If all the year's garden toil culminated in the beautiful outdoor space you have to enjoy with your family and friends this holiday it will be worthwhile. An alfresco Christmas brunch or lunch in your garden or an evening garden party will manifest memories for you and your guests to treasure. Even if you simply throw down a picnic blanket, read a good book in your hammock or try your hand at photography with your borders as a glorious background! Your garden may provide the sanctuary you need when time-out from the hustle and bustle of this silly season is just what you need.
Between the indulgent periods of rest and celebration your holidays at home need not be wasted as there is lots going on in Hilton gardens right now. Annuals need dead-heading, the dead leaves on Dierama and Watsonia need to be removed, Wisteria's straggling side shoots must be controlled, jasmine, petrea, Weigelia and Phiuladelphus need trimming, Chrysanths need cutting back and both late flowering Irises and gazanias can be divided.
With the bountiful rain do not neglect areas sheltered from receiving rainfall. We hope you have installed a Jojo to stock some of the rainwater. So much rain also brings fungal problems so keep spraying, if you do.
Ageratum, alyssum, aquilegia, balsam, begonia, Bellis perennis, candytuft, coleus, cosmos, dahlia (bedding), dianthus, gazania, godetia, gypsophila, hollyhocks, impatiens, lavatera, lobelia, marigold, nasturtium, petunia, portulaca, salvia, sunflower, verbena, and zinnia seeds are good to sow as are bean, beet, carrot, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, leek, lettuce, pumpkin, radish, spinach, squash, sweetcorn and tomato in the vegetable garden.
For those going away from home this holiday you may want to mow the lawn lower than normal and water it well but don't fertilise. Mulch around shrubs and other plants after giving them a good soaking. Pick all the fruit in the garden, even that which is not quite ripe, unless you have planned the picking with friends or neighbours. Run a few centimetres of water in the bath and place indoor pots in it or pots can be taken into a shady part of the garden and buried up to their rims in soil. Water the surrounding soil and the pots well. Plants can also be watered by punching a few tiny holes in the top of a two litre plastic juice bottle, then place it, inverted next to the plant needing water. Water will gradually seep into the soil.
Whether at home or away we wish all the avid and wannabe gardeners and any other interested readers a safe and Merry Christmas time!