December Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is all about Christmas Flowers at RDR. While waiting for the big day, I’ve been decorating and using some of my favorite Christmas flowers like amaryllis in my color scheme. This year, I’ve focused upon pink, white, red and green. For other amaryllis colors, see last year’s Bloom Day post. Trust me, growing an amaryllis is easy.
Over a month ago, I planted several new white and green amaryllis (Hippeastrum) because my log house can be dark on winter days. White and green glow against log walls so, this year, I planted ‘Envy’ and ‘Magic Green.’ I wish I’d done a repeat of ‘White Nymph,’ a double.
These colors also transition well into January looking good even after the holidays. I grew a couple of red amaryllis, but they’ve been slow to start. Every year, I give my mom a potted hippeastrum, and it’s usually a red one because that color whispers Christmas to her.
I also started my hyacinths in forcing vases. They are already growing roots which is a very good sign. Soon, I’ll bring them out, and maybe we’ll have some blooms from them in January. While pinning on Pinterest the other day, I found a wonderful blog post about how important hyacinths are in Sweden. If you use Google Chrome, it will translate the page for you. The translation isn’t perfect, but you’ll get the gist.
I also started several different kinds of paperwhites and their cousins. I’m just starting to get blooms from these.
I bought a beautiful pink and yellow poinsettia to grace the dining room for Christmas Eve supper. For now, it sits in a window soaking up what little sun is available. I took a photo of it in the dining room so you see my plan for Christmas Eve. The plate next to it is a vintage one with Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) and holly. It’s one of my favorite things. I wish I could find a pot of H. niger in the stores or my local florist. So far, I cannot. If you see one locally, would you let me know?
That brings me to a subject I’ve been pondering all season. I have no problem with poinsettias. As a child of the 60s and 70s, I love them, but…not so long ago, we had so many different Christmas flowers to grace our houses. Now we’re mostly limited to paperwhites, amaryllis, hyacinths and poinsettias–and, that’s if we work at it. I like all of these as much as the next gardener, but I also like variety. I think this change occurred when we quit buying flowers locally and began importing from countries nearer the equator. There was a time when people invested in their local nurseries, and I guess that time is past. However, if we all champion and plant other traditional Christmas flowers, I believe we can have an impact. Matt Mattus from Growing with Plants just wrote a post about romantic wedding flowers coming back into vogue, and it’s similar to what I’ve been thinking and pinning about Christmas flowers. He also wrote about vintage Christmas flowers a couple of years ago. If you’re serious about gardening and don’t read Matt’s blog, you really should. I learn something every time I read a post.
Lily of the valley is one of those vintage Christmas flowers, and mine came yesterday. Lily of the valley and violets both graced Christmas cards like this one in the Victorian era and after. Now, we can only get them pre-chilled from a few places like White Flower Farm. If you have the money during this tight time of the year, order some chilled pips for yourself. Their lovely fragrance is unmatched and those tiny bells make me smile even after the holidays. Thanks to Carol at May Dream Gardens for introducing me to this beautiful tradition. If you’re lucky enough to live in a colder climate, you can simply go out and dig up lily of the valley pips in the fall and force them inside. Lucky you. Even though I live in a hot climate, I’m going to try and grow these outdoors in my shadiest garden bed so I can have them every year. One of my local friends was successful. Maybe I will be too.
I hope all of you have plenty of blooms to keep you merry and bright. I know preparing for Christmas feels frantic, but try to take some time to enjoy the flowers. They’re only here for a short time. Thanks to Carol who makes Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day possible every month of the year. Happy Advent my friends.