This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Winter Garden Tips With Phillip Withers!

Gardens

Even though it feels like winter only started about five seconds ago, somehow we’ve passed the halfway point and spring is somewhat in sight! Now it’s time to consider how to get your natural landscape ready for early spring, as the soil starts to warm up and the wattles burst into flower.

Legendary local Landscape Designer and our good friend Phillip Withers is here with some sound advice for taking care of your winter garden and prepping for the coming months! 

27th July, 2020

Legendary Local Landscape Designer Phillip Withers. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The Yarraview garden, where Phillip and team planned their installation for The 2020 Melbourne International Flower + Garden Show, which sadly did not go ahead! Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Phil at one of his favourite places, Point Addis. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Banksia marginata. Photography – Amelia Stanwix.

Phillip Withers
Monday 27th July 2020

SAVING WATER

Now’s the time to mulch ready for spring, before the sun starts to shine down onto the bare soil. Mulching can also help to put healthy nutrients such as nitrogen back in the soil, and increase water retention in time for summer.

Late winter is a great time to consider new planting in the garden. Plants that have been dormant and are starting wake up with warmer soil, and better still, the soil is soft and easy to work with. Increased rainfall in the southern states of Australia can help naturally establish plant life. Ensure you have a consistent program for watering for the initial first few months, then, if you’ve planted the right species, you can turn the tap off once establishment takes place. Using the right plants can adapt a landscape to survive off rainfall alone, such as with Banksia robur.

On balconies or in semi-sheltered areas, consider utilising the many self watering or wicking planters that are now available. These gives a plant’s roots more frequent availability to water, which is especially helpful for situations where rainfall is limited or not available.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photography – Amelia Stanwix.

FEEDING SEASON

It’s coming around to feeding season, an important time to give your plants a general feed up ready for spring – good quality slow release fertiliser will help to ensure your plants are building strength leading into sunnier days.

The end of winter also marks the time to cultivate the soil – ie break up the soil, to allow last year’s remaining mulch to break down further, also increasing the oxygenation of the top soil. This helps soil organisms and insects play their part in soil health.

As the soil warms up and plant life starts to come out of dormancy, it’s also the right time to get the last of those pruning tasks completed.

Photo – Shutterstock, courtesy of Phillip Withers.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Correa Reflexa (also known as ‘native fuschia’). Photography – Amelia Stanwix.

Callistemon and Grevillea.Photography – Amelia Stanwix.

WHAT TO PLANT

With end of the season fast approaching it’s a great time to consider crop rotation in the veggie patch, to get some nitrogen back in the soil pre spring. Before planting leafy vegetables, plant some legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils. Legumes feed lightly and have the ability to ‘fix’ nitrogen into soils, improving the nitrogen content for future plantings.

Consider planting some beautiful late flowering plants to bring the birds back into the landscape, to enjoy or to pick for yourself and put inside. Plants such as Banksias, Acacias, Callistemons and Grevillea are all fantastic plant groups because they produce lots of pollen and nectar, bringing birds and bees into the garden.

Plant succulents closer to the house for water wise planting, bringing in a burst of colour and interest. Succulents are great plants to add architectural shapes and interest to the foreground of the garden. They can help create unique colour interest, and guide your eye through the softer textural planting.

This story originally appeared as part of a collaborative series between Phillip Withers and Yarra Valley Water. See more of this series here

View Comments

Similar Stories

2.12

We, The Brave

Building A Business From The Ground Up, With Phillip Withers

Award-winning landscape designer Phillip Withers shares his story of risk-taking and resilience in business, in partnership with MYOB.

The Tools I Use

The Tools I Use · Phillip Withers

We go behind-the-scenes and inside the toolkit with legendary local landscape designer, Phillip Withers!

Gardens

Five Garden Designs You Didn't Get To See At The Melbourne International Flower + Garden Show

An overview of the key MIFGS exhibitors, who were due to participate at Australia's biggest garden fair this week.
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.
02:27

Travel

A Perfect Day in Daylesford & The Macedon Ranges, With Paul Bangay

Lucy joins legendary landscape designer Paul Bangay for a dreamy day trip in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, capturing the best that the

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li

Architecture

A 90m² Inner-Suburban Block Turned Multipurpose Family Home!

MRTN Architects have designed family home, office, and granny flat on a mere 90m² Brunswick East block!
Amelia Barnes
  23 hours ago

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

News

An Online Super Store + Subscription Service For All-Natural Goodies

GoodnessMe carries over 3,000 products from snacks to ready-made meals – with samples delivered to your door every month!
Sponsored

Similar Stories

2.12

We, The Brave

Building A Business From The Ground Up, With Phillip Withers

Award-winning landscape designer Phillip Withers shares his story, in partnership with MYOB.

The Tools I Use

The Tools I Use · Phillip Withers

Inside the toolkit of legendary local landscape designer, Phillip Withers!

Gardens

Five Garden Designs You Didn't Get To See At The Melbourne International Flower + Garden Show

An overview of the key MIFGS exhibitors, who were due to participate at Australia's biggest garden fair this week.
Sasha Gattermayr

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.