The winter garden can have a different impact on each of us.
For those new to gardening, winter can sometimes be seen as a source of despair when nothing much seems to be happening but the experienced gardener sees the value and importance of this time.
It is a time when the garden goes through a quiet withdrawal, with the soil and many plants resting in preparation for the warming days of spring when the sap of life will once again begin to rise and with this new growth, so will the gardener's enthusiasm.
Make the most of this quiet time in the garden to catch up on those jobs that you have been putting off because you were too busy.
There are trees to be trimmed, plants to prune and materials to add to the compost heap.
Plants can be transplanted or a fence or trellis erected to be covered with a lovely climber.
You may want to plan a few changes that may involve making some areas more secluded, sheltered, sunny or shady.
One way to lift the spirits and brighten the winter garden is to plant some fragrant shrubs with Daphne odora, an upright evergreen shrub, among those at the top of the list.
The pink buds open to reveal the exquisite, fragrant, waxy flowers in colours that can be white, cream, yellow or pink.
An essential plant for a cottage or a scented garden, and if planted near a window or door, the sweet fragrance will drift through the home to be enjoyed by all.
Daphnes are not usually temperamental plants as sometimes claimed, with failure more likely caused by an unsuitable planting position, soil type, poor drainage or a virus disease.
They do best in a cool climate in a position that affords morning sun with afternoon shade and like to be left alone with very little fussing.
Choose the planting position carefully, as these shrubs dislike any root disturbance.
Plant in light, enriched loam, but in a heavier soil, work some aged compost and a little coarse sand into the surface to prevent it forming a 'cake'. Mulch with pine needles.
During the hot months, the plants are in a resting period so don't over water or feed as this does more harm than good.
Poor drainage is indicated by buds dropping or they may just cling to the tops of the stems in tight clusters and refuse to flower.
If leaves begin to turn yellow and seem limp, it is usually a symptom of collar rot or a virus.
If it is a virus, there is no cure. Best to dig it out and replace with another new plant.
To maintain a neat, compact growth habit, prune immediately after flowering before new growth appears.
The unsightly appearance of lanky or bare stems is mainly the result of no or ineffective pruning.
When the new buds appear, leave the shrub to flower naturally.
Daphnes have an expected lifespan of about 10 years, so if you look after your shrub, it should give you many years of joy, lifting up your spirits and brightening the winter garden.
August 6: North-West Lilium Society meeting, Penguin Baptist Centre, 130 Ironcliffe Road, Penguin, 10am.
August 16: Australian Plants Society, Max Fry Hall, Gorge Road, Trevallyn, Launceston, 7.30pm.
Club members will speak on Plant Families. Visitors welcome.
August 17: Launceston Horticultural Society meeting, Windmill Hill Hall, High Street, 7.30 pm. Jo Neuschwanger to speak on camellias, Noel Button on daffodils, including show presentation. The general public are welcome to attend.
Daily: Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden, Romaine, Burnie, from 9am to 4pm. Tea room open 9.30am to 4pm.
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