As the glaring heat of summer yields to the cool, frosty air of autumn, it’s time to start planning for your spring garden. While those cold mornings may not seem terribly inviting, Peter ‘Noddy’ Collier from Drouin Nursery insists that this is the essential time of the year to begin tending to your garden. “It’s cold, it’s wet, and you can’t plant much. But autumn is when you should be thinking about what you want to plant in the spring time, and thoroughly preparing the soil at this time is essential,” he explains. “If you buy a plant, take it home and simply chuck it in a hole in the ground, you’re not going to have much success. Preparing the soil well in advance is terribly important, and if you organise yourself you can even go on to plant bare root trees and fruit trees during the middle of winter.” Peter explained. “Here in Gippsland, we live in one of the best areas in Australia where we can grow the widest array and range of plants, and whatever you plant in autumn, you’ll reap the benefits of in late winter, early spring.” During spring, if you have an excess of bulb plants, let them flower and then simply dig and divide, Peter advises. Seedlings are another excellent autumnal plant, but again, preparation is key, and whatever you sow in autumn you won’t see emerging from the soil until late winter, early spring.
Peter’s tips for planting this autumn is based around preparation; taking the time to think about what you want for your garden, preparing the soil and the space in the garden for when the sun emerges after its winter hibernation. “Bulbs are easy to plant in autumn, for example daffodils, tulips, and garlic too. You can throw them into the soil and they’ll take off, giving you a lovely smattering of colour during the winter and into spring.”
Peter knows what he is talking about when it comes to gardening. Having begun his apprenticeship at age 15 at Hills Nursery Warragul, and then another 11 years in wholesale nurseries, Peter has spent most of his life with his hands in the soil. So much so that he has been aptly nicknamed ‘Noddy’ after one of the most famous little garden dwellers. His own house is adjacent to the Drouin Nursery, and as he eagerly shows me around his garden while discussing autumnal planting, it is evident that Peter practices what he preaches. At the centre of the garden and towering over the house is a large tree, “a beautiful Golden Oak,” he says, underneath which is a lush, green expanse of plants, bursting from every single nook and cranny of the garden. The garden is a peaceful, calming place to walk through; a vibe which Peter has successfully emulated in the nursery as well.
937 Princes Way Drouin
(03) 5625 2669