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In the garden: December

A succulent wreath is fabulous way to ring in the festive season. You can make your own frame from grape or wisteria vines, or purchase a round metal frame from the local craft store. Secure sphagnum moss to the wreath with twine or flexible wire, insert a mix of succulent cuttings into the moss and secure with floral pins.

Mulch garden beds well to help suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture. WhoflungDung is our choice as it’s biologically active and adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.

If a heatwave is expected, apply a seaweed solution to the whole garden - including the lawn - to help strengthen plants and help them cope with the heat stress. Erecting a shade cloth will help too, but if it’s not possible on short notice, even a large umbrella will help.

Now is a great time to plant autumn bulbs. Nerine, lycoris (spider lily) autumn crocus, paint brush lily (Scadoxus), crinum lily, and naked lady (Amaryllis), are ideal choices. Ensure the soil is well drained and improved with organic matter prior to planting.

Turn up the colour with seasonal flowers. Petunias, calibrachoas, portulaca, lobelias, snapdragons and more will be available at the local garden centre. Pot them up and position them around the front entrance to make a winning welcome. Feed regularly with a fertiliser formulated for flowers to keep the show going.

Looking for a last-minute gift? Make it a flowering potted plant. Poinsettias are great as their bright red bracts and deep green leaves lend themselves beautifully to the classic Christmas. They can be a little traditional, so for something different, try a mini potted herb garden or a gorgeous potted blue hydrangea?