o Plant a winter garden. Every year, I always tell myself that I’ll give myself a break after the summer, but I inevitably end up filling the garden with winter veggies and flowers. You’ll feel so much better spending time outdoors rather than hibernating inside. Plus you’ll have lots of fresh veggies to eat in a few months time and flowers to brighten up the place
o Plant potted colour such as pansies and polyanthus in hanging baskets for an instant display of colour outdoors. Hanging baskets need not necessarily be suspended. We do hang a few off the edges of our washing line but also like lining them along our concrete slab with outdoor furniture, as they are nice to view while we’re sitting outside
o Plant miniature bulbs such as tete-a-tete daffodils in troughs for a colourful display. This year, we have tete-a-tete daffodils, iris reticulata and dwarf freesias in plastic terracotta troughs along the pathway as you walk up to the house. I simply cannot wait for these to bloom as they are sure to look magnificent!
o Pick flowers from your garden and put them in a vase inside. It will bring colour and maybe even a beautiful scent into the room. At the moment, we have jonquils from outside in a vase on our kitchen windowsill
o Buy an indoor house plant. Moth orchids are popular but it can be tricky getting them to flower again. I don’t have a good track record with indoor house plants, having killed all the ones we have had over time
o Grow herbs to add to winter dishes. Many, such as parsley and coriander, will grow – if not thrive – in cooler weather
o Decorate the house with ornamental gourds grown over the summer
o It’s nearly July, which means that Kings Seeds and Egmont Seeds will soon be sending out their annual seed catalogues. Browsing through their colour catalogues and thinking about all the things you plan to grow in the garden in summer can cheer you up if you’re suffering from the winter blues
o Pick a bunch of rhubarb for some delicious home baking. Rhubarb can be used in cakes, loaves and crumbles. A couple of days ago, mum made a beautiful rhubarb loaf from homegrown rhubarb, following a recipe that I found online in this week’s Viva magazine in the NZ Herald. It was the first time that I have ever tasted rhubarb and the loaf was sensational. If you don’t have rhubarb in your garden, you can easily find plants in most garden centres. We recently purchased four plants from Bunnings in Botany who were having a 50% off sale before they closed their garden centre for renovations. Alternatively, do what I did and grow rhubarb from seed. I sowed the variety “Cherry Red” from Kings Seeds two years ago and we now have one large healthy plant in the garden, plus two smaller plants which need to go into the garden soon
o Think about growing some flowers for drying, which you can use to make pot pouri with.
o If you’re artistically inclined, paint a picture of some aspect of your garden. One of my best friends is very artistic and painted a beautiful picture of some purple hostas from some flowers she once had in her apartment, which she gave to me as a gift the last time she came over to visit me
o If you have excess produce, make some preserves. At this time of the year, lemons are plentiful so you could look up recipes for ways to preserve them. We have a wonderful lemon pickle recipe in our family, which tastes divine with fresh chillies from the garden added to it