Tag Archive | gift possibilities

Orchid Memories and Orchid Varieties

phalaenopsisOrchids are not only beautiful, but they may also trigger a wonderful memory. When I was a child, my mother always wore an orchid corsage to church on Easter Sunday. My brother would pick it up on Saturday from the nearest florist (twenty miles away), and it would be stored in the side door of the refrigerator. It was pinned on Mom’s dress after she had secured her hat with bobby pins and before she slipped on her cloth gloves.

I have the most common orchid variety, the Phalaenopsis, not the type Mom wore as a corsage. For a wonderful look at the mind-blowing number of orchid types, check out a compendium of the orchid family created by FTD.

Have fun checking out the amazing photographs. Perhaps it will trigger some lovely memories, too.

orchid

Give a Green Gift This Spring

Basil

Spring is a great time to say thanks and recognize a few special people in our lives like teachers, neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Since it’s spring, how about giving a gift that’s green? Not cash, I mean a living plant. It doesn’t have to be a huge bouquet of roses or even a flower. Last week, I attended a luncheon with friends and our hostess gave each of us a gift of herbs to take home. My pot contained cilantro and oregano. Others had combinations of mint, sweet basil, rosemary, thyme, dill, and sage. Some of us will plant them in our gardens and others will keep them on our window sills. All of us will smile and think of our hostess as we enjoy their fresh flavor in our favorite dishes this summer.

 Oregano &Cilantro

A “green” gift doesn’t need to cost much. Most of us don’t have plants available yet from our own gardens to give away this time of year, but the garden centers at many stores are now open and have four-packs of herb or flower seedlings ready to plant or pot. Fancy containers for them are not necessary either. Look around your pantry or basement. Got an old cup, tea tin, or Mason jar? Fill it with potting soil and tie a pretty ribbon on it. If giving an herb, a label with its name is helpful since they don’t tend to be as readily identifiable to hard-core gardeners as flowers. Recipes are also fun to receive with an herb gift.

 pot possibilities

It’s been a long, ol’winter. Reach out to a special person in your life and put a little “green” in it. The smile on your friend’s face will be worth it.

 

Happy Earth Day!              skunk 2013                   

 

 

Add Orchids to Your Christmas Decor

phalaenopsis

When you think of Christmas flowers, chances are poinsettias are the first one to come to mind. It used to be they came in either red or white, but now they are available in pink, blue, lavender—a variety of colors, and adorned with glitter. Other traditional holiday flowers include Christmas Cactuses with their beautiful pink blooms and amaryllis that come in cheerful reds, pinks, whites, and stripes. If you’re looking for a last minute gift, many are on sale right now.

 

Christmas decor

Actually, it was a great sale that led me to purchase my favorite Christmas flower of 2014: an orchid. I happened to be at a Home Depot a couple of weeks ago and found phalaenopsis orchids for $5 each. I used great self-restraint and bought only two. At first thought, orchids and Christmas don’t seem to mix. But I believe beautiful flowers of any variety will accent any occasion or season.

white phalaenopsis

 

purple phalaenopsis
If you have some orchids on sale in your area, don’t wait to buy them until after the holidays because they don’t seem “Christmasy.” Perhaps a flower that stops us in our tracks is just what we need during the Christmas rush.

christmas orchids

May the peace of Christmas be in your hearts and homes.

 

Hummingbird Swing

hummingbird swing garden

I never knew hummingbirds liked to swing, but evidently they do, because I found a hummingbird swing for sale at our local hardware store. The idea fascinated me. I had never thought about hyperactive hummingbirds ever resting, but they do sit—just not for as long as I do. I showed the swing to my husband and he thought he could make one using materials we had at home. The above picture is one of his products.

hummngbird swing

Although No 9 wire would work well, he used copper wire for its ornamental appeal. The wire could also be decorated with paint or an overlay of fine wire. For this swing, the sides of the square are five inches long and the bottom rung (hummingbird seat) is the plastic body of an ink pen that he painted red. A wooden peg or dowel rod would work nicely, too. He used pliers to shape the ornamental metal on top of the square and then soldered them in place. The red heart came off of an old pair of Valentine’s Day socks I had. The red ornament is supposed to help attract the hummingbirds to the swing.

We’ve had several destructive storms since March, so I set my humming bird swing in front of our house to keep it from blowing away. I’d love to set it in a more open flower bed in the middle of our front yard, but I think I’d be asking for trouble. Most people place them near their hummingbird feeders. A hummingbird was working over the flower you see in the picture about ten minutes before I set the swing in place. I hope he’ll return soon and will decide to “sit a spell.”

hummingbird swings

I also hope you all are enjoying many hummingbird visitors. And if you have a swing, maybe they’ll sit and visit for a while.

Paperwhites, My Winter Friends

15" Paperwhites

Remember the paperwhite bulbs I found on sale after Christmas?  Here they are almost four weeks later. As you can see, they sprouted up so nice and tall at 15 inches. An added benefit is that I can smell their sweet scent while sitting on our couch which is nine and a half feet away.  They make our living room look and smell like spring!

paperwhite closeup

I’ve been so happy with them that I snatched up an amaryllis bulb that was on sale at Lowe’s.  Here it is, all potted up and ready to grow.  It should be blooming in February.  With any luck, maybe we’ll have some crocus blooming in March…outside!

Amaryllis bulb

Think warm, spring thoughts!

Preparing Your Garden for Christmas

christmas picture

I know, we just had Christmas but it’s never too soon to start planning what gifts you’d like to give in December.  It’s hard to find presents that both fit your budget and suit your friends’ and relatives’ tastes. Homemade gifts are always welcome because they are unique and come from your hands and heart.

If you plan to give gifts from your garden, you may need to plan and get your seeds now.  But what could come from the garden that would be suitable for Christmas?

Luffa:  These gourds make great sponges for use in the shower. They require a long growing season, so you’d need to start them early.

Salsa:  It’s fun to try different recipes and ingredients. For a change, I want to grow tomatillos for salsa this year.

Relishes:  There are so many different types using cucumbers, or zucchini, or green tomatoes. A relish variety pack would make a great gift.

Pickles: Sweet or dill, homemade pickles are loved.

Canned Tomatoes:  It sounds like a strange gift, but a can of home-grown tomatoes in the middle of winter is a real blessing whether it’s used in soup, chili, or eaten right out of the jar.  It’s a taste of summer during the “bleak mid-winter.”  tomato jar

Zucchini or pumpkin bread: These can be baked in the late summer and frozen for later.

Painted gourds: The possibilities with gourds are endless.

Roasted pumpkin seeds: Fun snacks to eat while watching bowl games.

Sunflower seeds: They can be snacks for people or for the birds.

Jams and jellies: They are always a favorite.

This is such a short list of the Christmas gift possibilities, but hopefully it will provide a few ideas when you order your seeds in the next few weeks. With a little planning, your garden gifts will be a hit at the Holidays.  Don’t be surprised if your friends and family return your glass jars with a note requesting a refill.