The winter solstice, even before we started celebrating the birth of Christ, has always been associated with ‘bringing in the green’. By bringing still flowering and still growing plantlife into our homes, we rejoice in the fact that some things still bloom in the heart of winter, and look forward to new growth and rebirth as Spring comes. So it’s a very natural extension to bring flowers into your home and give them to friends and family at Christmas. One of the brightest and best is the glorious red poinsettia.
This crimson-leafed plant has become a staple of the Christmas home, with its splash of colour. It’s a symbol of purity, revered by the ancient Aztecs. Of course, it is the perfect Christmas plant made up of the traditional colours – red and green. It originated in central America and Mexico but is now exported all over the world. Poinsettias can die quickly however, if not cared for with these simple tips. It needs to be kept nice and warm, which isn’t always easy at Christmas. Try and position it away from the direct sunlight and above thirteen degrees centigrade. Well away from draughts, somewhere quite humid. Don’t over water the poor thing, but watch for when the compost dries out and then water thoroughly. Keeping it on a pebble tray will help with the humidity: or put it on the shower shelf! With a bit of care, your poinsettia could be yielding you new growth, leaves and even the tiny yellow budding flowers next winter too.
Hellebores are another favourite. Varieties such as the Christmas Rose (though it aint a rose at all) are widely given. Delicate, small flowers with white petals flourish in the wild throughout the Balkans and southern Europe. Their lovely evergreen leaves celebrate the traditional green of the festive season. Helleborus Niger is the Christmas rose, and it looks like a daisy. It blooms naturally from midwinter, so is the perfect Christmas cultivate. It will survive the cold temperatures and keep on providing a great display, right through the season. Next up is the Christmas cactus, or Schlumbergera.
This Brazilian cactus has vivid flowers, in red, pink, purple, white and several other colours. With hardy green stems and foliage, it’s an unusual and long-lasting gift for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. It actively flowers in midwinter if you keep it in a well lit place, but away from direct sunlight and heat sources. It likes to be humid but doesn’t appreciate overwatering. Once a week, when it’s starting to dry out, is perfect if you keep it indoors. Chrysanthemums are another flower that can naturally bloom through the deepest winter. Often the last flower standing in the beautiful and well-maintained garden, they make for excellent cut flowers to give at Yuletide. In Germanic legend, the Christ child presented himself to an impoverished family in the Black Forest, disguised as a beggar.
He revealed himself once they had welcomed him in and fed him, even though they had very little themselves. When he left the next morning, two white chrysanthemums were blooming outside their front door. Now, it’s a tradition to give them to families on Christmas Eve. Never forget the lovely, colourful displays that holly and mistletoe – two of the most traditional Christmas decorations – can offer. Rich greens, splashes of red and the white of the mistletoe berry make every hearth and home feel warm, seasonal and lush. Go to town, bring in the green, decorate your home and celebrate how nature keeps going even when the snow is deep on the ground. Read more at: http://www.queendecor.co.uk/