December 2011

The First Breath of Spring

Welcome Winter's End with Fresh Blooms


We're all ready for a fresh color palette around the homestead. The deep reds and greens of Christmas have fulfilled their purpose but they are starting to get tired. With the darkest days behind us I prefer lighter colors in my vases as well. Something to remind myself that spring and sunshine is drawing closer every day.

Cyclamen for Winter

Lush indoor flowers

Few plants, even houseplants, provide dependable blooms once the days get short in midwinter. Thankfully there is a gorgeous, low maintenance plant that thrives during this time of year. The cyclamen is a finicky plant outdoors but a dream to grow inside.

Winter Color

Fight the After Holiday Blahs

The decorations are down, the holidays are past and new year is beginning. After the finery of Christmas, our homes and gardens may look a little blah during these gray January days. Fortunately, you can still add some winter color even after the holidays are past.

Three Facts about Lavender

And if You Don't Already Love it, Why You Should

In my dream life, I live in a wonderful old farmhouse in Tuscany in the center of a field of lavender. In real life, I live in the center of Los Angeles, but that just might be the second best place for a lavender lover like me. This is the perfect environment for those lovely plants with their evergreen foliage and fragrant purple flowers. Los Angeles, after all, has the same Mediterranean climate the plant loves. If you haven’t grown lavender, here are three reasons why you just might want to add this fragrant plant to your garden (or at least a pot on the patio).

Caring for Trees

Planning and Purchasing

When planning trees in your yard or garden, it is important that you take proper care of it straight from the beginning. This includes the care you take in selecting what tree you will plant to the care you give it. By giving the tree the proper care from the beginning, you can help the tree to have the proper shape, greater strength, and you can help to ensure that the tree will be standing for years to come.

Bare Root Roses

"When purchasing a bare root plant it may be hard to tell if the roots are completely dried out."

When purchasing roses to plant in your garden, one option is buying bare root roses. When purchasing bare root roses, there are certain things that you need to look out for to ensure that they grow correctly.

Many gardeners fail to realize this and find that no matter how well they prepare their planting area that the rose bush just fails to grow. They then tend to blame their lack of gardening skill instead of knowing what the true problem may be. One of the most common problems that  happens when buying a bare root rose plant is that the roots are dried out.

Winter Gardening | Forced Bulbs


Detroit. Michigan. The entire Midwest. Cold. Dark. And, perpetually dreary. What is a gardener to do as the winter closes in around us? How can we bring a little bit of life indoors to help us through the months of darkness? Forced bulbs, of course.

A popular holiday tradition that can be used all winter long, in spite of the dropping temperatures. Actually, bulbs are forced because of the dropping temperatures. Lucky for us. So, what can you cajole to bloom indoors, out of season? Try these blooms on for size:

1.    Narcissus: Often called Paperwhites, this lovely, white flower is related to that sure sign of Spring, the daffodil. Grouped in a pot and placed on a sunny window ledge, they will brighten even the darkest winter day.

A Fond Farewell & New Beginnings

  In honor of the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 I thought I would do a little research into the meaning of flowers. We’ve often heard that roses have different meanings depending upon their color so it follows that other flowers would have meanings attached also. If you do a search for New Years flowers, you will most likely come across a ton of arrangements featuring combinations of silver and white; this I’ve come to discover is mostly for aesthetic purposes rather than symbolic ones. What if we put a little more thought into the meaning behind the flowers we choose?

Forcing Spring

Flowering branches for indoor color.

The house always looks so bare after the holiday decorations are packed away. Color would be nice, but in January and February we are still in the grips of winter, which gives everything a white, sterile look. The good news is, with the coming of January it's possible to bring in branches from a flowering tree and force them to bloom indoors in vases. This adds an instant touch of spring when many of us need it most.

Using Christmas Arrangements for New Year's

Extending the life of seasonal flowers.

The beautiful centerpieces from Christmas parties and dinners will likely still have a lot of life left in them come New Year's Eve and Day, but the color schemes may not fit into the festivities. Instead of buying new flower arrangements, recreate the Christmas flowers to fit the event. With the two holidays only a week apart, this is both a money and a time saver.

Recycling Holiday Trees and Greens

Albuquerque Area Programs

In the coming week or two, Christmas trees and evergreen swags will be coming down in Albuquerque area homes. Some of us take our trees down the day after Christmas, while others wait until New Year's or January 5th. Regardless of when we put away the holidays for this year, proper disposal of the trees and greens can poseIn a conundrum.