You've got the Christmas food and gifts sorted, but have you considered giving the garden a merry makeover?
You've got the Christmas food and gifts sorted, but have you considered giving the garden a merry makeover? maiteali

Add some Christmas cheer in the garden

YES, it's about that time when the jolly, red-suited man will make an appearance on his sleigh to distribute presents and ho-ho-ho.

We've also started to think about Christmas food, Christmas presents and Christmas holidays. But what about Christmas gardens?

Whether your Christmas colour theme is purest snowy white, sparkly silver and purple or traditional green, gold and red, you can coordinate your decorations with some gorgeous pots of flowers to brighten up your Christmas dinner table or outdoor entertainment area.

Early November is the time to get planting so your potted creations are looking fabulous for the Christmas party season.

Here is some inspiration:

  • Crisp white lobelias, alyssum and geraniums combined with trailing Dichondra Silver Falls.
  • Hanging baskets filled with vibrant red calibrachoas and cascading white lobelia.
  • A planter bowl with a showy red geranium in the centre surrounded by a halo of white alyssum.
  • Purple and white petunias and grey-leafed cineraria Silver Dust planted together in a decorative trough.

To promote lots of healthy growth and festive flowers, keep the pots well watered and feed each week.

Some other ideas you may like to think about: An outdoor canopy or tent for a family party, fairy lights wrapped around trees, citronella candles, a new Weber for barbecuing those prawns, or making sure you feed the vegetable garden well so you can pull out some fresh vegies and herbs to serve to guests.

Before guests arrive you can add some final touches to pots such as ribbons, baubles and sprigs of holly and tinsel.

A young fan of jacarandas.
A young fan of jacarandas. Renee Albrecht


JACARANDAS are at their spectacular purple flowering best in mid to late October and November.

In Grafton, where there are hundreds of jacarandas, the town celebrates with an annual Jacaranda Festival, and there is a haze of jacaranda blue in many other places across the country.

Not only are jacarandas gorgeous when in flower, they are fabulous shade trees for large gardens and parklands. The leaves fall in mid spring and is followed by a glorious floral display.

Native to South America, jacarandas grow best in temperate and tropical climates, however in cooler areas they will tolerate light frosts once established.

Jacarandas prefer a well-drained soil enriched with concentrated organic matter and fertiliser.

Sprinkle fertiliser around the root zone every 6-8 weeks during the warmer months, gently tickle it into the top soil, water in well and then mulch around the tree with an organic mulch like bark chips. This will help keep the roots protected and reduce moisture loss from the soil.

Try your hand at growing your own radishes.
Try your hand at growing your own radishes. chengyuzheng


ADD some French flair into your cooking with some French breakfast radishes.

Yates's French breakfast radish are crisp and tasty finger-length radishes that are vivid red with a white tip. They're super quick to grow and will be ready to harvest in just 4-8 weeks. They can be grown in both a vegie patch or in pots, so even the tiniest balcony gardens can include home-grown radishes.

Here's how to get started:

  • Find a sunny spot that receives at least six hours of sun a day.
  • Sow seed 6mm deep and keep the soil or potting mix moist. Seedlings will pop up in 5-8 days.
  • After two weeks thin any excess seedlings out so they're spaced 3-5cm apart.
  • Feed each week with liquid plant food, which provides a complete diet for radishes and helps promote healthy leaf growth and delicious radishes.

In addition to salads, here is some delicious radish recipe inspiration: Rozanne Gold's Bucatini with French breakfast radishes, bacon and greens -

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