What to do in your garden this winter

It's never too early to prepare for spring.
Weatherboard country cottage garden with foxglove flowers and trees.Photography: Claire Takacs

With mornings getting colder and autumn flowers fading, it’s time to welcome the winter gardening season. You may be dreaming about cosying up in front of a fire, but don’t be fooled by the notion that the garden will slow down. There is still plenty to do to prepare for spring, with pruning and propagating at the top of the list.

Southern Highlands field with sheep and foxgloves.
Hardy annuals like the Orlaya Grandiflora please with their white blossoms. (Photography: Claire Takacs)

Winter garden checklist

1. Top up your garden soil

For your vegetable patch, make sure you add quality compost to the soil to replenish the nutrients used up by summer crops. In most Australian climates, you can still plant broad beans, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, lettuce, onions and peas. You will need to make climbing frames to support your beans and peas; these can be created using timber garden stakes and natural garden twine. To prevent white cabbage moth larvae from destroying your crops, you may want to cover your vegie garden with a fine, woven netting.

Easter Egg Hunt Basket Of Vegetables With Letter
Carrots are best harvested early in the winter season. (Photography: Brigid Arnott / Styling: Lucy Gough)

2. Learn how to propagate

While we’re looking ahead, propagating plants (such as grevillea, lavender and rhododendron) from cuttings is an easy and cheap way to fill gaps in the garden later in the year. Take semi-hardwood cuttings – 10-centimetre long pieces of new growth that have started to harden off – and remove the lower leaves. Dip the stems into a rooting hormone powder and pot them into small containers filled with a loose, well-draining mix (perlite and coconut coir works well). Keep the containers moist and sheltered from the elements while the roots develop.

A cluster of pink fortune flowers.
Agastache ‘Pink Fortune’ flowers. (Photography: Martina Gemmola)

3. Prune your perennials

Now is the time to give those spring and summer-flowering perennials a prune. This will keep them looking tidy and will encourage plenty of growth next season. While you have the tools handy, you can give your hedges and topiaries a final trim. Just hold back on pruning perennial grasses as they become points of interest in the winter garden and provide shelter for small birds and insects in the cooler months.

A summer courtyard surrounded by cottage garden flowers.
‘Purple Rain’ is a colourful feature in the flowerbeds of this bucolic country garden. (Photography: Martina Gemmola)

4. Try layering bulbs

Short on space? Try a ‘bulb lasagne’ – stacked layers of bulbs planted in a large pot or container. Choose three to five different bulbs that flower in early, mid and late spring. Start by planting the latest flowering bulbs first, followed by the mid-season bulbs, finishing with the earliest flowering, and adding a layer of soil between each type. For example, I like to plant a bottom layer of Tulip ‘Symbiose Pastel’ bulbs, followed by a mid-layer of Daffodil ‘Cosmopolitan’, topped with Muscari ‘Julia’ bulbs, and finishing with Crocus ‘Pickwick’. This layered planting method creates a succession of flowers and interest come springtime, and the choice of colours is up to you.

Pink garden tulips.
Pink tulips bring a simple elegance to the garden. (Photography: Allie Aszodi)

5. Get cosy outdoor seating

Finally, look to extend your time in the garden by creating a cosy outdoor spot with comfortable seating, warm lighting or even a fire pit. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows with the kids or catching up with good friends, I hope you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the crisp air.

Fire pit and pink and white cottage flowers.
An outdoor firepit is a favourite spot to relax in this Victorian country garden. (Photography: Simon Griffiths)
  • Magnolias
  • Lavender
  • Sweet Peas
  • Snapdragons
  • Sunflowers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
What to plant in winter

Shop garden supplies


Watering can in Sand

$89, Home Beautiful Shop

Best for: Watering small gardens

Stylish and functional, this watering can brings an elegant touch to home gardening with a diamond shape that holds up to eight litres, making it ideal for indoor plants and small gardens. Pair with the Sahara Desert Rose Kit to complete the look.

Size: 8 litres.

Colours: Sand and Crystal.

Material: Plastic.

Key features:

  • Made in Sweden
  • Holds up to 8 litres
  • Modern diamond design


Night rider kit

$449, Home Beautiful Shop

Best for: Stylish backyard decor

Tired of boring garden tools? The Night Rider kit by Garden Glory includes a stunning black hose and decorative rack to elevate your outdoor style. Made with UV-resistant plastic, a non-kinking inner tube and a versatile shower nozzle, this kit is the perfect garden addition.

Size: 20 metres.

Colours: Hidden Pearl, Eucalyptus Leaf, Sahara Desert, Black Swan and White Snake.

Materials: Aluminium and plastic surface.

Key features:

  • UV-protected hose
  • 20 metres long
  • Elegant design


Galvanised steel raised garden bed

$84.95 (now 69.95), Temple & Webster

Best for: Growing your first vegetable patch

Take the hard work out of starting your vegetable garden with this sleek raised garden bed. Made from rust-resistant steel, it offers ample depth to grow leafy greens, legumes and root vegetables while its height allows easy access.

Sizes: 160cm, 240cm and 320cm.

Colour: Grey.

Materials: Galvanised steel and rubber.

Key features:

  • Rust-resistant
  • Easy assembly
  • Low maintenance


Country style gardening gloves

$63.50, Home Beautiful Shop

Best for: Comfort and protection

Every gardener’s toolkit needs a pair of gloves—especially ones that have a delightful country garden look. These gloves feature an adjustable strap, soft fabric and a classic striped design. Plus, they stay comfortable even when wet!

Sizes: One size fits all.

Material: Cotton blend.

Key features:

  • Adjustable strap
  • Machine washable
  • Classic look


Robotic lawn mower garage

from $101.99, Dick Smith

Best for: Small garden storage

Not every home has a shed to store a lawn mower, so why not give your mower its own garage? Easy to move and assemble, this mower house is made from solid firwood to protect your mower from sun and rain, prolonging its use.

Size: 72cm x 87cm x 50 cm. 

Colours: Brown, Brown and White, Grey and Red.

Materials: Solid firwood and plywood.

Key features:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Rustic and classic design
  • Protects against the elements


Tucson 80 fire pit in Rust

$319 (now $269), Temple & Webster

Best for: Outdoor winter entertaining

Gather around this enchanting fire pit, crafted from robust steel with a charming rustic finish. Perfect for winter warmth, it also transitions beautifully into a decorative summer piece, serving as a bird bath or a serene water feature.

Size: 28cm x 80cm x 80cm.

Colours: Steel, Black and Rust.

Material: Steel.

Key features:

  • Weather-resistant
  • Stylish outdoor feature
  • Heavy-duty steel


Garden weeder

$15.90 (now $12.72), Hoselink

Best for: Precision garden weeding

The steel split fork on this hand weeder effortlessly pries out unwanted plants without disturbing the surrounding soil. A soft, ergonomically designed handle ensures a comfortable grip, making garden maintenance a breeze.

Size: 34.5cm x 5cm x 5.7cm.

Colours: Silver, Green, Yellow.

Material: Stainless steel.

Key features:

  • UV-resistant
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Soft grip handle


Otto metal decorative pot

from $49.95, Pillow Talk

Best for: Garden storage and planting

The rustic metal of this decorative planter is all you need to add a touch of sophistication to the garden. Ideal for both real or faux plants, or even as a storage tub, its classic design complements any garden style.

Sizes: Small, medium and large.

Material: Iron.

Key features:

  • Timeless style
  • Sizes for all plant types
  • Rustic look


Secateurs in Peach

$35.90, Hoselink

Best for: Seasonal pruning

Secateurs are a gardening essential, and with high-quality Japanese steel ensuring easy pruning, these secateurs are a must. Whether for roses or hedges, these lightweight but durable secateurs are designed for heavy-duty cutting with an ergonomic handle.

Size: 225mm.

Colours: Peach and Sage.

Material: Japanese steel.

Key features:

  • Safety lock
  • Non-slip grip
  • Heavy-duty cutting

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