you’re new to gardening have a read of our easiest veggies to grow guide here

Sowing vegetable seeds

For trees, shrubs and climbers you can plant some tropicals such as avocado, bougainvillea, citrus, frangipani, ginger, hibiscus, mulberry, paw paw, passionfruit, plumbago, pomegranate and tamarillo. Of course, it’s always a good time to create some local habitat with native plants.

And for my favourite bit – colour! For the best annuals and perennials for your flower garden plant look at Alyssum, Amaranthus, Begonia, Cockscomb, Dahlia, Gerbera, Marigold, Nasturtium, Petunia, Portulaca, Verbena and Zinnia.

Want to make your neighbours jealous of your garden colour, check out my Top 40 trialled and tested plants we personally put to the test here in the Garden. It is a great time to plant flowering perennials as well. Our Growing Friends Nursery also has a great range of native, exotic, rare, hard-to-find and endangered plants for sale.

Dahlias flowering in garden

This is a great time to also transplant plants. Think of your trees and shrubs as the walls and floors of your garden, but your perennials are like your furniture – easy to move around! If they aren’t performing somewhere change it up and see if they will flourish in another location.

After planting make sure to add in your new mulch, and don’t forget your trees and shrubs, as it will help conserve moisture once the hot weather arrives.

Mulch for the garden

Prune the perennials

Spring pruning encourages new growth and helps to prevent diseases. Things to prune now include fruit trees before they bud out, cut back your herbaceous perennials to the ground or to start of new growth to keep them compact and bushy.

But don’t prune your spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia, wisteria, spiraea and viburnmums until they finish flowering.

Pruning in the garden

Repot and replenish

Now is the time to move those plants that need more room into bigger pots.  If your potted plants are drying out too quick or blow over easily it is a sure sign it is time to repot. When you remove the plant from the pot, make sure to tease out the roots or give them a light trim if they look like a solid mass of roots.

Most indoor plants don’t grow much during the winter, so show them a bit of love also by replenishing them with plant food, like a good slow-release organic fertiliser, to give them a little boost throughout the warmer months. 

If your pots need a clean you can scrub them with baking soda, water and a stiff brush, and rinse them thoroughly to make them shine like new!

Potting plants

Be water smart

As it starts to become warmer it’s a good time to think about how you can best prepare them for the coming hot weather. Keeping up with watering after planting in a new garden to support their growth time is important. New South Wales has water restrictons in place so check what the guidelines are for your area when watering gardens and lawns.

You can also consider installing a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses as they deliver water to plants more efficiently than overhead sprinklers. They are easy to install and usually only take a weekend to have up and running.

Watering the garden

And last but not least, remember to take your time, have fun and enjoy being at one with nature and your garden. Spring is truly a magical time and your garden will reap the rewards of your efforts spent nurturing it.

Tweet your spring cleaning photos to me on Twitter by tagging @texaninoz and @rbgsydney #rbgsydney


Jimmy Turner, Director of Horticulture

Jimmy Turner is the Director of Horticulture for Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands. Learn more about our self-professed Plant Geek here and follow him on Twitter.

Category: Horticulture
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