DIY: A Wild and Foraged Christmas Bouquet

My favorite arrangements to make for the holidays are those inspired by my natural surroundings. What better way than to take a walk in the woods, on the beach, in the mountains, finding unlikely elements for a wild, seasonal arrangement? When making a wild and foraged arrangement, I tend to choose a foliage that can serve as a base, and help guide the feel of the arrangement. 

Photographs by Sophia Moreno-Bunge.

 an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: This year, I decided to use castor clippings as my base, since they grow rampantly all along the Pacific Coast Highway in California where I find myself for the holidays. I love the star-like shapes of the leaves, and their surreal size. I also decided to use one of my favorites, foraged bottle brush—a tree that screams California Christmas to me, because of its luscious red color.

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: Star-shaped castor leaves.

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: Bright red bottle brush. With castor and bottle brush on my mind, I took a trip to the downtown Los Angeles Flower Market in search of a few more “ingredients” for my holiday arrangement.

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: At the market I chose striped red and white amaryllis, a beautiful bundle of pine (whose bunch shapes are incredible) and some wild rose hip branches. 

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: All of the ingredients. In addition to your flowers and greenery, you’ll also need a large vase, preferably with a tapered opening to keep your stems from spilling out, and a pair of clippers.

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: To begin, I fill the vase with water and add my castor and pine base, creating an architectural shape. The beauty of this sort of arrangement is that you can supplement with your own floral materials, and use whatever you have handy as your foliage base. Make sure you cut your stems at a diagonal, and leave each stem as long as your vase will allow so they reach the bottom of the vase and can drink as much water as possible (you can measure the stem up to the vase before you cut it!).

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: I added a cascade of bottle brush on one side of my arrangement, accentuating its natural shape.

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: Next I added rose hip branches. And last, three stems of amaryllis (or your own floral choice). Amazingly, the amaryllis buds will continue to bloom over the next few says, filling out the arrangement even more.

an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

Above: The finished product.

Taken by the rose hips? See Rose Hip Wreaths from the Hedgerow. For more seasonal DIY ideas, see all of our Holidays posts.

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Chemical Free Gardening: Top Tips For An Organic Garden

You are committed to the idea of planting a garden that works well with the environment. Your timing could not be better. This article contains helpful adivce to get you started in your organic gardening endeavors.

A tip to prevent dirt from accumulating under your fingernails while working in the garden, use a bar of soap before starting. Rake your fingernails across a bar of soap and it will seal the undersides of your nails so that dirt will not collect beneath them. When you are finished in the garden, just use a brush to scrape the soap from beneath them and your nails will still be sparkling clean.

Don’t underestimate perennials in making your gardening life easier. Perennials will continue to come back every year and will only require minimal maintenance such as weeding and fertilizing. You’ll save time by not having to plant and care for seedlings or starts. Different perennials will perform better in different climates, but sorrel greens and horseradish should work almost anywhere.

Run your fingernails across a bar of soap before you go out to weed or plant in your garden. The soap that collected under your nails will prevent the collection of dirt while you work. Afterward, a simple scrub with a nail brush will remove the soap and leave your hands clean, with much less effort.

You need to be realistic about what your garden can and can’t produce. No matter how tempting a particular vegetable may be, if it’s not suitable for your climate, it’s not going to grow well. You’ll get more out of your garden if you focus on plants that are right for your area.

Plan your gardening accordingly to the weather. If you live in an area where the ground freezes during the winter, do not plant anything before frost is expected. If you live in a warmer area, take a break during the warmest months of summer to avoid wasting too much water.

Avoid rose mildew. This fungus affects many types of roses, especially in wet weather, when days are warm and nights are cold. Small gray or white spots will appear on the plant, forming a felt-like down. Shoot tips are killed and buds fail to open. Don’t plant roses close together – they need good air circulation to avoid mildew. Spray any affected plants with fungicidal soap.

If you do not want to expose your family to harmful pesticides in your garden, consider using organic pesticides. Organic pesticides do not have the harmful chemicals commonly found in ordinary pesticides. Fragrant herbs like rosemary, basil, and mint are often disliked by pests, and they are good choices to plant around your garden to ward off pests.

To produce the largest and tastiest fruits and vegetables from vine plants, don’t be afraid to pinch off blossoms, as well as the vine, that often trails far and away from the main plant. If you minimize the blossoms on a plant and the distance from the plant to those blossoms, the plant is better able to provide more nutrients to the blossoms that remain which will then result in the biggest and best fruits and vegetables.

When and why should shrubs be pruned? Most shrubs need pruning to increase flowering. Deciduous spring and early flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering. Cut back old wood to encourage new growth. The buds for next year’s flowers will appear on this new wood. Late summer flowering shrubs should be pruned in spring. They will produce flowers on the shoots that grow immediately after pruning. Winter flowering shrubs simply need pruning in early spring to clean up any dead or diseased branches.

If you have plants that are tall, support them with stakes. This will prevent tall plants from drooping over when they are heavy with blooms, which can look very messy. Support climbing shrubs with a lattice to keep the rambling vines under control and to prevent them from invading another plant area.

Slide your fingernails against a bar of soap to prevent dirt from getting under your nails. The dirt doesn’t necessarily hurt you, but you will save time and effort when cleaning your hands later. Instead of having to dig underneath your nails, you can just use a nailbrush to quickly remove the soap residue.

Get rid of any garden pests immediately. Garden pests, such as red spider mites, ants, whitefly, and aphids, can infect your plants with various diseases, so if you notice any of the plants in your garden dying or failing to thrive, check for pests first. To get rid of garden pests, invest in a good pesticide.

You should now feel better about your organic gardening knowledge. Even veteran organic gardeners might have learned a thing or two. The tips included here will help you create the most beautiful and abundant organic garden you can, so enjoy!

Salvias Down South 15 Sages to Pink Up Landscapes

Winter is a good time for warm thoughts about rosy colors pinking up the landscape. Not only is pink pleasant, but it is soothing. As psychologists discovered in the late 20th century, it's also the color of calm. Researchers have identified at least one shade of pink — a vivid color now known as drunk tank pink — as lessening aggressive moods of people who are incarcerated. Pink is also a color used in serenity gardens. Flowers by the Sea details 15 pink sages here, some of which bloom in winter.
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Organic Gardening Guidelines That You Must Know

A subject like gardening can get people interested, but at the same time, send them away. The thing about gardening is that you have to learn the ins and outs of how to grow a prosperous garden. Tips like the ones in this article should help you do just that.

Find the crops that grow well in your local climate and the soil in your garden. If you try to force a plant that doesn’t like your weather, you’ll end up putting out a lot of work for very little result. What grows well one year will probably grow well next year too, so plant it again.

Use groundcover perennials in sunny areas. Groundcover perennials can be used as an alternative to grass where there is minimal foot traffic, or in an area where grass is difficult to maintain, such as on a slope. They are also handy in between larger perennials, as they help to suppress weeds and keep the soil moist and cool. Good choices for groundcover perennials are creeping thyme, ajuga, various sedums, alyssum and armeria.

Run your fingernails across a bar of soap before you go out to weed or plant in your garden. The soap that collected under your nails will prevent the collection of dirt while you work. Afterward, a simple scrub with a nail brush will remove the soap and leave your hands clean, with much less effort.

Plan your gardening accordingly to the weather. If you live in an area where the ground freezes during the winter, do not plant anything before frost is expected. If you live in a warmer area, take a break during the warmest months of summer to avoid wasting too much water.

A great tip to having a fantastic garden is to be realistic. When shopping the glossy packages of seeds are very appealing, yet many of them only grow in specific climates. Be realistic to what grows in the area and do not plant items that do not grow well. It is so disappointing to plant a garden and have almost no fruits and vegetables come from it.

If frost has killed your pumpkins before they’ve had a chance to turn orange, it’s not too late to save them. Cut the pumpkins off the vine, leaving a minimum of 4 inches of the vine on the top of the pumpkin. Wash them thoroughly with water mixed with a small amount of bleach to prevent the development of mold. Bring them inside, and place them in a warm, sunny location, turning them occasionally so the sun can reach all the green areas of the pumpkin. Within a few weeks or less, you’ll have bright orange pumpkins to carve into jack-o-lanterns or use to make homemade pumpkin pie.

Divide large clumps of perennials. Some perennial plants lose vigor and flower less well if the clump becomes too large. Plants like Shasta daisies, bearded irises, phlox, chrysanthemum and coneflower benefit from being divided every three years. Without division they become congested, and the center of the clump will begin to die out. Simply dig the entire plant out, keeping the root ball intact, and divide it into pieces using a shovel. By doing this, you will have at least two or three new plants!

Get your soil professionally tested. The small upfront cost of soil testing will pay for itself many times over. By knowing exactly what type of soil you have as well as what nutrients are present will give you important information for a successful garden. Once you are aware of deficiencies, you can take steps to amend the soil and get your garden off to a good start.

You can test the viability of your seeds by soaking them overnight. Drop them into a container of water and keep them in a dark place for a day. Check the location of the seeds. If they sank to the bottom, they are usable. If they float the the top, they may be dead.

Consider getting a soil analysis report for the dirt in your garden. This procedure is relatively inexpensive and can tell you the type of nutrients you should add to your soil in order to have a more productive garden. A local farm supply or co-op can look through the report and guide you on what to buy.

To make sure you don’t accidentally dig up bulbs in the following year, mark them with twigs. They should stay in place over the winter, and will be an easy reminder when you’re planting new things in the spring. This is especially nice because you don’t have to buy anything beforehand. Just grab some nearby twigs and put them in place.

Hopefully. now that you have a greater insight on ways you can be successful in growing a home garden, you should start feeling optimistic about your garden’s potential. Now that you do have this knowledge, start implementing it in your garden on a daily basis and before you know it, your home garden should prosper.

Improve The Look Of Your Garden With This Useful Information.

What if you could create an oasis of calm in your own backyard? Mother Nature has blessed us with trees, grass, flowers and many interesting and exotic plants that can add beauty, tranquility and serenity to your yard. There is something about being surrounded by nature and living plants that soothes the soul and relaxes the mind. Start small and choose a few plants that complement your yard, then start building your own private oasis to access any time you want.

To make your garden more productive, allocate space based on what grows best in your area instead of simply choosing your most favorite crops. Although you may love beets, if tomatoes grow better in your climate then give them more room in your garden and make your beet plantings smaller. Ask your neighbors or take a look around your area to see what grows best in your region.

Pay attention to the compatibility of your plants. You can plant tall plants, such as tomatoes, and use them to shade such sun-sensitive plants as lettuce and spinach. These combinations can reduce the amount of fertile space your garden requires while also increasing the yield of all the types of plants you have.

If you have specimen plants which need warmer climate zones than the rest of your garden, you can easily create a suitable space for them within your regular garden! Just create a shelter with a south facing wall which will become a solar collector, absorbing warmth in the day and releasing it at night, thus providing your specimen plants with the perfect environment!

Don’t grow food no one will eat. Just because you can grow something, doesn’t mean you should. If your kids don’t like spinach now, fresh spinach from the garden isn’t going to change that and much will go to waste. Consider what you and your family like to eat and then determine your garden accordingly.

If you want your garden to be successful, focus on your soil. In order to protect your plants from unwanted pests, it is essential to have healthy soil. It will nourish your vegetation and help them grow into strong plants that are able to fight off disease and damage from bugs.

Create a record journal for your garden. Keep track of when you planted your seeds, when they germinated, how many grow to full size, the yield, etc. You will have more knowledge about your plants and a good idea of how successful your methods are. Use this information for your next grow cycles.

Did you know that a tablespoon of powdered milk sprinkled around your rose bushes early in the season can help to prevent fungus growth on your beautiful flowers later in the spring? If you prefer to use a spray, you might try diluting some skim milk and spraying the plant leaves. The lower fat content in skim milk reduces the chance that it will turn rancid.

Think about planting perennials rather than annuals when it comes to flower gardening. The life cycle of an annual lasts only one year at most, which can be a waste of money and time. Perennials come back year after year for as long as four years, which means less time planting each year, and more time to enjoy instead.

Did you know that cute lady bugs are beneficial to plants because they kill harmful aphids? Lady beetles, also known as ladybugs, eat large numbers of aphids throughout its life. One beetle can eat 5,000 aphids! You can purchase ladybugs at a garden center, or through online resources, if you don’t have any in your garden. Plants love ladybugs!

Evergreens are best planted at least four weeks before the ground freezes. This will allow the tree to establish some roots before the soil freezes in the late fall. Evergreens do not drop their leaves in the fall, but continue to lose moisture, so it is important to get them in the ground well before the first frost.

Mini roses are very popular and are low maintenance. They come in many bright colors and offer a variety of interesting flower shapes. However, if you want to add a rose to your garden for the fragrance, then a mini-rose may not be a good choice because they produce little to no fragrance. If fragrance is your preference, try a larger, hybrid rose for the most intense fragrance.

Start your plants from cuttings to save loads of money! Plants are expensive these days. Many, however, can be started by taking clippings from other plants. All that’s required for some is just putting the cut ends in a glass of water. For the more difficult species, just dip the ends in some rooting hormone and push them into some damp sand.

That’s all there is to it. Just follow the tips above and you will be able to enhance your existing garden or start a new garden from scratch. You may want to add garden accessories as well, but whatever you do — creating your own garden space creates an instant getaway that you can indulge in any time you feel the need.

Shopper’s Diary: Canyon Culture—and Cacti—at Hollyflora in LA

Hollyflora Market & Courtyard in LA makes you feel as if you’ve walked into a perfectly curated artist’s loft; unique ceramics sit alongside art books you want to look through, and handmade chairs perfect for lounging are draped with the most beautiful textiles.

The boutique, recently opened by Hollyflora co-owners Holly Vesecky and Rebecca Uchtman, sells their artist friends’ work, along with seasonal flower bundles and arrangements, and accessories you might need for a dinner party. If you’re lucky, you might catch glimpses of Holly and Becky creating designs for one of their events, since their floral workspace is just behind the shop. 

Photography by Sophia Moreno-Bunge for Gardenista, except where noted. 

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: The market is housed in an old hangar building; the high ceilings and big windows give it a very airy feel. Plants of all sorts, perfect for the dry LA weather, can be found all over the space.

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: When designing and curating for the shop, Holly and Becky take into consideration time and place—they are inspired by ’70s psychedelia and Canyon culture. 

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: Ceramics made specially for Hollyflora.

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista  

Above: These delicate beeswax candles are made by hand in the studio; other locally made scented candles and lotions are sold, as well. 

Hollyflora | Gardenista

Above: Art books for inspiration. Over the years, Hollyflora has collaborated with LACMA and the Hammer Museum. 

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: Linens by Heather Taylor are among the many special finds. 

Hollyflora | Gardenista

Above: Antique Indian hot pots, perfect for a dinner party. Or pine cones. 

Hollyfloral Market | Gardenista

Above: A Dada-inspired vase made by Holly’s artist husband, Josh Beckman.

Hollyfloral Market | Gardenista

Above: Comfortable handmade chairs—and the coolest geometric side tables. 

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: An exotic arrangement made with nerine lilies, ligustrum berries, and proteas. Photograph by Jeana Sohn for LA in Bloom

Hollyfloral Market | Gardenista

Above: Intricately handmade plant hangers. Photograph by Jeana Sohn for LA in Bloom.

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: The market and workspace give way to an open-air courtyard in the back where Holly and Becky have planted unusual plants they can cut from to make arrangements. They’ll also use the space for workshops, gatherings, and parties. 

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: Can’t go without the classic California citrus. Holly’s mother has an orchard in Ojai, a source of inspiration and special materials she and Becky use in their work. 

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: A shady area reserved for the begonias, abutilons, and the most wild bleeding heart vine I’ve come across (look this up immediately.)

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: Begonias (L) and abutilons.

Hollyflora Market | Gardenista

Above: A potting table covered in succulents. 

 

Above: Hollyflora Market & Courtyard is located at 5046 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019. Hours are from 9 am to 5 pm from Tuesday through Friday, and by appointment.

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Stuck With Your Organic Garden? Use These Tips To Find Your Way!

It’s hard to find good produce in the store these days. Farmers use strip farming techniques to get a lot of tasteless fruit and vegetables, instead of fewer quality products. If this is a problem that affects your life, read on to find out how to make your own organic garden at home!

A trick to help measure in the garden is to take one of the long handled garden tools like a shovel and mark on its handle using a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, mark out the feet and inches on its handle and when specific distance is required in planing, have a handy measuring device is close at hand.

For planting spring bulbs in the winter, decide where you want them to go and dig individual planting holes at the correct spacing. Place some small four inch plastic pots inside the holes with the rims slightly exposed and fill with soil. When spring comes, planting the bulbs is a breeze. Just remove the pots and place the bulbs in the empty hole. Fill the hole with the soil that was in the pot.

If you are planning an irrigation system for your garden, consider a drip irrigation system. A conventional system using sprinkler heads loses a lot water through evaporation. However, a drip system irrigates your garden by a constant slow drip of water beneath the surface, which means less water is wasted through evaporation.

Consider growing wheat grass or cat grass near the plants your cat enjoys eating. You could also repel your pet by planting rosemary or placing citrus fruit peels around your garden.

Recycle your old pantyhose for garden use! Pantyhose make exceptional garden ties as they are very malleable, very strong and yet extremely soft, so they won’t saw into the plants you are tying up. Best of all, since you are recycling, this solution is another great way to save money.

An excellent way to store the goodies from a homegrown garden is to freeze them in small batches. Using small sealable plastic bags and cutting small amounts of fresh vegetables every few days will help store the extras from the garden. Just bag and toss in the freezer and the packets can be added at any time to soups and pastas year round.

To ensure the vitality of your garden, research what plants are native to your area. While imported plants may look lovely, they may have health difficulties growing in your climate. Native plants and produce will easily be able to adapt to changes in the weather, and will keep your garden healthy and strong.

Use plants to get some autumn color. However, that does not have to be the case! Autumn is the most colorful season of all, foliage-wise. Maple trees come in a variety of fall colors ranging from yellow to deep crimson, as do Beech trees and Dogwood. Some very good shrubs to choose are barberry, hydrangea, and cotoneaster, which is a member of the rose family.

Wind up your water hose after each time that you water your garden. Winding up your hose will keep you from tripping over it, and help you find the watering end of the hose easily any time you need it. Winding the hose on a hose reel will also help your hose last longer.

To make a creative English garden, include many different kinds of plants and vary their height in the same garden bed. By using plants which are all the same height your garden will appear flat and boring.

If you have to lift something heavy you need to lift with your knees. Many people make the mistake of lifting with their back when they are lifting heavy objects. This can lead to a lot of back ache and could even cause extreme damage. You should never lift anything that is extremely heavy without help from someone else.

It is important to rotate your organic plants regularly when you are attempting to grow an indoor garden. Plants bend toward wherever a light source is. If you do not rotate your plants there is a good chance that they will all bend toward one side which will limit the amount of vegetables that grow on the plants.

When first growing a garden, attempt to put as much effort into the first bed as possible. Land that hasn’t been used for a while needs an overhaul to begin changing into a viable spot for plants. Usually these regions either lack the right nutrients or consistency of soil. If you plan to make a garden out of patch, make sure that it has all the right pre-conditions to planting.

An organic garden right in your home is a great thing to have. You’ll love the fresh, organic produce that you pull right out of your back yard, for free! Apply the tips from this article now, to stop relying on farmers, who are only out to make a quick buck. Start enjoying quality produce, right from your own home.

DIY Poinsettia: A Common Christmas Plant Goes Luxe

Ubiquitous at this time of year, poinsettias are often dismissed as too common, or worse, too tacky. (The fact that their pots come swathed in garish foils doesn’t help.) This holiday season, I set out to see if I could reimagine this common Christmas plant—and turned it into a cut flower in an exotic holiday bouquet.

Read on for materials and step-by-step instructions:

Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, white poinsettia, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Already better: simply replanting the poinsettia from plastic into an earthy Italian pot makes it looks more warm and natural. And by removing some of the excess leaves, you can also see the more dramatic form of the plant. Each bloom looks like a firework.

Native to Mexico and Central America, poinsettia’s (Euphorbia pulcherrima) commonly come in red, pink and white. For my bouquet, I chose a white poinsettia plant from my local grocery store.

Materials

  • White poinsettia plant
  • Branches of berries or rose hips
  • Evergreen boughs (I used leucothe)
  • A footed vase or bowl
  • Floral foam (available at most craft stores)
  • Candle
  • Sturdy scissors or shears

 

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, rose hips, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: To emphasize the newly discovered wild warmth of my cream colored poinsettia, I chose an unruly spray of persimmon rose hips. These are quite common. I have them in my yard.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, leucothoe, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Found at Winston Flowers (my favorite local florist), the lush, variegated foliage and crimson buds of Leucothe seemed the perfect complement for my Christmas arrangement. Note: if you can’t find leucothe (you know, that shrub with the clusters of small, white, bell flowers that bloom in spring), then any similarly expressive green will do.

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, non-floral supplies, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: Besides flora, for this bouquet you will need: a pedestal bowl, wet floral foam (available at most craft stores), a candle, and sturdy scissors or shears.

Step 1:

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, constructing the base, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: When working with foaming in a shallow bowl, you want to distribute the weight of your specimens evenly on all sides. Otherwise the foam may float and your bouquet will tip.

Cut your foam, if necessary, and place it in the bowl with water. Gently turn the foam over to make sure it’s completely saturated.

Then begin layering your longer pieces (rose hips and leucothe) on each side. First ,measure the specimen to determine the right length. Then give the stem a fresh diagonal cut, leaving about 1.5 inches excess to stick into the foam. Note that you don’t want too much stem in the foam as these will get in the way of the opposite branches and can cause the foam to break apart. Continue to add plants, alternating from one side to the other until your get the desired base. 

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, base, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: My base, constructed.

Step 2:

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, poinsettia sap, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: After the poinsettia is cut, a milky sap will bleed from the stem and cause the flower to die quickly. To prolong the life of a cut poinsettia flower, it is necessary to sear the stem before you place it in water. 

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, searing a poinsettia, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: After cutting the stem to the desired length, sear it by holding the end over a flame, turning it around to scorch all sides, for about five seconds. 

Poinsettia bouquet with rop hips, seared poinsettia stem, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: A seared poinsettia stem will prevent the sap from bleeding, and still will allow the plant to draw water. Note that it is not necessary to sear where you removed leaves. Only the main stem needs to be cauterized.

Step 3:

Poinsettia bouquet, adding flowers ; Gardenista

Above: Place four or five seared poinsettia flowers toward the center of the arrangement in front and in back.

Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement 2, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: An explosion of holiday cheer. In a silver pedestal bowl, my poinsettia bouquet is both wild and formal.

Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement detail, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: A long lasting arrangement; after being seared, cut poinsettia flowers will last more than a week.

Poinsettia bouquet with rose hips, finished arrangement, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Above: My bouquet graces the corner of my dining room. Next year I may try pink poinsettias with purple privet berries. Or, if I’m feeling really adventurous, I might even attempt something with the red poinsettias (perhaps pairing them with  white gooseberries and black pearl amaryllis).

Explore more outside-the-box ways to arrange this common holiday flower in Christmas Miracle: 5 Poinsettias That Aren’t Tacky. And then there’s always the poinsettia cocktail, served at during A Woodland Holiday Party.

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Quick Digs: Overwintering Salvias in Containers Outdoors

In chilly climates, such as USDA Cold Hardiness Zones with winter temperatures lower than those of Zone 8, it is difficult for potted plants to survive outdoors when the mercury dips. Soil in containers freezes harder and thaws more rapidly than the ground. So plants in containers are subjected to bigger changes in conditions on a winter patio or entryway. This is the third article in our current Quick Digs series on preparation for winter in the Salvia garden. This article discusses bottom-line rules for improving chances of survival when overwintering sages in containers and suggests a variety of ideas for overwintering outdoors.
Flowers by the Sea