Life outdoors in the cooler months
Winter is coming, well technically it’s now here! What has been quite a pleasant Autumn season in Sydney is only just starting to show signs of the cold, but only just.
So keep an eye out for those leaf colours turning on their bronze and yellow tones; the winter sun shining through bare branches; winter flowers on Sedum ‘Autum Joy’ and Miscanthus grasses, and the subtle smell of smoke from fire places in the air.
The cooler conditions don’t mean you can’t still get the most out of your garden or outdoor lifestyle. Add an extra layer of clothes to keep warm, grab a thick woven blanket to cover you and head outdoors. Or better still, do some hard work to raise a sweat and that will do the trick.
Here are a few pointers from our green thumbs in the Horticulture department and a few tips from our Design Team to keep you outdoors.
1. Deciduous trees and their form
They are great for the garden, providing vibrant Autumn leaf colour and letting that winter sun shine through. Selecting trees like Gleditsia ‘Elegantissima’, Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ and Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’ are also great architectural specimens and some of our favourites, as they also provide interesting branching structures.
Pruning and shaping trees and shrubs in the garden needs to be done at the right times; Autumn before the cold sets in, and at the end of Winter before the new Spring flush are ideal times. Deciduous plants are also bare and easy to access with the pruner and this will allow more sunlight through. Consider when you plant flowers though, as you don’t want to be cutting off any potential flower buds.
3. Fire Pits
Coming together around a fire pit with a hot chocolate or some social drinks always creates an intimate environment with friends or family. Dedicated sunken lounge areas are becoming a common request in our designs, coupled with a steel fire bowl makes a perfect outdoor winter setting.
4. Miscanthus grasses and Sedum matrona
A couple of great inclusions to the garden to appreciate during the cooler months are the Miscanthus ‘Adagio’ and Sedum matrona. Groupings of Miscanthus work best as they hold their plumes of white feathery flowers above their foliage. Sedum matrona is a dependable succulent plant that gets covered in Broccoli like light pink flowers and looks great planted en-masse alongside grasses. As the colder weather moves in the flowers age to red then brown but hold their form as the foliage dies down.
5. Aerate your Lawn
After enjoying the warm months in the garden, many lawns have become compacted and weedy due to kids play and entertaining. Aerating with a garden fork or wheel aerator and applying a fine layer of course sand/loam as a top dressing allows oxygen and moisture into the soil ready to be fertilised in Spring. This will ensure you have a beautiful lawn come the warmer months.