5 things to make your garden thrive this spring

One of my favourite scenes in the movie, The Secret Garden is when main character Mary Lennox sees her garden come to life in spring after the long, cold English winter. Whilst some parts of Australia are more seasonal than others, we definitely have all four seasons here in Canberra, and fewer are celebrated more than spring after our cold winters. Whilst sunshine and warmer days make spring a pleasant time to be out in the garden, it is also an important time to get some key jobs done in your garden to maximise it’s beauty and productivity over the warmer months. Here are some key jobs to tick off your list this season:  

1. Prune
Now is the time to prune back the growth of perennials from last season (if you haven’t already). If you live in a frost-prone area, there may be some frost-tender perennials that you want to hold back on pruning until after the risk of frost has passed, but everything else is fair game! My buddleia and salvia have all been given harsh haircuts to prepare them for new-season growth (and flowers!). I am also planning on pruning my peach tree this weekend, but because it is flowering I will only remove the lower growth, as well as branches and stems without flowers. I don’t want to jeopardise any potential fruit! 

Pink azalea in my garden



2. Mulch
A trip to your local garden centre to top up your mulch should be on the agenda this month. It is beneficial to alternate the types of mulch you use on your garden beds to ensure a diversity of beneficial bacteria in the soil for your plants. Different types of mulch include: straw, bark chip, and different types of compost, such as mushroom, laid thickly. For an extra kick, you could also add a layer of manure or compost under a heavier mulch, such a bark chip. The key is ensuring your mulch is down and watered in before the hot summer days arrive. 

Red azalea in my garden



3. Water
Most plants, including lawn will have gone through a low-growth period over winter, especially if you live in a cool climate. Give them the boost they need with a good deep soaking a couple of times a week to stimulate growth. We’re still experiencing a dry period in Canberra, so watering is going to be crucial for us this season if we want strong plant growth, and ultimately fruit and flowers.  

Flowering plum in my garden



4. Fertilise
Adding mulch and manure to your garden will give it a great kick-start to the season, but for hungry flowering plants, such as roses, additional fertiliser may be required. I like using a liquid fertiliser, such as Thrive – especially after rain or a good watering when plants are more receptive to absorb it. Slow-release and pelletised fertilisers are a low-maintenance option if you have a large garden or just want to ‘set-and-forget’ for a few weeks. Beware of fertilising native plants, as some are not tolerant of high levels of phosphorous found in many fertilisers (such as chicken manure). Use a specific native plant fertiliser or if in doubt stick with an organic fish or seaweed tonic. 

5. Get out and enjoy it
Watch the flowers grow this spring. No seriously! The more time you spend in your garden, the more motivated you’ll feel to look after it. If you, like me try to sit in the garden, but keep seeing jobs that need to be done, rather than mindfully enjoying the moment, remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve done. Tomorrow is another day. 

Make your life easier in the garden with some of these handy gardening tools

My Favourite Quote: Clare Zivanovic, www.GothicZen.com.au

“Everything is figureoutable.” 
– Marie Forleo


“Every crazy, confusing situation has a solution. The first step is deciding that we want to move forward, and then we simply need to allow ourselves the space and flow for the solution/s to arrive. This process works every time. Thank you for reminding me of this, Marie Forleo.” – Clare Zivanovic. 

Clare Zivanovic is a writer, film producer and health-nut who is currently creating a fun book that teaches kids about the superpowers hiding in healthy foods. Learn more at www.GothicZen.com.au

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The best advice my dad gave me: Dr. Marcia Rodes, EdD, founder and head of school at The Polytech

“I grew up in a small farming community. My dad was not “long on words”, but when he spoke his words were meaningful. He lived by and modeled his words. I live by and model his words:
– “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”
– “Bring me solutions not excuses.”
– “Be honest, always tell the truth.” 
– “Don’t be afraid to say you are sorry.” 
– “All the days of your life show respect, be respectful.” 
– “Our town is not just a town, we are a community. We are responsible for one another and to one another. Never forget this.” – Dr. Marcia Rodes


Marcia Rodes, EdD, is founder and head of school at The Polytech, a private school that allows high school students to access college courses in career pathways as a part of their graduation. She is a certified school principal, counselor, and teacher, and has held multiple leadership positions of public and private schools and organizations serving children and adolescents.

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The best advice my dad gave me: Kaylyn Jeffrey, HR & Web Content Manager

“The best advice my dad gave me was ‘boys are like buses. When one leaves, there’s another right around the corner.’ – Mr. Jeffrey 


This quote by my good old Dad has helped me never settle, keep moving forward and trust it will work out for the best. I’m now engaged to my best friend… My favourite bus!” – Kaylyn Jeffrey

Kaylyn is the HR & Web Content Manager for a tech start-up. She writes articles for a living and runs a content and design biz with her partner. Catch up with Kaylyn on Instagram: kaylynjeffrey 


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The best advice my dad gave me: Michael Attard BSc. (Animal Science) Hons

“The best thing my dad taught me was that any career working with animals takes huge amounts of work, patience and sacrifice, but the payoff is that I would get to do what I love everyday of my life.” – Michael Attard 


Michael Attard BSc. (Animal Science) Hons. is a professional dog breeder in Victoria, Australia and am involved in managing the dog breeding program for Chevromist Kennels and Hepburn Park. 

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The best advice my dad gave me: Reza Khastou, M.Ed., founder and COO of The Polytech

“The best thing my dad taught me was, ‘Nothing good comes easy, if it does beware’.”Reza Khastou. 


Reza Khastou, M.Ed., is the founder and COO of The Polytech, a private high school that offers students the opportunity to earn industry certificates and college credits at the same time they satisfy high school graduation requirements. Throughout his 30 year career, Reza has served as a school administrator, college director, teacher, advisor, business owner, and private consultant.

Reza Khastou, M.Ed., founder and COO of The Polytech



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The best advice my dad gave me: Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

“I started a global branding and marketing firm 17 years ago in Cambridge, MA. I learned so many great lessons from my dad, we were really close. The best thing my dad taught me was to treat everyone with dignity and respect. My dad was down to earth even though he was the president of his company he took the time to learn everyone’s names and about them as people, he greeted them personally from the people in the garage to the cleaning staff to his direct reports and staff. I think that set the tone and it was a very friendly and open culture where everyone felt included and part of the team. I now run my own business and have never forgotten that lesson.

My dad died 2+ years ago sadly and I use the many lessons he taught me every day.” – Paige Arnof-Fenn. 

Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens & Moguls (www.MavensAndMoguls.com) based in Cambridge, MA. Their clients include Microsoft, Virgin, venture-backed startups, as well as non profit organizations. Paige graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. Paige is also a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes. 

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The best advice my dad gave me: Corey Batt, Managing Director and Co-founder of www.clickburst.com.au

“My father taught me to take risks – especially while you’re young. I’ve found that in Australia the average person is afraid to go out on a limb and start a new business, take on an investment or put themselves out there. I started my first business when I was 20 and have built several successful businesses since which have completely influenced my life.” – Corey Batt


Corey Batt is the managing director and co-founder of www.clickburst.com.au, an online marketing firm specialising in search engine optimisation, adwords and content creation.

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The best advice my dad gave me: Louise Edmonds, founder/CEO of MenStylePower

“The best advice Dad gave me was to ‘guard my brake’ – Yep, while driving, he always said this and I must admit it has saved my life a couple of times.” Louise Edmonds


“Style is not just the clothes on a man, but the man in them”. MenStylePower was created by Louise Edmonds, who has over 20 years experience in the entertainment and media world working with brands and companies in Australia, UK and USA. She created MenStylePower.com which for over nine years has been providing content for Nautica and Barneys New York during New York Fashion Weeks, FashionBeans UK, Brands Exclusive, Sydney Morning Herald’s Executive Style, AskMen.com and CEO Magazine and is a video content creator for Marie Clare, InStyle Magazine and Swarovski.

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