If the temperature or the wind makes it simply too unpleasant to be outside, head for the shed or garage and spend some time maintaining your gardening tools.
Remove caked mud from digging tools such as shovels, spades, forks, hoes and trowels and rub with an oily rag or spray with WD 40 or similar.
Clean rusty tools by soaking in one part molasses to 10 parts water and wiping the rust off with a rag or steel wool.
Remove any splinters on wooden handles with coarse sandpaper and rub with linseed oil to stop them drying out and splitting.
Clean secateurs with steel wool and oil and sharpen.
Clean, sharpen and service mechanical tools such as lawn mowers, whipper snippers, chain saws and hedge trimmers.
Check electrical tools are safe and properly insulated and have any damaged power cords replaced.
Sun, wind and rain and frost are your tools' greatest enemies, so always put them away and don't ever leave them outside.
Take a look around your garden to see what is flowering and a source of food, especially for the small native birds. Many native shrubs not only provide nectar in winter but also have dense foliage that provides good nesting sites for small birds. Many of the wattles and callistemons (bottlebrushes) flower throughout winter; also some banksias and hakeas. The grevillias provide great, safe nesting sites; many seem to flower right through winter and the birds just love them. Hardenbergia violacea is an evergreen, twining plant, great as a groundcover or fence screen, growing to 2m wide and high, which produces masses of pea-shaped flowers through winter to early spring.
Bindii (Soliva sessilis) germinates in autumn, grows through winter and forms burrs in late winter/early spring. In summer the plant dies off and the burrs harden, making a barefoot frolic across the lawn less than enjoyable. Control by hand weeding or spraying before the burrs form.
The next meeting of the Armidale Garden Club is on July 27th. It's our annual soup night, so starts earlier than usual, at 6pm, in the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall. Everyone is welcome - just come along!