Brighten up your garden this winter

Amateur Garden Column

Are you feeling the woes of winter and need something to brighten up your garden?
Two cheery plants for winter are the beautiful orange tree and the Clivea.
Both having green glossy leaves and sparking dashes of colour.
The orange tree is so pretty at this time of the year with the fruits contrasting well with the leaves. An orange tree is one of the few plants that can be bearing fruit and still flowering at the same time! The smell of an orange tree in flower can be so overpowering and never forgotten.
Many a spring bride for well over a hundred years has followed Queen Victoria’s lead and included orange blossom in their bridal bouquet, with a buttonhole of orange blossom for the groom.
Oranges need a warm sunny position out of the wind and prefer a slightly acid soil.
If your fruit is sour try adding Epsom Salts (Magnesium sulphate) and Sulphate of Potash to sweeten the fruit, leaving fruit on the tree until fully ripe.
Like all citrus oranges need a good feed of a citrus or rose fertiliser three or four times a year, making the first application in late August or September.
If you notice galls appearing, from the citrus gall wasp, on your citrus- make sure all galls are removed and placed in the green recycling bin.
Orange trees generally need not be pruned and form a pleasing shape.
The elegant Clivea plant was named after Lady Charlotte Clivea who introduced the plants to England.
Cliveas come in shades from cream to yellow, or vivid orange.
They are easy care plants that enjoy the shade and need to be out of the hot summer afternoon sun.
They appreciate a good feed of general fertiliser in the seasons of spring and summer.
Keep the water up to them in the hotter months, but in winter they dislike having wet feet.
For maintenance in the garden in August cut back your Shasta Daisies, and thin and divide if they are becoming over crowded – usually every four to five years.
Shasta Daisies– Leucanthemum x surperbum, like a soil that is fertile, well drained and enjoy several hours of sunshine a day to be at their best, flowering for many months of the year in summer and spring.
The white daisy petals that surround the middle yellow centre are good for attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.

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