Tips for Christmas gardening

Jackie French shares the six steps to a Christmas in bloom.
  1. Delight in our New Zealand Christmas tree, the pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), which flowers in the lead-up to Christmas. The flower is made of hundreds of red stamens topped with yellow filament. It’s best grown in seaside locations but will bloom in any warm spot in the country.

  2. Plant ‘Christmas lilies’ –thick-stemmed fragrant white lilies that bloom from December to January. Tiger lilies may bloom for Christmas, too, if you keep them well-watered with their heads in sunlight and feet in dappled shade.

  3. Buy pots of bloomers such as spreading red and white double petunias and hang them in baskets on either side of a sunny front door.

  4. Water! In summer’s heat, a good feed and watering three or four weeks before Christmas and regular watering thereafter will give you another bloom of roses and more flowers on your annuals and dahlias in time for Christmas Day.

  5. Think summer flowering shrubs: buddleja or butterfly bush, hibiscus, the dinner plate-sized flowers of Magnolia grandiflora, or the white to pink haze of smoke bush (Cotinus).

  6. Go for patio glory – pots or hanging baskets of dwarf bougainvillea in white, purple, red and orange, or cherry pie-scented heliotrope in white or purple.

Words by Jackie French

Photos by Getty Images

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