Keep the Season Lively with Color
Late fall and winter are great times to bring out dramatic contrasts in your landscape that are perfect for the holidays. The blue-greens of evergreens, bright berries of hollies and other plants, and crimson, gold and purple tones create a festival look that is more subtle than the brighter colors of mid-season. Best of all, many of the highlights of your winter landscape can be brought indoors to further brighten the holidays.
Outside, evergreens form a foundation of greenery, but conifers can also lend colors from bronze and purple to gold and red. Unique shapes and barks on trees like the river birch and paperbark maple also add interest.Try using the same pots and containers you filled with summer flowers to plant ornamental cabbages and kales, perennials like flax lily or ivies. You can even fill window boxes with branches from evergreens, including those from your own real Christmas tree after the holiday.Of course, you can always bring a little of the beauty of the outdoors inside with ideas as simple as pine cones in a decorative basket. Try creating a festive, natural centerpiece using evergreen branches and pine cones with a few dried flowers or even fresh fruits added. Cut branches right before they’re needed for a fresh look and smell. You can keep branches stored in a dark plastic bag until you’re ready for them.Of course, wreaths using vines, evergreen branches, or pine cones will look wonderful during the holiday or any time of year. Pine cones, berries and even flowers dried or pressed from earlier in the year can make wonderful, natural-looking ornaments. Or try adding a little evergreen or pine cones to gift wrapping or decorative candles for a festive look.This year, bring the holidays to life indoors and out with nature and a little imagination!
Caring for Holiday Plants
You receive a beautiful holiday plant, and you find yourself groaning as you think of the care you don’t know how to provide. Well cheer up. The old saying about needing a “green thumb” to grow plants successfully is just not true.There are cooks who just “know” how much of what spice to add, and there are some people who have the knack for growing great houseplants. But there are also cooks who get delicious results by carefully following a recipe, and in the same way, anyone can grow healthy plants by following simple rules for their care and feeding. Christmas gift plants like azalea, Christmas pepper, Christmas cherry, cyclamen, Rieger elatior begonia, poinsettia and others, will stay attractive long after the holiday season, provided you furnish the conditions and care they require.
- All require bright light during the day and a cool room (about 65 degrees) at night
- All need watering before the soil is dry to the touch
- Water cyclamen around the edges of the pot because water in the crown may cause rot or set cyclamen in a dish of water and let it soak up moisture
- Never let the soil dry out while the plant is in flower or the leaves will turn yellow
Most gift plants come with instructions so whether you follow the given instructions or give the above care, you’ll discover you can grow houseplants.