When you are planting indoors, you may want to consider the planters that are crystal clear to watch them grow. These are terrarium type planters and that means a lot of the nutrients they receive comes from the oxygen they produce. You can hang them in the bathroom for extra moisture or place them on tables for more light and for the beauty of them. What ever you choose, they will be lovely….
If the gardening bug has bitten you hard, it can be difficult to let your garden go fallow over the winter. On the other hand, in colder climates, it can be difficult to motivate yourself into heading out into the frosty air. But as it happens, there are a ton of low-maintenance shrubs that become particularly beautiful in the winter. With the right plants, your garden can be colorful year-round.
You’ll have to set aside a little space for these shrubs, but most of them come in dwarf varieties, so they’ll work for balcony or porch gardens. And you can brag about how smart your plants are: winter-blooming flowers evolved to take advantage of an otherwise barren winter landscape. They’re the only pollen game in town for five months, making them a meet market for bees! Here are our five favorites for a colorful winter:
- Witch Hazel: This plant will flower from October to December, its branches filling up with sprays of yellow blooms. They look like tiny firecrackers and attract beneficial bugs to the garden. And if you come into enough blooms, you can use them to make witch hazel essential oil.
- Japanese Pieris (or Andromeda, or Lily of the Valley Bush): Glossy and green year round, this popular container plant will bloom with clusters of small white flowers from November to May. Varieties are also available that start as bright red buds before becoming off-white flowers.
- Winter Jasmine: The stems on this elegant plant stay green throughout the winter, a nice contrast to other winter blooms on woody branches. The tall stalks produce rows of white and yellow flowers from December to June – just remember that the winter varieties aren’t fragrant like their summer sisters.
- Burning Bush: Though this plant does not flower, in the winter it becomes true to its name and turns a bright, rich shade of red. It thrives even in the coldest of winters, and goes back to dark green in the spring.
- Winterthur: This is probably our favorite of the winter plants. It’s actually quite dramatic even before it flowers in the spring: in the winter, the red leaves are accented with pink, then blue berries. (They look like tiny blueberries, but don’t do a taste test.)
Written by Katherine Spiers
It’s Fall-Time for Mums
Each year, I’d help my mother tend hundreds of hardy mums in her greenhouses as we prepared for the busy autumn selling season. During the summer, we’d pinch back the mums so that they would end up bushy and full instead of spindly. We’d also fertilize each individual pot too.
My mother is retired now, so this year, for the first time in a long time, I’ve had to visit someone else’s greenhouse to choose my annual mum.
It’s hard choosing a mum because they are all beautiful. There are several different types of mums: daisy, spoon types, spider mums, and football mums. Mums come in many different colors too. I’ve seen white mums; various pinks-from light pink to a deep, rich magenta; burgundy, purple, orange, yellow, rust, red, and mums in different combinations of colors.
If you’d like a mum for your fall decorating, mums labeled “hardy” or “garden” are what you want. Mums used to be a nickname for “chrysanthemums”, but the name has now been changed to the tongue-twisting “dendranthema x grandiflora”.
I simply display my fall mum on my deck, enjoying it until a really hard frost finally turns it black. If you prefer, you can plant your mums in the garden instead.
If you’re going to plant your mum in the garden, make sure it has sun for at least half the day, though it would do well in the sun all day too. Make sure there is good drainage in your garden, and the soil should be moist, but not soggy.
There is no need to fertilize your fall mum. All you need to do is mulch it with some straw. In the spring you can remove the straw, remove any dead plant matter, then re-mulch with wood chips. Once the mum starts growing in the spring, keep new growth “pinched back” so that it doesn’t get spindly, but stop pinching back once the end of summer arrives.
One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to drive around looking at how everyone uses fall mums to decorate their homes. Some people are very creative and design very attractive arrangements using mums, pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, bales of hay, and scarecrows.
Mums require very little care, and can be enjoyed from the end of summer until after several frosts.