Monday, July 5, 2010

Christmas in the Garden

With the warm weather, we all want to get outside into our gardens. We love to feel that connection with the earth and dig our hands into the ground. Even in the heat of the summer you can have the idea of Christmas around. There are many plants, for indoors and out, that can remind you of the holidays. Here are just a few:

Mint: Peppermint and spearmint are two of the great flavors of the holidays. Whether it reminds you of candy canes, chocolate mint cookies, or those small candies that seem to be everywhere during the holidays, these two herbs are perfect for keeping you in the holiday mood. Make yourself some nice mint iced tea, or add some to your lemonade and you'll have a cool, refreshing drink good for any occasion.

Christmas Cactus:
The Christmas cactus is a special plant in its own right. It is vigorous and tolerates a certain degree of negligence. In the fall its long stems bear magnificent blooms and each bloom lasts six to nine days and blooming continues for a good four to six weeks. In the winter, place it in a south-facing window, then around the end of May, place it outside, sheltered from the direct rays of the sun until the end of August. To get it to bloom it needs to have the temperature controlled to 15ºC (60F) at night and 20ºC (70F) during the day. If the temperature goes above 25ºC (80F) the floral buds will just fall off. To increase the number of blooms, let the plant dry out a bit as the days start to shorten (mid-September). During the fall months, the Christmas Cactus should be placed in a spot where it receives indoor indirect, bright light during the daylight hours but total darkness at night (absolutely no artificial light). The Christmas Cactus requires long, uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 or more hours each night. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. Place the plants in a dark area from about 12 or more hours each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming. A closet or unused bathroom are ideal places.

Dahlias: Dahlias are a great addition to any beautiful garden as they provide vibrant colors and attraction to the garden. You can plant dahlias of different colors at different parts of the garden and also there is no need to plant them every year. Dahlias have a hardy stem and the color, size or shape would suit any gardening need. There are a few hybrids of this wonderful plant to remind you of the holiday season. Try these for a injection of Christmas in your garden:

Santa Claus Dahlia
Can you image your garden filled with these beautiful red and white flowers? You can almost hear the Christmas bells.

Peppermint Dahlia

These are just a few of the plants that you can have in your garden to help you keep the holiday spirit year 'round. Happy gardening and happy holidays!

Candy Cane Dahlia

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