Plants – what better Christmas present is there? They’re a GOOD THING for the planet, sustainable, personal and promise a lifelong connection with the giver. Truly, they’re a great gift idea, but what plant should you choose at this slightly tricky time of the horticultural year?
Although this is our 200th post (and our 65th year) together, we still have differing views. (There is a short video about this – see the link at the bottom.). But you tell us, which plant would you most like to get? Which one of us has got the closest?
Yes, 65 years of being sandwiched between E &C who are both head and shoulders taller has taught me to hold my corner, and I’m sure that after 200 blog posts you have come to realise that I’m actually the only sister with impeccable taste.
So in my book, one of the best plants to give at Christmas would be the stunning little flowering apricot Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’, which I was actually given as a gift and has filled me with delight ever since. Unbelievably pretty deep crimson flowers on bare branches as early as February, then it sits demurely and unobtrusively in its space, until you get another flush of warm buttery-apricot autumn colour. It can be a bit pricey, so you would probably baulk at buying it for yourself (I did) so it makes for a very special treat to be given one.
A smaller gift along the same lines but maybe a bit more affordable would be the delightful small cherry ‘Kojo-No-Mai. Again you wouldn’t have to wait long before it proves its worth with dainty little flowers in early March, and then fiery red foliage in the autumn. It likes to be planted in an open site and its diminutive size would also lend itself to being grown in a pot.
And if you’re really hard-up or have a maximum price limit of a tenner for the Book Club Secret Santa, it’s not too late to be giving tulip bulbs. You can get some unbelievably good offers at the moment, and if you went for some of the smaller more perennial botanical tulips your gift would be a sweet reminder of its donor for many years to come.
Oooh, giving plants at Christmas can be a touch tricky, can’t it! Much as we want our gifts to exude lavish appeal on the BIG MORNING, most plants look decidedly ….meh at the back end of December. This is where poinsettias score very highly – fizzing with festive colour as they do – while a rare red-hot poker at three times the price, has all the party vibe of a burst balloon.
What about an attractively-planted pot? Buy small plants with different leaf colours like heucheras, ivies, Carex grass, cyclamen or little herbs and tuck them into an attractive container. Liven the scene up with some bright violas. Or a shallow dish of little succulent plants like echeverias and sempervivums (see our delightful feature pic this week) – generally very easy to look after – perfect perhaps for a keen youngster. At a stroke you have created a homemade present (Blue Peter badge coming your way! ) that looks lovely immediately, as well as having lasting appeal.
Have you got a favourite rose? Not much says to someone ‘You’re special to me’ more than buying them a rose variety that has already captured your own heart. They can be bought bare-rooted online now more cheaply than when potted from many great companies like David Austin or Peter Beales. Just remember to include a bright and informative label with it, and tie a big festive bow round the bag to give it a touch more festive chutzpah.
Hmmm I’m not sure about Elaine’s pot suggestion. Any I’ve seen with carex in them tend to look like a badly wrapped parcel. I assume it’s my lack of creative appreciation for naturalistic arrangements – or it could just be they always look a bit of a dowdy mess?
No, what your friends want is something that’s going to sprout, bloom, double-in-size or ideally do all three in the not too terribly distant future. Also something that’s not a one-and-done (so candidly, that’s poinsettias oot).
Hellebores fit the bill (get Anna’s Red – a proper ballsy colour at a time when pastels and white tend to proliferate elsewhere in the garden) or what about a little hammamellis (witchhazel) tree or Viburnum bodnantese ‘New Dawn’ or ‘Charles Lamont’ that can miraculously fill the most arctic February afternoon with delicious scent?
I’m not against pots per se, and I’d be quite pleased to get one from Elaine, but I’m currently busy feeding my pot of ‘paper white’ bulbs on gin, having read that it will reduce the height of their often straggly stems (one part gin to seven parts water if you want to give it a go).
I don’t know if it’s going to work, but to date they’re just knocking it back and doing very little – something I’d really planned for myself – so if none of these plant suggestions tickle your fancy, I’d just get a bottle of Gordon’s – it’s a plant-based present after all.
Here is our short video saying THANK YOU to you, our readers, for all the support you have shown us over the last few years.
And Louise is wondering why this euphorbia isn’t better known as it has so many great assets and is her plant of the moment.
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We’ve got a really fantastic range of Christmas gifts in our shop, including scented candles, tools and gardening gifts. Look out for our brand new stock including outdoor thermometers and PH meters – great tools to keep your gardening on track. Do have a look!