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Gardening Column. ;(By J. W. Robinson, of the Ormond Plant Farm Pty. Ltd.) Plants as Christmas Gifts. Plants ias Christmas gifts should appeal to most people ; in fact, the most appropriate gift for this sea son of the year should be something. living and growing, and there is not the slightest doubt that Australia is becoming more and more plant and tree-minded in the matter of Christmas gifts every year. In the older countries of Europe and in the comparatively young continent of America, the giving of growing trees, plants or flowers at Christmas has long been popular. If your friends. have a garden, your choice of selection is great, as the varieties of trees and shrubs and other gar den plants is legion, and there is the advantage that your gift is always in evidence and growing in size and beauty year by year. It requires attention occasionally, when the re cipient will be reminded of the giver. Among the many and varied sub jects to select from at this season of. the year are various conifers es tablished in pots or small tubs, decid uous trees established in petrol tins or pots, and in these days you can secure trees of this description 8 to 10ft. high if desired, which can be planted with perfect safety. Hy drangeas have been popular sub-: jects at Christmas for many..years, and since the advent of the new colors, their popularity has In creased, and they have this advan tage that they are nicely in flower at the time and can be used as Christ mas decorations for a few weeks and afterwards planted in the garden. Miniature polyantha roses are also in flower in pots in numerous varie ties; evergreen and deciduous shrubs, the astilbe or herbaceous spiraeas, with their long, plumy heads of pink, carmine, lavender and mauve ; fuchsins are also in bloom. About now is also the time for planting dahlias, chrysanthemums, anti gladioli for autumn blooming. Half a dozen or a dozen of either of these useful autumn flowers would not only be acceptable just now, but interest in them would be maintained right up to their flowering period. A woman, whether young or old, always appreciates cut flowers, and Christmas is a time when floral de corations are appreciated. Christ mas i s a time also when flowers are greatly in demand and are aot' always plentiful ; so if you are think ing of sending flowers, it is as well to put in the order to your local supplier as early as possilse, so that yeaour wants in this direction can be provided for. Watering and hosi"lg will now be a very inecessary garden operation, and where the ground can he mulched with any material such as short, strawy manure or even grass clippings, the water hill will be saved considerably anti also the in bo!. If the ground is dry, a casual sprinkling over the ground and over the tops of the plants whilst holding a hose is of very little value. The watering must be done by ia sprinkler' andl allowed to remain in one posi tion for at least 20 minutes, and in some cases, especially in heavy soil, half an hour would not be too long. The planting out of annuals for late summer and autumn flowering can still bhe proceeded with, and the planting of dahlias is one of the main oneratiors betwecn now and the New Year. Pot plants in the house or in the verandahs would be greatly helped at. this time of the year if you could give the tops of the pots a dressing of moss. This retains the moisture and tends to keep the roots cool and prevents evaporation.

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