How to take care of an azalea plant indoors

How to take care of an azalea plant indoors

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How to take care of an azalea plant indoors


Outdoor Roses: Essential Tips

Fresh from the garden and in full blossom! And I say this on a sunny, brilliant spring day – when all the roses are outside and the garden is awash with color. Yes, I am an orange rose fan, but I’ve made enough new friends over the last year that I’ve just about given up complaining about the endless, rambling path which leads to our Rose of Remembrance, Aussie Yellow.

It’s almost bed time now and the roses are all out-of-doors. Soon, it will be time to ‘turn them out’, and many new and younger varieties will follow in their footsteps, carrying on the tradition and pushing out the older and more established varieties.

I love what their expert horticulturist Rowan Hill has to say about spring roses. “They’re quite heavy-footed and take up lots of space, but they’re stunning when they start to flower. Roses attract wildlife such as bees, butterflies and birds, and they’re often a magnet for the kids. Children love playing hide-and-seek around rose beds and arbours, they climb into them to spy on the flying insects and explore their complex contours.”

Well, that’s a good reason to have one or more rose beds, isn’t it? To enjoy the spring weather from the comforts of a living and colorful ‘outdoor’ space, and to show off the beauty of roses – the flowers themselves, the gorgeous gardens of yesteryear, the free wildlife that comes with such living things. And of course, the whole point of having roses in the garden is to encourage your children to make friends with them, too!

As we see in the image above, a rose is an evergreen plant which produces an annual head of blossoms. When a rose is fully flowering and the petals are dropping off, and before the buds are even in leaf, many wild creatures will look to it for food, especially birds. It also provides nutrients to the garden, and attracts a great deal of wildlife, especially when the spring conditions are right.

If you can establish a little ‘nursery’ for your fresh, new ‘trees’, it will provide great benefit to the establishment of a solid, comfortable base for them. When you take the time to nurture this new part of the garden, it will benefit the rest, and enhance your property value. You can support new growth by the simple, free act of planting something close to, or adjacent to, it.

You’ll notice that you might well find a lot of indications of an upcoming summer in the garden if you’re starting from seed or cuttings. And many things are flowering now that won’t be in full bloom for a couple of weeks.

We’ve made some major cuts to our turf this year, thanks to winter’s toughy weather. We’re seeing geraniums, yarrows, sage, heather, black-eyed Susans, lambsquarter, chives, mints, hyssop, and chamomile in a kitchen garden.

The perennials have started to come into bud. (Who could possibly forget?) I’m currently on a very serious thistle kick, too, as you’ll see in another blog post.

Along with these beautiful – but very short-lived – flowers and shrubs, we have fresh vegetables and herbs in the kitchen garden. It’s the dry spring weather which does the trick – we’ve had heavy and continuous rain, and then followed it up with hot, dry weather which didn’t melt the snow on the lawn.

All of this means that we have come in at the tail end of growing seasons for many of our vegetables and flowers.

Outdoor living is hard, because it involves working with the seasons. There will be winter flowers, then spring flowers. Then there’s summer flowering… then fall.

Take heart, however – there’s a little trick that you can use to help your new plants, flowers, and vegetables to cope with the lack of water and the hardening of the ground from winter’s chilly weather. The trick is to make sure they are properly ‘hardened off’ before they are put in the garden.

An ‘hardened off’ garden – like a vegetable garden – is a good place to grow plants for the first time. Plants can be left in the pots, seeds can be sown directly in the garden, or cuttings can be planted out without a trellis. I’ve been watering the outdoor plants during the day, in a very even fashion, and they have been placed on raised beds.

You can see that they will be less likely to get eaten up by slugs or other pests if they’re placed in a sunny spot in a patch of rich soil. Take them out, for a couple of weeks, to grow bigger, and then replant them in the garden. In autumn or winter, remove them again, and put them in a heated greenhouse or sun room to encourage the roots to grow deeper and to help them survive the winter.

You can harden off cuttings in exactly the same way. Place them in a warm, moist atmosphere, and



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