in the de­cem­ber gar­den

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Outdoor Inspiration -

Beef up the per­fume de­part­ment of your gar­den with a pot or two of gar­de­nia or mur­raya. Placed on a ve­ran­dah or close to an en­trance, these two sweet-scented beau­ties will be­witch any­one who comes close.

Check out the fab­u­lously di­verse

range of hi­bis­cus, bougainvil­leas and hy­drangeas, which are now ap­pear­ing in nurs­eries.

Add a touch of nat­u­ral class

to your home with pot­ted in­door plants. Rub­ber plants (Fi­cus elas­tica), as­pidis­tras and Mon­stera de­li­ciosa can be re­lied on for rich green beauty, while a fid­dle leaf fig (Fi­cus lyrata) makes an ideal fea­ture plant. Pot up gar­den con­tain­ers with petu­nias and New Guinea im­pa­tiens for a good show of colour through to au­tumn.

Pinch out the grow­ing tips

of tomato plants for bushi­ness, wa­ter reg­u­larly and fer­tilise once flow­ers and fruit ap­pear.

Prune once-flow­er­ing spring roses

as soon as they have bloomed, to save your­self a job later in the year.

Start mulching beds with a good or­ganic cov­er­ing such as pea straw, sugar cane mulch or lucerne hay. If us­ing wood­chips, first ap­ply a ni­tro­gen-rich fer­tiliser to the soil.

Ap­ply a wet­ting agent

to con­tainer plants.

Seek out a well-shaped conifer

to do duty in­side as a Christ­mas tree. Af­ter the fes­tiv­i­ties are over, move it out­side, tak­ing care not to ex­pose it sud­denly to swel­ter­ing sun.

To stop mosquitoes

breed­ing in wa­ter in saucers un­der pot plants, fill the saucers with sand.

Don’t leave hoses

ly­ing around un­der the hot sum­mer sun when not in use. Like plants, they some­times need some shade.

Clean gut­ters and re­move de­bris

ly­ing around out­side, es­pe­cially in bush­fire-prone ar­eas.

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