Add some Christmas cheer indoors

Poinsettias are another wonderful festive plant for indoors. Unfortunately due to its tropical nature the plant is actually hard to keep in our Irish climate
This is the time of the year when most people will decorate their houses with pot plants and foliage from the garden. It allows you to enjoy foliage plants from the garden in the comfort of your home and these home-made decorations always look better than anything you can buy.

This is the time of the year when most people will decorate their houses with pot plants and foliage from the garden. It allows you to enjoy foliage plants from the garden in the comfort of your home and these home-made decorations always look better than anything you can buy.

The traditional circular door wreath can be made using a ring of oasis, available at flower shops. Soak the oasis in water and place a layer of Christmas tree foliage around the outside of the ring, with a layer of smaller pieces on the inside of the ring. Fill the top area of the ring with variegated holly and some shrubs with berries, like skimmia. Attach wire to some pine cones and stick them into the arrangement, these cones can be sprayed with silver or gold paint. To add colour, stick in some red roses.

A circular wreath can also be made using a wire clothes hanger bent into the shape of a circle. Cover the wire by twisting long stems of ivy around the wire and holding them in place using a piece of string or wire to form a twig hoop.

Take small pieces of foliage like holly and Christmas tree, strip the bottom third of each stem and stick them into the twig hoop. Tie in a few bunches of berries or flowers to add colour to the
 wreath.

A long, low arrangement of holly, evergreens and berries is the perfect way to set off your Christmas dinner table. Take a long, low container and cut a piece of oasis to fit into the container. The oasis is available at garden centres and flower shops. Soak the oasis in water. Tie three cocktail sticks onto a candle using tape and stick it into the oasis. Take short pieces of foliage plants like evergreens and holly, strip the lower third of each stem and stick a row of them around the top of the container so that they droop down. Continue building up the sides of the display with more foliage. When the sides are complete, conceal the top and base of the candle with more foliage. Finally, insert a few pine cones and fresh flowers to complete the display. The size of the arrangements is determined by the amount of space available to display them.

Pot Grown Fruit Trees

Gardens are reducing in size and many city gardens are disappearing to make room for car parking. Growing fruit trees in pots or containers take up little space and can be grown by gardeners living in apartments with only a terrace or small patio. If you have little space or a drab patio, growing a fruit tree will supply you with wonderful delicious fruit and brighten up your patio.

Peaches are ideal for growing in containers, they taste delicious when picked fresh from a tree. They can be moved inside to a greenhouse or sheltered area in December and moved outside after flowering in spring.

Although self fertile, it is necessary to hand pollinate them because they flower too early for insects to pollinate them. Use an artist’s brush to transfer the pollen from one flower to the next by gently stroking the flowers.

The grapevine not only produces grapes for wine making or for eating, but it is also ornamental. Vines grown in pots are best trained as a standard where the main trunk is about 4 feet tall with a head of fruit spurs at the top.

Figs are rampant plants so their roots must restricted in a pot. The fruit develops at the tips so to get a good crop, pinch out the growing tips in June to about 6 leaves. This will encourage new shoots which are necessary to produce figs in the following year. The main pruning is done in the dormant season by cutting back some of the older wood to young shoots. If you want something exotic for your conservatory why not try a lemon or orange or olive tree.

I would like to thank all my readers for their comments during the year and wish them aa a very happy Christmas.