How to mulch and feed at the same time
In all but the coldest parts of Australia plants are awakening from their winter slumber by August or September. The surge in growth that is triggered by spring conditions needs to be accompanied by sufficient moisture and nutrients for the plant to reach its full potential in flowering and subsequent vegetative growth. Nutrient requirements will vary from plant to plant depending on your goals in the garden. For established trees and shrubs it is often not necessary to feed at all if you are happy with the existing appearance of the plant. Herbaceous plants will benefit much more as they tend to renew their framework each year. A foolproof way to fertilise just about any plant is to use well-rotted manure such as cow or horse as this is a very gentle slow release form of nutrients. A layer 3-5cm thick around the base of your plant will do wonders.
Mulch on top of the manure will not only preserve moisture but will also suppress weed seedlings that will inevitably appear. A woody mulch 2-5cm in diameter such as wood chip or pine bark will give maximum moisture retention. If you are in a bushfire-prone area you may want to consider inorganic mulch such as coarse gravel.