New England gardening: A green festive season

A living Christmas tree: A natural celebration of the festive season and an alternative to an artificial tree.

A living Christmas tree: A natural celebration of the festive season and an alternative to an artificial tree.

I hope everyone’s gardens were under at least some of the recent rains. That probably means weeding and mulching are the focus now – small price to pay for not being in drought!

Mulch any bare earth areas to reduce moisture loss and protect the soil surface from temperature extremes. Keep the mulch away from the trunks and stems to reduce the possibility of the bark softening and rotting.

In the garden, generally continue with tasks that are ongoing at the moment; prune and feed shrubs that have finished flowering and deadhead, especially roses, to encourage more flowers. In the vegie garden continue successive of sowings lettuce and other salad greens.

The Armidale Garden Club recently finished the 2017 year with a Christmas barbecue prior to the regular meeting. Thanks very much to Michael Cherry for organising the giant Christmas raffle, which meant 10 people were each able to take home a useful garden-related item. The funds raised will contribute to the running of the club, particularly the insurances.

The Toss Frazier Memorial Trophy for 2017 was awarded to Ray Monty. Susan Cantrell was a close second and Maria Hitchcock in third, with an encouragement award to Laurie Pulley. Our next meeting will be the fourth Thursday in February. 

If you are having family and/or friends visiting over the Christmas period, try to get the lawns mown a few days before they arrive, to reduce the clippings that might be tracked into the house. With the warmer weather, don’t mow your lawns too short as this can expose the roots and the lawn can become susceptible to heat stress. 

The last days and weeks for getting organised for Christmas shopping are upon us. Some of us will still be creating our lists.

Our local nurseries have great gift ideas and experts on hand to help with suggestions. You can hardly go wrong with secateurs, gardening gloves or a kneeling pad. Other ideas could include a heat pack for sore muscles, a bee-house, hammock, pruning saw or a worm farm. The local book shops also have great selections of garden-related books.

Have a fabulous Christmas, enjoy the holiday times, stay safe and do consider a living Christmas tree!