Green fingers this Winter
At Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget Evans is thinking about plants that will cheer up the home during the dark days of winter.
Now that the winter is upon us and the days are shorter, its time to think about bringing some greenery and flowers inside.
At Christmas we can bring some of the garden into the house with Holly, Ivy, Mistletoe and other evergreens to decorate the house. Use Rosehips and Pyracantha berries if there are none on the Holly. Don’t go taking it from the countryside unless you have the permission of the landowner; even better, buy your seasonal greenery at the Mistletoe Fair in Colwall on December 14th outside the village library!
If you are unsure of what to buy friends and relatives for Christmas, indoor pot plants are inexpensive and always appreciated, and they often go on flowering for months afterwards. As with outdoor species, plant hunters have combed the world to find new and exotic subjects to suit our indoor environments.
Flowering plants suitable for warm dry houses include Poinsettia, African Violet, Begonia, Capsicum, Cacti, Stephanotis, Streptocarpus. For a cooler atmosphere, try Azaleas, Cyclamen, Christmas Cacti, Primroses, Chrysanthemum, and Jasmine.
If you have a humid bathroom or kitchen why not try some Ferns or Cymbidiums. Planted bowls make a pretty centre piece. Use ivy or ferns for structure and plant bulbs such as Hyacinths, Narcissi and other flowering plants such as primroses or mini cyclamen. These can be taken out and replaced with fresh ones as the flowers go over. Most bulbs and primroses will grow in the garden, so pick a frost free day and plant them out.
Watering is a key problem with caring for house plants, most die through over watering.
Find out about your plant, where it comes from, what conditions it grows in and try to replicate them. The label will give you information on care but this is usually very basic. When you are choosing pot plants in the garden centre look at the base of the plant and check that the stems are strong and there is no mould at the base of the flowers.
As a general rule, indoor plants are better watered from below. In winter most indoor plants will not be growing much so give them a little water on a regular basis. This can be increased in the summer. If you live in a hot, dry house use a mister to spray some water over the leaves regularly.
Scientific studies have proved that people who are surrounded with indoor greenery and flowers are more positive and happier.
Meanwhile, there are always jobs to do outside, so wrap up warm and put the wellies on!
- Cut back any perennials and divide if necessary.
- Prune Apple and Pear trees, shrubs, etc.
- Dig over the veg garden, adding soil improver or rotted manure.
- Clean and disinfect the greenhouse.
- Watch out for mice damage in stored veg bulbs and seeds.
- Order seeds of flowering annuals and veg for sowing under cover in February and March.
I would like to wish all of you a Happy Christmas and New Year.