Sunday, 10 December 2017

The December Greenhouse - Ramblings

My normally quiet winter greenhouse has been very busy this year, with a lovely Christmas Pop-up Market and two wreath making workshops. Hustle, bustle, and holiday cheer ensued.

Here are some handy yuletide tips and tricks to make your holidays jolly and bright.  

Christmas flowers... 
Poinsettias - This popular, traditional Christmas flower adds an instant feeling of holidays and festivities. 
- Pick up as your last purchase on the way home, place in a warm car, drive straight home so that it does not get too chilly.
- Prefers to be on the dry side, will not fare well if sitting in water. When watering, remove the pot cover (festive party hat), place in sink, water thoroughly, let excess water drain out, place back in party hat, good to go for another week.  
- Keep away from drafts, both hot and cold. Do not place near heating vents, fireplaces, or in doorways. 
- Likes a bright location that is cool-ish in temperature. 

These beautiful flowers take from 4 to 8 weeks to go from planting to blooming. Smaller Santa's Helper bulbs will bloom sooner, while the great big bulbs take longer, but have more flowers.
- Pot up into a festive pot with good drainage. 
- Re-hydrate the roots before planting by soaking them in warm water for several hours. If you have liquid seaweed or fish fertiliser, add a teaspoonful to the water.
- For best results, plant bulb in a good quality potting soil rather than the straight peat moss that comes with the package bulbs. 

- Plant so that the top part of the bulb is above soil level. 
- Water weekly. 
- Place in a bright and cool spot, like a windowsill, to prevent lankiness.
- If your blooms do start getting top heavy and tipsy, add a small twig with good branching to the pot. This will hold up the stems and blooms.
- After the holidays, when blooms are spent, cut the stems down to one inch tall, leave the foliage to gather strength for the bulb to bloom next year. 

Can be planted into soil, like the amaryllis, or forced in water. Takes about 3 weeks from planting to blooms. 
- To force, choose a lovely vase or mason jar to place bulbs into. 
- Add two inches of rocks, pebbles, marbles, etc... 
- Place bulbs on top of rocks, add water to the top of pebbles/bottom of bulbs. 
- Will start to send roots into the water in no time at all. Keep water topped up to the top of the rocks. 
- May get top heavy and floppy if grown in warm location. Tie a ribbon or raffia around the greenery to keep them upright. Alternately, plant into a taller vase to keep them upright through the holidays. 
- After blooming, toss into the compost bin, as they rarely bloom again after being forced in water. 

Grinchy Trees! Make your own super awesome Whoville Grinchy Tree! To see the how-to on my other blog, Click here!

Gild your pots in gold, silver, or copper, for some extra bling over the holidays : )

What else to do... 

Make a wonderful front porch pot of dwarf spruce and winter perennials of ferns, ivy and heather. Add a small string of battery powered lights. 

Join a wreath making workshop with friends, and have a blast! 

Keep your over wintered plants watered... sparingly. They prefer to be on the dry side over the winter months. 

Remove spent blossoms and yellowing leaves so they do not go fuzzy with mould and cause root rot or stem rot. 

Check regularly for bugs, deal with them with a Safer's soap product if you find any. Add yellow sticky strips to catch aphids and whiteflies. 

Water citrus trees about every second week, or when dry. Do not feed yet, not till in the new year as days start to get longer, even if you have yellowing leaves. Leave them be for now, they will be fine.

Harvest lemons for your homemade cough and cold remedy ; ) Find that recipe HERE!

Have a wonderful December! 

Season's Greetings from our house to yours. 


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