A Calibrachoa mini-double makes a perfect groundcover.
A Calibrachoa mini-double makes a perfect groundcover.

Santa's going green with great gifts for avid gardeners

WHERE has that time gone, here we are only a month away from Christmas, so it really is time to attend to the urgent gift lists.

This week we have a few suggestions that may help, and would certainly be very acceptable for garden-loving friends and relatives, starting with something for folk in retirement mode.

This year is the 125th birthday of the Yates Company in Australia.

How about a Yates Commemorative Seed Tin containing a dozen packets of heirloom variety seeds such as Tomato Mortgage Lifter that bears fruit weighing up to 1.5kg.

The packet states 'must be staked' - no argument there.

Another is Purple Carrots, growing 20cm long with smooth purple skin and orange flesh.

Watercress is an interesting item that can be planted all-year round, is low growing with rounded leaves, juicy stems and tangy, peppery taste for salads, soups, stews and stir fries.

An interesting booklet is included, with a great potted history of Yates - the tin and seeds cost about $20 or so, and Sunray will have it available any time now.

Other welcome gifts include the Yates 43rd Garden Guide, still one of the best gardening reference books you can find, and one you can refer to for many years, and it has graced the gardening books best seller list for as long as we can remember.

Gardening magazines to suit our area are always popular gifts, and these include the quarterly subTropical Gardening magazine that has superb photography and articles by well-known and knowledgeable horticultural folk, who really know their subjects.

These can be ordered online at stgmagazine.com.au/subscribe.htm for four issues $35.80 including a 10% discount.

Previous copies are available, and they now have early copies on CD, so issues 1-10 or 11-20 can be bought for $55 each or the two for $88.

ATG - About the Garden is popular, and so suitable for all who live in this part of Queensland, as it's produced by the Searle Company at Kilcoy.

Free copies can be obtained from member nurseries, or you can gift them to a loved one for just $18 annually, or $30 for two years. Look it up on aboutthegarden.com.au.


Colourful plants

Solenostemon scutellarioides, better known to us as coleus, is a colourful perennial, well-suited to our climate conditions, with superb foliage colours that look good all year round.

Like many "common" plants, they are easy-to-grow, hardy, reasonably priced, rarely touched by pests or diseases, and make great display plants, providing beautiful contrasts for hosts of other shrubs, annuals and perennials, and you can grow your own from cuttings so easily.

We simply prune them back, and either use the cuttings as indoor decorations, which start developing roots in a couple of weeks, or dip them into honey and pot into Yates Seed Raising Mix which is ideal for cuttings.

You could have some growing in time for Christmas.

The hybrid petunia Calibrachoa minifamous double is described as "an exciting breakthrough bringing the world's first double Calibrachoa". We absolutely agree, it's stunning!

They're available multi-planted in 175mm pots with several different colours that create an unbelievable display up to some 75-90cm across and 15-20cm tall.

Ideal for baskets and large pots in the sun, they'd make great gifts, or use them as groundcovers in the garden.


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