Gardening with James Hilyard: Gardening in the middle of winter

James Hilyard is Ipswich City Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Department, City Maintenance manager. He is a horticulturalist, arborist and holds a master’s degree in sustainability. You can see his articles in Ipswich First. Many of us are gardeners by choice or directed responsibility from our spouse. Whichever category you are in we can all learn from the professionals. To this end we will post relevant items from James on this site.

In this article, James shares five things to do in your garden in the middle of winter.

Winter is the perfect time to get out in your garden.

It is not too hot, the garden doesn’t need as much watering and the grass probably doesn’t need cutting, so why not prune some shrubs, plant some vegies, control weeds or start that garden DIY job you put off in the summer months.

Being outside working in the garden is not only beneficial for your plants but is great for your health and wellbeing, especially when we have been stuck at home with recent restrictions.


Now is the best time to prune roses, hydrangeas and deciduous plants.

You can prune hedges and bushes that you would like to have a thicker growth and now that frangipani are dormant, it is a good time to take some cuttings if you would like to strike some new plants.

Leave the pieces in a dry place for the end to seal then plant them.


Although the days are shorter and are accompanied by the long shadows of winter- a problem hard to avoid in built up areas, you can still plant a variety of vegetables and plants.

In July, you could plant beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, garlic, leeks, peas, potatoes, silver beet, swede, sweet potato and, providing there is no frost, tomato, capsicum, and French beans.

Vegetables are not all you can plant in Winter. Grevilleas and Eremophila (the emu bush), are native flowering shrubs currently available from council’s Queens Park Nursery.

You could also try salvia and sunflower, to ensure an abundance of flowers for your garden pollinators (butterflies and native bees) so they can restock their food stores when spring arrives.

Now is the time to plant your roses or relocate any poorly positioned trees and shrubs to new areas.


No one likes stepping on those painful burrs in Summer, so July is the perfect opportunity to control Bindii weed in your lawns.

Also, check the lawn and gardens for weeds that can be dug by hand.

Best to get to them now before they take off again in Spring. Clover or heavy infestations may require spraying.

​Get creative

Slowed growth during winter provides an opportunity to tackle major landscaping projects like making new garden beds, paving, constructing pergolas or building retaining walls.

Tidy up

Rake up any fallen leaves and dispose of them in your green waste bin.

Pull out and dispose of any dead plants as they can spread disease or infections to other plants in your garden.

Give your gardening tools a good sharpen and clean them up with disinfectant and oil.


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