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The NEW Princess Flower

PRINCESS FLOWER, or Tibouchina

Bring the tropics indoors with the Princess Flower, also called Tibouchina. This beautiful plant boasts stunning white or vibrant deep purple flowers depending on the variety. You'll love its upright open branched habit with dark green, velvety leaves that grow four to six inches long, often edged in red. These tropical plants are also often called glory bushes or glory trees. Princess Flower prefers a sunny spot in a window and will offer a stunning show after the Christmas decorations have been put away. They like moisture but be sure not to let get too soggy. The Princess Flower is native to Brazil, so think "tropical environment" when caring for this plant. Be sure to check out this new plant at the garden center for a season of color and to cure those winter blues.

The Winter Pick-Me-Up

HELLEBORES

This hardy perennial offers beautiful blooms all through the dreary days of winter and into early spring. Also called the Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, bloom time often coincides with the Christmas holidays. This evergreen, features blooms with five petals, cup-shaped flowers. The foliage is dark green, offering a beautiful back drop. Available in a variety of colors from white to pastel yellow to pink and purple, this intriguing perennial is without a doubt the star of the winter landscape. And, throughout the summer the deep green foliage creates visual depth and interest in the landscape too. This low maintenance plant is drought tolerance although it thrives in moist but well-drained soil. And did we mention hellebore are deer resistant! Not only will they grace your table with beautiful cut flowers, they'll provide color in your landscape at a time when there virtually is none. What a treat to walk through your garden in February or March and be greeted with beautiful Hellebore flowers in white, pastel yellow, pink, or purple.

Give the Unexpected

THOUGHTFUL LIVING GIFTS

Christmas is just days away and it’s no secret that plants and flowers are a big part of season. Everyone knows that holiday plants make festive holiday gifts. Poinsettias, Amaryllis and Paperwhites all come to mind, coloring the season with their traditional holiday hues. And yes, the holidays are all about tradition and that's part of the reason we love them. But why not think outside of the box this year and consider a living gift that can be enjoyed during the holidays and beyond? And don’t just limit your gift-giving choices to indoor plants. There are plenty of wonderful, lasting outdoor plants that can be enjoyed once the spring and summer months roll around. The choices are infinite, so get out gift giving rut and give an unexpected living gift. Here are few of unique gifts to consider...

KITCHEN HERB GARDEN – Growing your own herbs is a rewarding and efficient way to making it easy to harvest fresh herbs for cooking all year long. Herbs such as basil, mint, thyme, rosemary and oregano are just few examples of hardy and attractive pot herbs which can add a spot of fresh green indoors all winter long. Keep in pots indoors or transfer to the garden once the weather warms ups. Tuck one of these robust herbs in a sisal or decorative pot, and you’ll be sure to spice up someone’s holiday!

JEANS DILLY SPRUCE – This refined version of the popular Dwarf Alberta Spruce has short green needles that turn a cheery light green to welcome spring and remain green all throughout the winter! Jean Dilly has distinctive and refined pyramidal form, which lends a delicate texture to any landscape. A relatively low maintenance shrub, however, when pruning is needed, only trim back the new growth of the current season. Prefers full to partial shade. Its perfect shape, slow growth, lovely texture and color, combine to create an extraordinary little plant that never outgrows its place in the garden.

ORCHIDS – Whether a gift for another or a treat for yourself, orchids will captivate and add elegance to any setting. Moth orchids, also known as Phalaeonopsis, are some of the least expensive and longest-blooming orchids available. In fact, one bloom spike can look great for four months or more. Color range includes whites, pinks and blues. Orchids are surprisingly easy to grow. In the right setup at home they can be extremely low maintenance. Be sure to give them a spot in low, medium, or bright light and water weekly or every other week. Promote more and larger blooms by feeding moth orchids monthly with a fertilizer formulated specifically for orchids. Plants do best in temperatures from 50 to 75F.

YULETIDE CAMELLIA – This wintertime classic will bring warm, red flowers and elegant green leaves to your holiday decoration and will add beauty to your garden for many years to come. With single, vibrant, red blooms this evergreen is a beautiful addition to the winter garden. Blossoms poop against glossy, dark green foliage. A moderate grower, this shrub will grow to approximately 8-10 feet tall creating an stunning evergreen background. Extremely drought tolerant, once established - this shrub can handle most any conditions Mother Nature throws at it! Prefers full to partial sun. The perfect choice for a colorful hedge or screen, border shrub, or simply placed to add a pop of color to outdoor living spaces.

HELLEBORE – This hardy perennial offers beautiful blooms all through the dreary days of winter and into early spring. Also called the Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose, bloom time often coincides with the Christmas holidays. This evergreen, features blooms with five petals, cup-shaped flowers. The foliage is dark green, offering a beautiful back drop. Available in a variety of colors from white to pastel yellow to pink and purple, this intriguing perennial is without a doubt the star of the winter landscape. And, throughout the summer the deep green foliage creates visual depth and interest in the landscape too. This low maintenance plant is drought tolerance, although it thrives in moist but well-drained soil. And did we mention hellebore are deer resistant too! Not only will they grace your table with beautiful cut flowers, they'll provide color in your landscape at a time when there virtually is none.

Gardens In Glass

MINI GARDENS

Give a growing gift this season! With Christmas just around the corner, finding the perfect gift for the perfect someone can be challenging. Why not consider one of these unique gardening gifts. Terrariums, dish gardens and even hanging glass orbs bring a fresh accent to any décor and these versatile minis can be placed anywhere. Mini gardens are a wonderful way to display plants indoors, and decorating with plants adds life to any room and brings a sense of warmth to any home.

These versatile miniatures are easy to create using any clear container. Jars, bottles, vases and aquariums are some of the more commonly used containers. However, you can use a terrarium jar, cloche or any open vessel. Just be sure to choose something that is large enough to accommodate the plants that you want to use and that the container is transparent for easy viewing and will allow sunlight to penetrate. Adorn your mini garden with houses, benches, miniature wheelbarrows, furniture or any other petite accessory. Or embellish with a few holiday accents for a festive feel. The skies the limit, so let your imagination run free! We offer a wide selection of unique glass containers and accessories for just about any theme or indoor space you can think of. Stop in for some unique ideas for that special someone on your list this holiday season.

The Star of Holiday Plants

SHOOTING STAR HYDRANGEA

This holiday season, enjoy the style and beauty of a Shooting Star Hydrangea. This fantastic plant is versatile and useful in containers as well as shrub borders or as specimen plants flowering in mid to late summer. Remember, if you are going to plant this beauty outside, wait until spring's warmer weather to do so. Shooting Stars make great hostess gifts, teacher gifts, and they are the secret Santa gift that will keep blooming! You'll love its pure-white star shaped flowers that will remain for four to six weeks and then turn a lovely pale green. The flowers will last another four to five weeks in their green phase. With proper care, you can enjoy Shooting Star's long bloom period throughout winter.

Check out more of our favorite HOLIDAY PLANTS. >>

A Holiday Tradition

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR POINSETTIA BLOOMING

Poinsettias are a favorite living decoration during the Christmas season. New and amazing varieties have been developed that keep their brightly colored bracts for 8-10 weeks. Bracts are the showy, colored parts of the poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers - but in fact they are really a modified leaf. The traditional red varieties are popluar, but other varieties with white, pink, marbled and even variegated bracts are also excellent choices.

To keep Poinsettias at their best for the longest time, place them in a an area where they will receive bright, indirect light. Water when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch. If your plant is wrapped in foil, be sure to punch a hole in the foil to allow for proper drainage. Poinsettias do not like overly wet soil. Ideal temperatures should never exceed 72 degrees during the day or 60 degrees at night in order to prolong the bright color of the bracts to remain. Avoid drafts or extreme temperatures from a cold window sill or a heating vent.

It is possible to grow your Poinsettia for another year. When the bracts begin to fade, cut the plant back 5 to 8 inches above the soil. Place it in a cool, medium light location and allow the soil to dry well between waterings. In late April or early May, repot and place it outdoors in a shady location. Fertilize once a month. In order to initiate flowering and color development of the bracts, Poinsettias need long night periods. Beginning October 1st, and continuing for six weeks, place the plant in a dark closet or an unused room each evening from 5-7pm. After six weeks, place the Poinsettia in bright, indirect light and water thoroughly when the soil is dry to the touch. The plant should soon flower and develop color in its bracts.

We hope your Poinsettia adds Christmas cheer and many days of enjoyment during the holiday season! Check out more of our favorite HOLIDAY PLANTS. >>

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The Newest Poinsettia on the Block

TAPESTRY POINSETTIA

Today, we celebrate National Poinsettia Day... and all the amazing poinsettia varieties that have been created over the years. One of our favorite new poinsettias is the Tapestry, featuring beautiful bright red bracts with rare variegated, yes variegated leaves! Bracts are the showy, colored parts of the poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers - but in fact they are really a modified leaf. The leaves of the tapestry poinsettia feature a vibrant green woven together with a creamy yellow blotch. Whether you choose to mix this stunning new plant with traditional red poinsettias or make it a focal point in your décor, it will certainly make your holidays a bit merrier and brighter.

Poinsettias are easy to keep beautiful and blooming throughout the holidays and beyond as long as you follow a few simple steps:

  • Avoid exposing the poinsettia to freezing conditions. Do not leave it in the car while you finish shopping. Take it home and place it inside the house as soon as possible after purchasing it. Poinsettias like it warm just like you do.
  • Place your poinsettia in a spot with bright natural light, but do not expose it to direct sunlight.
  • Do not place your poinsettia in an area where it will be exposed to drafts, heat from appliances, radiators, or ventilation ducts.
  • The color of your poinsettia will last longer with temperatures around 65 degrees during the day and 60-65 degrees at night.
  • The soil should be kept moderately moist; check every few days and water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Before watering, remove the pot covers or foil wrapping; water to saturate the soil, and then allow the pot to drain. Do not let the plant sit in standing water.

Santa is Coming to Town

Greet Santa as he arrives at your local garden center tomorrow, Saturday, December 7 at noon. He'll be here until 4pm to take pictures with all the kiddos. We will be adorned with plants and trimmings to set the backdrop for a spectacular Christmas photo. From poinsettias to twinkling lights and the iconic Christmas tree, you will surely get a photo perfect for your holiday card. Be sure to bring your camera and your best Christmas sweaters to capture that special moment.

Before Santa’s arrival, children can create their very own living gift to give to that someone special (cost is $10). A living plant is the perfect gift to remind them that they are thought of year round. At the workshop, kids will paint their own 4 inch pot and choose a 4-inch houseplant to put in it. They can decorate a holiday tag and leave with a complete holiday gift perfect for mom, dad, grandparents or teachers.

Get in the spirit this holiday season and give Santa your Christmas wish list!

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Ho, Ho, Holiday Plants

The holiday season is full of traditions and holiday houseplants have played an important role in seasonal celebrations for centuries. While Christmas trees and mistletoe immediately come to mind, they are not alone. There's numerous other plants that boast Yuletide. Decorating with plants is easy with a little imagination, so let your creativity be your guide and don't be afraid to experiment. And, as you get ‘wrapped’ up in the frenzy of holiday season remember plants are always a great gift. Placing any flowering plant in a gift bag, wicker basket, or decorative wrap is ideal for both decorating and gifting. Here's a few of our favorites traditionals and not-so-traditionals...

Poinsettia
Introduced in the United States by our first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, the poinsettia has become the traditional Christmas plant. They are available in red, pink, gold, white and variegated colors. When purchasing your poinsettia, look for a plant with dark green, healthy foliage, strong stems and bright colored bracts. Place your poinsettia in a well-lit location, out of direct sunlight and drafts. Water often enough to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy.

Cyclamen
This cool weather bloomer boosts unusually shaped, colorful blossoms and variegated gray-green elliptical leaves. Depending on the variety, the blossoms may be pink, lavender, deep purple, white, or red. Cyclamen needs cool temperatures to continue blooming, so be sure to keep this plant away from heat sources and, preferably, in the coolest part of the house.

Norfolk Island Pine
A real holiday favorite with a pyramidal shape and soft, dark green needles that add an instant pop of green all year long. This slow-growing tree loves a sunny spot. During the warmer months, you can move it outdoors and place in partial sunlight. The Norfolk pine is a long-lasting houseplant that grows three to six inches annually. Water thoroughly once a week or when the soil becomes dry to touch.

Citrus
There's something so special about citrus. How can you not adore these beautiful evergreen plants with lush, bright green foliage and heavenly fragrant blooms? We love tucking these plants around our homes so we can enjoy their sweet fragrance and delicious fruits. learn more >>

Phalaeonopsis 'Moth' Orchids
Some of the least expensive and longest-blooming orchids available. In fact, one bloom spike can look great for four months or more. We love orchids paired with other holiday favorites like poinsettias and cyclamen. Orchids are surprisingly easy to grow. In the right setup at home they can be extremely low maintenance. Be sure to give them a spot in low, medium, or bright light and water weekly or every other week.

Christmas Cactus
This thorn-less member of the cactus family has flat green foliage, which blooms periodically. Blooms are tubular in shape and come in varying shades of reds, pinks, whites and yellows. This houseplant is easy to care for making them the perfect gift for those without a green thumb. Prefers bright, indirect light and, unlike most other cactus, requires light to moderate watering.

Check out more HOLIDAY PLANTS >>

A Holiday Tradition

BOXWOOD

Throughout Hampton Roads, Boxwoods are one of the most recognizable and widely used landscape shrubs... ideal for hedging, edging or simply grouped along landscape beds. Boxwood is easy to maintain with its compact evergreen foliage that stays green all year long. It is virtually “deer-proof” and tolerates semi-shady conditions as well as open, sunny locations and drier soils. Boxwood can be pruned or cut back most anytime of year without damaging the plant. Even with more harsh cuts, next year’s vigorous new growth will quickly fill-in any gaps. Available in a variety of foliage colors and growth habits, few shrubs match the Boxwood’s dependability and resiliency.

One of the most enjoyable holiday traditions is decorating with fresh greenery, and it’s no secret that boxwood’s versatility as a cut green is ideal for creating beautiful and durable holiday decor. The smooth, rounded leaves and flexible stems adapt easily to a variety uses for both inside and out. From swags to wreaths, to table-top centerpieces and topiaries, fresh boxwood has long been a traditional greenery for holiday decorating. So, this season look no further than your own back yard (or your neighbors – with permission of course) and instantly give your home the look and feel of Christmas with boxwood.