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PostHeaderIcon Bring the Outdoors Inside for Holidays

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I love bringing the outdoors inside during the holiday season.  One way to accomplish this is to bring your potted herbs inside and decorate the containers.  Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a beautiful ribbon tied in a bow.  As you can see from the picture, you can also add decorations purchased from your local craft store such as artificial cranberries, miniature pine cones, glitter and glitz.  The choices are vast and you only need your imagination.  If you don’t have live herbs, you can choose artificial plants from your craft store. Potted cyclamen is another choice for your holiday decorating.  It is available in your local nursery and home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowes.  You can decorate the pot and place the plant indoors with filtered light.

There are two topiaries in my dining room I decorate with twinkle lights during the holiday season.  I add small gifts tied to the leaves and the grandchildren love searching for the gifts bearing their name.  They are allowed to touch everything on the topiaries, and although the topiaries are approximately five feet tall, they think of them as their own personal Christmas tree.

Speaking of children, it’s important to know about the plants that are poisonous to small children and animals.  Following is a list of poisonous plants that should be purchased with caution.

Poinsettias are poisonous to small children and pets. The flower itself is not poisonous, however; the sap that comes out of the leaves can cause severe skin and mouth irritation, as well as vomiting.

Mistletoe – The berries on mistletoe are extremely poisonous.  If you have mistletoe in your house, remove the berries for safety.

Holly – As with mistletoe, the berries are poisonous.  If you have Holly in your home for the holiday season, be certain to place it in an area that is not accessible to pets and young children.  You must also check for any berries that may have dropped from the plant.

Pine Trees – This may be a surprise to some.  If you have a live Christmas tree, you must ensure your pet or young child does not ingest the needles that drop from the tree.  If your small pet ingests the needles, their internal organs may be pierced.

Paperwhites (Narcissus), (left) mingling with the scents of pine and cinnamon, is a wonderful addition to your holiday floral decorating.  You can “force” these bulbs to bloom inside your home during the holiday season by following these simple directions:

Choose a container approximately 3-4” deep without drainage holes.  Add approximately 1-2 inches of stone (available in your local craft store or nursery).

Place the bulbs point side up – squeeze into the container.  The overall size of the container will determine the number of bulbs.  Add another layer of stones.  Cover to the shoulders of the bulb.  The pointed tips should still be showing.
Add water to reach the base of the bulbs.  The bulbs will not need a lot of light right now, but they like to be on the cool side (approximately 65 degrees).  Check daily for water.

When you see the roots developing, move to a sunny window.  When they flower, move out of the sunlight and transfer to a cool spot with indirect or diffused light.
Sometimes your paperwhites will grow so fast that the foliage tends to flop over.  To avoid this phenomenon, please visit Cornell University’s site entitled “Pickling Your Paperwhites”, at www.hort.cornell.edu
Happy Holidays , and a prosperous New Year to all!

Jody McPheeters is a retired executive who lives in San Ramon. She is a published author, freelance writer and gardening coach with a passion for sustainabiltiy and a love for nature and animals. She has been accepted into the Master Gardener Program through the University of California and expects to receive her certification in February 2011. Please visit her website atwww.yourgardeningcoach.com for more ideas and a sampling of her landscapes and garden designs.


Last Updated (Saturday, 27 November 2010 00:24)

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