As the seasons change and Summer arrives, our gardens also change, and we begin to enjoy the results of our spring projects. December is a month of celebrations and can be a busy time. The school year finishes. There are lots of functions and Christmas events and of course, our own Christmas preparations to complete.
Little Gifts of Thanks
Plants are great gifts for the ‘End of Year’ and Christmas breakups and a wonderful way to show appreciation to teachers, friends and colleagues. Garden retailers are filled with beautiful plants that are perfect and affordable gift ideas for these occasions. Gardens are also filled with flowers and foliage. It takes no time to put together a stunning bunch or arrangement that will delight the receiver.
Christmas is a great time of coming together with friends and family to celebrate the good things of life. There is still time to plant out flowering annuals or potted colour to have the garden looking a picture for Christmas events. Alyssum, celosia, cosmos, gerbera, impatiens, lobelia, nasturtium, marigold, petunia, phlox, portulaca, vinca and zinnia plants will have garden beds looking great.
Pots, Containers and Baskets
Entertainment areas come to life when decorated with splashes of colour. There are many plants available to achieve this.
Geraniums were once seen as old fashioned ‘granny plants’ but are no longer ‘old fashioned’ but are very much ‘in fashion.’ Geraniums have been bred to be compact plants to produce continuous displays of big, bright blooms. Geraniums are perfect for pots and baskets and are stunning highlights of outdoor living spaces.
Spreading Petunias and Calibrachoas are fantastic in hanging baskets and will not only look great for Christmas celebrations, but will be a showcase of colour throughout the days of summer. When planting plants in pots, containers and hanging baskets, always use a premium quality growing media. Rocky Point Coco Pro is the professional nursery grade potting mix suitable for most types of plants. Coco Pro not only contains all the quality slow release fertilisers to feed and nourish plants for up to 14 months, but also contains water retention granules. These water retention granules hold onto the water and the plants draw the moisture from the granules as they need to. This means less watering is required, and plants remain healthy and happy with less attention.
From Patch to Plate
Christmas is the time of year to embrace new beginnings and celebrate life and goodness. What better way to celebrate life and goodness than with fresh, healthy goodness filled fruits and vegetables from your own garden. There are many rewards from those spring projects that can be enjoyed now. New potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums, salad greens, strawberries, blueberries are just some of the harvests from the vegetable patch that are treats of Christmas feasting. Herbs harvested from your own herb bowls, pots and patches will add freshness, flavour and goodness to summer feasts and drinks. There is still a great range available to plant now.
Gifts that Grow
Indoor Jungle Vibe
Plants are excellent Christmas gifts and will continue to delight for long after the giving has occurred. Garden retailers are filled with fabulous gift ideas in every direction that you look. Indoor plants have seen a resurgence of popularity, and younger people have discovered the joys of sharing their lives with plants. Monsteras, ferns, pileas, figs, palms and zz plants are just some of the hundreds of green gifts that will thrill this Christmas. Indoor Jungles do not need to be only green. Spathiphyllum 'Peace Lily' is a great air purifying house plant. Always a wonderful gift and the bright white flowers and dark green foliage are perfect for Christmas. Brilliant Poinsettias are a seasonal decorating favourite and also a great gift idea. Poinsettias will bring brightness and life to any Christmas celebrations. Gloxinias, African Violets, Anthuriums and orchids are also great for adding splashes of colour to Christmas events.
There are endless living gift ideas for outdoors with trees, shrubs and ground covering plants available for every situation.
Citrus trees are Australia’s most popular fruiting tree grown in home gardens. Lemons, limes, oranges and mandarins are among some of the citrus varieties available now. There is a wonderful range of dwarf fruiting trees now available including many varieties of citrus trees. They produce abundant crops of full-sized tasty fruit and are ideal for smaller gardens and for growing in pots on patios and balconies.
Diamonds for Christmas
Crepe Myrtles or Lagerstroemias are fabulous small growing summer flowering trees. There are new ranges of this stunning flowering plant that have been bred to be very hardy, resistant to pests and diseases with a very colourful long flowering season.
The ‘Diamonds in the Dark®’ range of Crepe Myrtles feature flawless near-black foliage from early spring, followed by masses of vivid blooms throughout summer. Their compact growth habit makes attractive flowering hedges or beautiful trees to line driveways or boundaries. The Diamonds in the Dark® range are perfect for planting in decorative pots and would be a great gift to give this Christmas.
Summer Gardening Tasks
December is the beginning of Summer and the time to prepare the garden for the hot days ahead.
Adding a nice thick layer of mulch to garden beds now will help keep plant roots cool, retain moisture and make the most of any summer rains. Rocky Point have a great selection of mulches that can be used for this purpose.
Sugar Cane, Lucerne and Pea Straw mulches are particularly good in vegetable, herb and flower beds. With higher nutrient value and filled with organic matter, these mulches encourage earthworms to be working with us as they aerate and purify the soil.
Early morning and evening watering is a great way to enjoy the Summer garden. A chance to enjoy the splashes of colour, new growth and new life. Nice deep soakings two or three times a week is better than shallow watering each day. This encourages deep, strong root systems rather than the plants forming shallow surface roots that are more likely to dry out in the baking sun.
Test and make any repairs required to your garden irrigation now before the summer extremes are upon us. Applying water retention granules to your garden beds can reduce water use by up to 50% and help to utilise any summer rains.
Shady and full of Charm
Shady spots are where much of summer days are enjoyed. There are wonderful plants that love the shade and will have these areas full of life and colour through the warmer months. Fuschias, begonias, impatiens, clivias and hydrangeas are some of the plants that will help you to create your own oasis to escape the summer heat.
The Veggie Garden
There is an abundance of fresh and tasty food being harvested from the vegetable garden. The warm weather sees lots of growth and harvested plants can be replaced with crops that thrive in the summer conditions. Leafy salad greens such as Lettuce and Asian Greens can be replanted to ensure there is plenty for the summer events ahead. Cucurbits is the plant group that includes cucumbers, pumpkins, eggplants, zucchinis, squash, watermelons and rockmelons. These are all very productive in the vegetable garden over the warmer months. This is also a great time of year to plant Capsicum and Chili plants and these will produce lots of fruit during the summer months.
Christmas is a great opportunity to take some time to stop and appreciate the wonderful things that surround us. A time to enjoy friends and family. A time to enjoy and share our homes and gardens as places of beauty, belonging and peace that make a difference in our world. Happy Christmas and Happy Gardening.