There’s work to be done to prepare for imminent summer. Fortunately, we’ve got your simple checklist right here and all you need to do is schedule some garden time.
The sky has cracked open with sun and the days are warmer, brighter and altogether more joyful.
The prospect of a garden full of colourful flowers, the return of local birdlife and fresh vegetables and fruits that love full sunlight has green thumbs everywhere excited.
Prepare for dry weather and weeds
“Now is the perfect time to mulch the garden,” says Stephen Woods, of Woods Landscapes in Melbourne.
“This helps to retain water and prevent weed growth. It also keeps the temperature of the soil pretty constant, which prevents damage to plants, especially in really dry, hot weather.”
There are so many types of mulch to choose from. For inexperienced gardeners, where do we begin?
“Straw-based mulches are popular, which you can get in bales or chopped, which can look tidier especially in smaller gardens,” says Stephen. “Try pea straw. This is an organic mulch that is healthier for soil quality than some of the non-organic options.”
Feed garden with dynamic lifter
Stephen emphasises the quality of soil as the basis for any summer-ready garden.
“I prefer organic dynamic lifter to feed all types of gardens. It can also be used for pot plants. I have been working on more and more native gardens and they thrive on dynamic lifter. Because it releases nutrients gradually, the soil remains hydrated and there’s less watering and maintenance for home gardeners to do.”
You can also use dynamic lifter to fertilise fruit and vegetables. Commonly, dynamic lifter is a combination of chicken manure, blood and bone, marine plants and fishmeal. Not the most pleasant-smelling aroma but when you’re plucking peaches from your own garden and admiring your roses in summer, this is a small price to pay.
Don’t cut lawns too short
Come summer, there’s the very real risk of snakes for many Australian households. A wild mass of lawn isn’t recommended: not only is long grass a haven for snakes, but it’s also a fire hazard. On the other hand, if the lawn is too short, this can damage the soil.
Prepare for outdoor parties
“Lighting is an essential element,” says Allison Barrett of My Perfect Party. “Lights give a festive vibe and also create ambiance. Hang string lights/fairy lights in a warm white colour throughout the garden and in the trees – you can keep these up all year round.
“Solar lights are great. Don’t have your lights ‘flashing’ as this could look like Christmas decorations. I like to use several strings and overlap to give a really high impact look.”
Finally, expect the dreaded mozzies.
“Don’t forget your citronella candles and think about offering guests a small bottle of natural citronella spray. Steer clear of fly spray, the smell can be overpowering for many guests!” says Allison.