Hanging around in the Holiday Season

Suzsi's Garden
Suzsi's Garden

Are you going away this Christmas break? Yes? I can hear your pot plants screaming already! That’s the problem, isn’t it? Who will look after your precious pot plants and hanging baskets while you go off for your vacation? Who will care for them as well as you do? In my family, the answer is no one.

My hanging baskets need watering twice a day in the hot months. Pansies droop like seaweed if I’m even a few hours late. And they’re not very forgiving! So, start preparing them at least a week before you leave. I prune mine. I take about one third off, so that they are not stressed. Then I remove dead leaves and apply a soluble fertiliser. Make it a little bit weaker than the instructions, because it can get concentrated in a pot, poisoning the plant. Finally, decide where to put them.

This is important because if your plants are all in one place, your errant neighbour won’t mind popping in twice a week to splash the hose around! An ideal spot is under a tree or against a wall that gets the morning sun. A flatbottomed paddling pool is ideal to cover in a layer of pebbles and then stand your baskets and pots on top. Instruct your neighbour to water just deep enough to cover the pebbles and your plants will keep cool and damp, but not over-watered. And when you come home, guess what? Your plants have been on holiday too! ♦

Send your garden queries to gardeningburwoodbulletin@gmail.com


Suzsi’s Garden Q&A

Hi Suzsi,

I read your article in the Burwood Bulletin. I am thankful for the great insight on how to manage and grow grass for the upcoming summer.
Could you throw some light on how to rejuvenate pot plants as well? I live in a unit without a garden. But I would love to grow some lemons, coriander and flowers in pots.

Regards, Sapan.

Hi Sapan,

Potted plants often struggle because of exposure. Their roots are hot in summer, cold in winter with rarely enough water. Ceramic pots require good drainage. Put a layer of stones at the base, topped with mulch. Rejuvenation? Check if its root-bound. Prune the roots, and re-pot using new soil. Keep the plant pruned. Don’t under or over water. Once dried out, it’s difficult to rewet the soil. Use a soil wetter and fertilise. And check for bugs and mould. Spray if/as required. Enjoy your garden. It won’t always work out the way you want, but then, what does?

Happy gardening, Suzsi

About Suzsi Mandeville 12 Articles
Suzsi Mandeville describes her gardening addiction as one of her three vices – along with writing and white wine! Suzsi has written two historical adventure novels, available on Amazon.com.