It HAS been a bit of a mixed bag, weatherwise, here in Seaford and quite windy to boot, so I have not really spent too much time in the garden this past week. Just some tidying up of the last leaves and cutting back a few tired looking flower stems.

I decided to buy three mini Christmas trees that I have potted up, ready to come into the house in the next week or so. I’ve got some small decorations I can use on them and some battery-operated small lights too.

With some careful looking after they should be able to go back outside for the year and be used again next Christmas.

In this column on December 21 last year, I mentioned that my mother had bought me a large poinsettia.

It looked amazing all over the festive season and I kept it in the living room all year. Surprise, surprise, I have managed to keep it going and more importantly, it has almost doubled in size.

Over the last few weeks, I have been making sure it is in the dark for about 14 hours every day and in bright light through the day. I’ve erected a three-framed clothes horse around it, set against the wall, thrown a blanket over the top and lo and behold, this week, some of the new leaves have started to turn red.

At this rate it will look pretty amazing over Christmas.

Looking good in my garden at the moment is a beautiful coronilla glauca. They can really light up your garden in winter, producing an abundance of lemon-yellow pea-like blooms that really do just keep on coming. While it tends to flower from December onwards, mine has certainly dazzled through some of the summer too. So, this very easy to grow shrub is capable of flowering for nine months or more, making it a worthy hard-working addition to any garden.

It is hardy and shows off its sweet-scented blooms against unusual blue-green foliage. In my experience, it is a very versatile shrub for almost any garden situation, performing particularly well in exposed locations and coastal areas. Its compact, rounded habit makes this tough little performer ideal for patio containers where you really get to appreciate the scent and pretty petite blooms. Alternatively, you can train it as a wall shrub for a spectacular upright display.

I’ve got three shrubs, all in my beach garden at the front of the house, and they take the full force of what the weather can throw at them. You can also cut the stems and brighten up the house during winter too.

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