It has certainly been a year of challenges and changes, and as we reach the final month of the year, for many, this is a time to celebrate being able to once again be with friends and family.
The restrictions, cancellations, closures and isolations of the year has highlighted the importance of many things that had become normal, that should have been special. The values of family, friendships, relationships and community are more valued and precious than ever before as we begin to establish the new ‘normals’ of life.
Celebrate the Sanctuary of Home
There is a saying that ‘Home Is Where the Heart Is’. We have experienced a year in which there has been the opportunity to bring ‘The Heart Back to the Home’. With travel restrictions, Stay at Home directives, Work from Home obligations, Learn at Home requirements and Stay Healthy at Home necessities, the home has become our sanctuaries. The home should be a place to feel safe, secure, and comfortable. Festivities this year may not only be celebrating Christmas but include celebrations of the birthdays, anniversaries, welcome backs, congratulations and the ‘well done’s’ that were missed throughout the year.
This Christmas will be a great time of coming together with friends and family to celebrate the good things of life.
Decorate to Celebrate
Growing plants indoors brings the goodness, freshness and life of nature into our sanctuaries. There are great plants that are perfect Christmas decorations for the home this year. 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 is a huge selection of ferns, palms, monsteras, philodendrons, vines and hanging plants to add the jungle vibe to this year’s events.
Celebrate with Colour
There is still time to plant out flowering annuals or potted colour to have the garden looking a picture for December celebrations. Alyssum, celosia, cosmos, gerbera, impatiens, lobelia, nasturtium, marigold, petunia, phlox, portulaca, vinca and zinnia plants are some of the favourites for this time of year. These can be planted out as seedlings if you are quick, but advanced cell packs and potted colour pots are already flowering and the convenient way to enjoy instant results.
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.’ New generation Geraniums have been bred to be compact plants producing 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. Why not add some jungle bells to Christmas with stunning flowering fuchsias. The delightful flower balls pop open into incredible colourful hanging bells. These are also great in hanging baskets and are fun plants to decorate your festive events. 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.
A living Christmas tree can grow with the family and be part of the celebrations year after year. Pines are a traditional Christmas tree option, and the fragrance is fantastic. There are lots of native alternatives and the Australian Woolly Bush ‘Adenanthos sericeus’ (pictured) is a popular choice for this important honour. There is a great selection of excellent potted Christmas trees available for your family celebrations.
Fabulous Festive Feasts
The sharing of meals together is a highlight of celebrations. 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 and 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.
Garden Centres and plant retailers are filled with living gift ideas. Plants are perfect gifts to say, ‘Thank You’, ‘You are Appreciated’, ‘I’ve Missed You’ and ‘Happy Christmas’. Whether for someone with a huge garden, or small balcony or patio, there are plants available for every situation.
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.
For a Shady Position
Summer days in a shady spot enjoying a cool drink is a great place to be. There are lots of plants to add life and colour to these favourite summer locations. Hydrangeas are a favourite gift and are available in many different colours. The impressive, huge flower heads will delight the receiver and can be planted in pots or in the shady garden for years of pleasure.
Scent for Christmas
The more senses that are stimulated during an experience, the more memorable the experience is. The sights, sounds, tastes, feel and scents of Christmas makes Christmas special. Fragrant plants add beautifully to the Christmas experience.
Roses are the world’s favourite flower. The varieties, colours, forms, and fragrances are incredible. Roses are a fabulous gift idea for Christmas.
The wonderful scent of Gardenias in flower is delightful. The bright pure white blooms are highlighted against the lush, dark green foliage. They flower brilliantly during December and will be a fragrant Christmas feature during the years ahead.
Trachelospermum jasminoides or Star Jasmine is a fabulous climbing plant. Lush deep green foliage and abundant displays of white, fragrant star flowers make this plant perfect to grow on a cone or totem to create a living Christmas tree for the future.
Share the sweet scents of the tropics with someone special this Christmas. The fragrance of Frangipani flowers is unmissable during summer in warmer regions of our country. They are available in a huge range of colours and will become a prized feature in a large pot or in the garden.
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 are perfect 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.
Rocky Point would like to wish everyone an incredibly happy and safe Christmas as you enjoy and celebrate the good things of life with families and friends.