From the Garden

Gardens and the Holiday Season (reposted from Johnnye Merle’s Gardens!)

As we move into the season of all things merry and bright, us gardeners want to remind you that plants can play a pivotal role in your holiday season as well. Below are just a few ideas….

Plants make great gifts

Granted, being gardeners, we might be a little biased here, but really, plants DO make great gifts! Everyone can use an extra houseplant or two to brighten up a dull spot in their home or workspace. Plus, the gift a plant seems to say “I have faith in you. You can keep this living thing alive!”, and, well, we all need that kind of encouragement in our lives right now, don’t we?  If you aren’t sure what type of plant to give someone, go for easy to grow houseplants like Sansevieria (snake plant), aloes, jade plants or Peace Lily.

This time of year, we also start to see some seasonal favorites pop up: this is when the classic poinsettia makes an appearance, of course. This year, don’t throw them all out when the season passes – they can make a really cool little shrub/tree when planted outside, or be a year round houseplant! We also start to see one our favorites, the  “Christmas cactus”.  These are really a type of cacti native to Brazil, the common name for them stemming from when they tend to bloom. Super easy to grow, we think these are a really underrated plant! Don’t forget about living Christmas tree options, too – a cool way to bring nature inside, and to grow something outside once the season is over.

Pumpkin succulents and other garden themed centerpieces

Bring the outside in with some unique table décor this holiday season! “Pumpkin succulents” are pretty easy to make. I am a fan of NOT carving out the pumpkin and instead just glue moss to the top of the intact pumpkin, and then attach succulent cuttings. I find they last much longer this way, in fact, it’s quite surprising how long these last! When the pumpkin starts to look a little mushy, you can either peel the moss off and plant it with the succents intact, cut of the top of the pumpkin and plant it with the succulents growing on top, or, just plant the whole pumpkin up to the top. With that last option, you’ll get a succulent garden, some compost, and likely some pumpkins growing from the seeds the following year!

If succulents aren’t your thing, don’t negate how simple and easy it can be to pot up some plants and use them as table centerpieces, or even as ‘place cards’ for your holiday guests – they make great little gifts, too.

Living wreaths

The trend of ‘living wreaths’ has been gaining traction for years now. In a nutshell, it’s about taking branches and shaping them into a circle (you can buy premade ones at most craft stores), and in a similar way as you would with succulent pumpkins, adding moss, and then attaching a variety of succulent cuttings to it; you can find lots and lots of ‘how to’ videos of the process online.  You can easily give such wreaths some holiday flair by including pine cones, faux or real (dried) red berries, ribbon and other seasonal bling to your creation.

Making the wreaths is also a great group activity for holiday parties and gatherings. Rather than watch TV together on Thanksgiving, enjoy the California sunshine and go outside and make some living wreaths and bring a bit of nature into your holiday celebrations!

We hope this holiday season finds you and yours enjoying nature and getting lots of time to play outside. Bring some plants into your holiday celebrations this year, and get your nature fix!

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