Winter is definitely with us, and all but a few deciduous trees have now lost their leaves.
If your lawn is thick with leaves that have fallen from deciduous trees, they can prevent light from reaching the grass and make the lawn turn yellow and become less healthy, so it can be worth finding the time to remove them from your lawn.
The easiest way to collect your leaves from the lawn is to mow over them and collect them in the grass catcher. If you want some great exercise that will also warm you up, then go for the rake - half an hour raking does the job just as well and provides a free workout!
Put the leaves into the compost or make leaf mould with them, by storing the leaves in big garbage bags for 12 months. You can also put them straight onto your garden beds as mulch.
Cyclamen are terrific for adding a cheerful splash of colour to the winter garden. Cyclamen are dormant throughout summer and have green or patterned, round or kidney-shaped leaves that appear in autumn, followed by small, bright flowers that poke up through the foliage in midwinter.
The hardy miniature cyclamen, C. hederifolium, naturalises beneath deciduous trees and tolerates cold winters.
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Cyclamen also make good houseplants indoors but note that the house plant variety is Cyclamen persicum which is quite different to the smaller C. hederifolium.
Cyclamen in pots indoors need a location with good light, but not direct sun, and one which is airy and not in rooms that are too hot or stuffy. The potting mix needs to be kept just moist but not soggy and is best if you let it dry out completely before watering.
Watering from the top can cause the crowns to rot, so sit the pot in a tray of water and allow the pot to soak it up. Remove yellowing leaves and dead flowers by plucking them out from their base.
The Armidale Garden Club's next meeting is on Thursday, June 23 at 7:00pm at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall. For more info, please call 0412589414; otherwise just come along!
For anyone who liked the look of the tree dahlias in the May 18 edition of this Armidale Express series, there will be stems of tree dahlias available at this meeting.
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