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13 November 2014

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Colin Evans

You are in: Berkshire > Local radio > Colin Evans > The holly and the ivy

Find the perfect Christmas tree

Find the perfect Christmas tree

The holly and the ivy

Colin shares his tips on how to decorate your house this Christmas with the perfect plants: holly, ivy, cotoneaster, conifer and viburnums. For plant prezzies, why not try azaleas? Also, how to protect your garden in the bleak midwinter.

We just do not know where we are in terms of the weather at present.

Hard frosts are expected over winter

Hard frosts are expected over winter

I have been out and about very early in the mornings and sometimes it's
been bitter with a hard frost and other mornings the rain is lashing
down and it's generally milder.

Some mornings the temperatures have been so low that the plants I have put in my shed have even been showing signs of damage from the cold. If you have plants like this stored away then check them over from time to time and just cover them lightly with sheets of newspaper especially if the weather forecast is for hard
frosts.

Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster

Greenery for Christmas decorating in the house can now be chosen and
earmarked to come indoors about a week before the big event.

Holly, ivy, cotoneaster, conifer and viburnums all make wonderful displays. All you need to do when the time comes is cut a section from the base of the
stem to create a fresh wound, this will take up water much more quickly.

I then like to use floral oasis, the water holding foam, as a base on
which to place the foliage. Simply drench the oasis block in water and
push the greenery into position, spray the whole display with fresh
water a and stand in position. Displays, if made nearer Christmas,
should last well into the new year.

Colin's plant of the week

Azalea indica will be given as gifts this Christmas. The best known of all azalea's, this lovely indoor plant will provide colour for many weeks. The most popular types are the pink ones but colours vary from white right through to reds, purples and yellows.

Azalea

Azalea

Keep the plant in an open position with plenty of natural light. Water as
often as you like as this plant likes plenty of water. The big enemy is
the heat of indoors so keep the plant somewhere cool and you won't go
wrong.

In the late spring indoor azalea's will benefit by being placed
outdoors in a sheltered shady spot.

TOPICAL TIPS:

1:   Cut hazel sticks now and store away to use as pea and bean sticks
for next season's crop. If you want new hazel then just push some sticks
into moist soil and rooting should take place by spring. You will then
have new trees for free. Hazel is also good to make a frame for
Christmas swags, wreaths and garlands if as soon as the stems are cut they are formed into shape with horticultural wire. You can then push green stems and other decorations into the gaps in the stems.

2:   If you are thinking about getting your Christmas tree soon then
choose a variety like Nordman Spruce, This variety will hang onto its
needles for a good time so can be planted in the garden once Christmas is over.

If you buy one without roots then treat it like a cut flower and place
it in a bucket of water during the festive season. If on the other hand
the tree is rooted, then treat it like a potted plant.

3:   Protect crowns and roots from frost by piling a mulch of leaves or
compost around them. Place a large flower pot filled with straw over
Rhubarb crowns and this will help to get earlier growth next year.

Happy Gardening

last updated: 08/12/2008 at 16:05
created: 08/12/2008

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