This month in your garden

During the late autumn as the weather cooled down, flowers started to appear on the citrus trees, which is really out of season as we usually enjoy them in the spring time and watch the bees having a feeding frenzy. Hopefully there will not be more ferocious storms as we had in the ‘Autumn’, a word I always use loosely here, as in my opinion we only have summer and winter seasons.  Storms can wreak havoc especially amongst the citrus trees just when we need the juice for Vitamin C. Feed them this month with 20.10.10 fertiliser – three mugsful for mature trees and a mugful for young trees. This will give the citrus leaves a boost whilst the fruits are ripening. Find a spot halfway between the trunk and the tree canopy where the feeding roots are and put the food and your irrigation nozzles there. This is a really good time to get them in, giving them a chance to settle whilst the soil is damp. Established trees and shrubs may need a tidy up.  Cut out any dead or diseased branches and those that cross in the middle of the tree.

Tiny native cyclamen are pushing up their attractive, green silver-mottled leaves, which have been dormant since late spring, and it is a wonder of nature that they survive our hot weather.

Every dog has his day and so do Poinsettias, and although they have been on sale since mid-November, their special day is December 12, so ensure that you have your plants by then in order to make the most of them. You may find them tricky to grow and watering is sometimes a problem. The best way is to hold the plant pot over a bowl and let water trickle through, before displaying them in a draught-proof place. Despite all the ease in which they are brought to the point of sale nowadays, they are still a tricky plant to keep looking good once you get them home.  They need a bright spot in your living room and watered only when dry.

Orchids are produced so cheaply these days (every supermarket has them on display) that they are no longer the expensive ‘special’ gifts to give to someone. They are available in wonderful colours, but beware, as some of the colours are not natural and have been artificially applied by the growers.  Some growers think that cacti and other plants such as tiny fir trees should be smothered in fake snow in time for Christmas, but give them a miss, for although they may look attractive for a short while, the plants cannot tolerate the coated leaves and will soon demise.