Chelsea van Rijn
Chelsea van Rijn Sarah Harvey

Add some colour for Chinese New Year

BIG RED: Chelsea van Rijn, from Trevallan Lifestyle Centre, with her favourite geranium.
BIG RED: Chelsea van Rijn, from Trevallan Lifestyle Centre, with her favourite geranium. Contributed

THE Chinese New Year began yesterday. It is now the Year of the Horse.

New Year celebrations go for two weeks or until the full moon. The last day of Chinese New Year is celebrated for love; ironically, this day falls on St Valentine's Day.

New Year is one of China's oldest festivals. It marks the beginning of a new year and a new agricultural season, and is considered a time for loved ones to reunite and take part in festivities designed to bring good fortune for the next 12 months.

Why so much noise and colour? The beast, Nian - a monster that would appear at the end of every year and attack people - would be kept at bay with loud noise, bright lights and the colour red.

One of the most important rituals of Chinese New Year is to thoroughly clean the house.

This is a great excuse to get rid of all those half-dead potted plants. Just pull the plants out and if the soil is old, empty it out into the garden, and then store your empty pots.

Just because you have pots doesn't mean you need to fill them. Sometimes we just need to go with the flow and admit the time for potted plants may not be now.

Once the house has been thoroughly cleaned, it is decorated to welcome the New Year. It is particularly important the front door be decorated and that the entry looks inviting.

Maybe you can use some of those empty pots at your front door. Red is an auspicious colour. If your front door gets sun, a Big Red geranium would be perfect in a pot and if your front door gets shade, a red-flowering anthurium would be perfect.

Orange, lime or mandarin trees represent wealth and prosperity.

If you've always dreamt about picking your own fruit, but don't have the garden space, why not grow a dwarf fruit tree in a pot?

They fruit just as vigorously as a normal fruit tree, but are smaller and more manageable.

I love the idea of a sunny outdoor area to be filled with fruit trees in terracotta pots. How could you not want a plant that is green and lush all year, has scented flowers, fruits, can be trimmed or left loose, easy to maintain, frost and heat hardy?

Dwarf citrus sound like the perfect plant, and you can easily add colour by planting a few flowering annuals at the base of your fruit trees.

With all my potted plants I use Searles Peat 80 potting mix and Searles Mulch Plus.

All my potted plants, fruit trees included, are fertilised with Plant of Health's Organic Link every two to three months and I liquid fertilise every fortnight with Triple Boost.

If all this potting sounds like a bit too much work, why not try this fun idea?

On the first day of Chinese New Year, homeowners roll oranges in the front door to represent wealth flowing into the house!



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