The greenhouse is so beautiful all year round, but it’s especially so in the height of the holiday season. In fact, sometimes there are so many flowers and new plants coming in almost daily that they are literally everywhere – on tables, on the floor around tables, and anywhere we can find a spare space. Never let it be said we don’t have a little something for everyone!
Start with the bulbs of the season…paperwhites for fragrance and amaryllis for elegance. Paperwhite bulbs are readily available and so easy to plant in potting soil or a pretty bowl with pea gravel and water. We’ll also have plenty each week from growers, already planted, up and ready to bloom.
Amaryllis bulbs are notoriously tricky to time; they will come up when they’re good and ready, thank you very much! If you want an amaryllis for a certain date, it’s really best to buy them a week ahead already budded.
Many years ago I promised a customer that, of course, I could have 12 amaryllis, all in full bloom, on a certain date for a big party…oh, did I sweat those! I thought I had all my ducks in a row until the date I received them from the grower. They were beautiful, with tall strong stems and large….buds. (They had done their best to get them to the right stage of bud/bloom.)
The party was in less than a week, so I put them in the warmest spot in the greenhouse and worked some juju to make them bloom. Thankfully, they cooperated, and my customer didn’t know how close she came to having beautiful amaryllis….in bud. (Wait a minute, who am I kidding? I would have been scouring the city for 12 amaryllis in bloom!)
In the last five years or so, hydrangeas have become a popular holiday flower. Growers force these into bloom for the season, and they really are spectacular on their own, in an arrangement for a party, or to give as a gift. If I would tell anyone the one thing to remember when they receive or purchase a hydrangea for themselves, it is this – please keep them watered. If they’re allowed to dry out one too many times, there will be brown spots on the otherwise beautiful blooms.
We have orchids every month of the year, but their beauty is particularly enticing through the holidays. They add a touch of elegance to any setting, beginning with the most common and easy to grow phaelenopsis, or moth orchid. Through December we also carry the impressive cymbidium orchids, with their fans of leaves and huge, drooping buds and blooms in shades of pink, yellow and white. Or you may want to try a diminutive but long lasting lady slipper orchid, whose leaves are often as beautiful as the blooms.
And the list goes on…with the sturdy and bright rieger begonias, the trick to growing them well is to give them plenty of light and go easy on the water. Be diligent in pulling off old fading blooms, and they will reward you with many weeks of color!
Cyclamen are another wonderful winter bloomer, flourishing in cool temperatures and going dormant as temperatures warm in the spring. Be very careful not to overwater (It’s best to water these from the bottom.) and keep them in as cool a spot as you can.
These are just a few of the beautiful plants gracing the greenhouse throughout the holidays, Many others are grown more for foliage or scent, such as ornamental oregano, golden lemon cypress, myrtle, and, of course the poinsettia, a mainstay of the season. There’s simply nothing prettier than a greenhouse in full bloom!