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CHRISTMAS COLOUR IT is at this time of the year when Christmas is round the corner, shops are full of tinsel and those Christmas tracks of old are being played on the radio. You think you have weeks before you even have to think about sending a card or buying a present, then suddenly, its 2015. You should have now given the grass its last cut of the year, make sure you keep the grass free from rotting leaves etc., it is a good idea to give it an Autumn treatment too, this keeps the moss down and strengthens the grass roots for the winter, try and do this no later than Christmas, it is still mild, so will be fine. Also it keeps weeds down that start growing as soon as mild days arrive! I use Evergreen Autumn grass food. Worth the investment! Also keep the borders free of leaves and dying foliage, this helps reduce places where slugs and snails can over winter! I had some emails this month from a few readers who asked if there are any other highly scented shrubs I can recommend for the winter garden. Well there is! I do love those winter flowing shrubs with high scent that also do well when cut, so you can bring them into the house over Christmas and really enjoy that scent filtering around the home. It saves on those plug ins and seasonal air fresheners! Viburnum x Bodnantense ‘DAWN’ is one plant I won’t do without, it is one of the earliest flowering hardy shrubs and can on mild winters, flower as early as November! It is a little boring in summer but really makes up for it in winter, its origin - a Hybrid developed at Bodnant garden Cornwall in 1934! It all seems a little surreal talking about Christmas only being round the corner when we have just has the hottest Halloween on record with the mercury in southern counties reaching 240c! However it is soon time for Christmas decorations. I don’t think there is anything better than real, rather than false plants around the home, so here are a few ideas of plants and flowers to have around the home this Christmas. POINSETTIA. This is probably the most well known Christmas plant, with its bright red tips and green leaves. I often hear that people complain they can’t keep these long, leaves start falling off and become brown and go crispy. A few tips to consider - these plants seriously do

not like a rapid change in temperature, even when carrying from the shop to the car if there is a drop in temperature you will be in trouble. Keep it in a brightly lit room where temperature changes are minimal, not in direct sun or the leaves will burn. Water from the bottom and only once a week, and you could keep this plant until Easter! CHRISTMAS CACTUS (Schlumbergera bridgessii) The Christmas cactus will adapt to low light conditions, but the plant will produce blooms more readily if exposed to brighter light. Once again, bear in mind that too much direct sunlight can burn its leaves, so keep the Christmas cactus in an appropriate area to avoid this. Moisture is important as well. The plant requires frequent and thorough watering, especially during active growth in spring and summer. Allow Christmas cactus moisture levels to drop and dry out some between watering intervals, but never completely, and never let the plant sit in water, as this will lead to root and stem rot. AMARYLLIS is another popular plant. Tall and graceful, it sure does make a statement if placed in the center of a table or a windowsill, if you purchase a bulb, place the roots in warm water for a few hours before planting. Use a nutritious compost such as John Innes No. 2, with a little grit and multipurpose compost added. Place in a warm bright place, water sparingly until the stems appear. Stake as it gets bigger to keep it straight. Easy to look after. HOLLY. One of my favorite, cut and placed down the center of the Christmas Dinner table wrapped around candles really adds to that fantastic Christmas atmosphere. Use some spray snow to really bring these cut branches alive. When cut, you can place in water, however this plant will last a few days cut without water. The bright red berries only appear on the female plant. Surprisingly, while holly is a traditional Christmas plant, its origins date back to Druids, who thought the plant represented everlasting life. Christians adopted the plant as a symbol of Jesus’ promise of everlasting life. The RCHS would like to wish all its members and readers a very Happy Christmas, thank you to all of you who have contacted the RCHS this year and those who have joined as members. We have a great line up for 2015 which I am sure you will enjoy Please visit our website www.ruisliphorticultural.org.uk for full details about us and our shows, talks and becoming a member. In January, Our chairman Viv Ash will be telling you all about the history of the RCHS and the plans for 2015. In the meantime have a fantastic Christmas and don’t forget the garden!

Warren

Ruislip Dec 14  

A5 Colour, glossy magazine, delivered free each month to homes and businesses in the HA4 postcode area of Ruislip, Middlesex. Local informa...

Ruislip Dec 14  

A5 Colour, glossy magazine, delivered free each month to homes and businesses in the HA4 postcode area of Ruislip, Middlesex. Local informa...