Saturday, November 20, 2021

Gardens and the Holiday Season


As we move into the season of all things merry and bright, us gardeners want to remind you that plants can play a pivotal role in your holiday season as well. Below are just a few ideas….


Plants make great gifts


Granted, being gardeners, we might be a little biased here, but really, plants DO make great gifts! Everyone can use an extra houseplant or two to brighten up a dull spot in their home or workspace. Plus, the gift a plant seems to say “I have faith in you. You can keep this living thing alive!”, and, well, we all need that kind of encouragement in our lives right now, don’t we?  If you aren’t sure what type of plant to give someone, go for easy to grow houseplants like Sansevieria (snake plant), aloes, jade plants or Peace Lily.


This time of year, we also start to see some seasonal favorites pop up: this is when the classic poinsettia makes an appearance, of course. This year, don’t throw them all out when the season passes – they can make a really cool little shrub/tree when planted outside, or be a year round houseplant! We also start to see one our favorites, the  “Christmas cactus”.  These are really a type of cacti native to Brazil, the common name for them stemming from when they tend to bloom. Super easy to grow, we think these are a really underrated plant! Don’t forget about living Christmas tree options, too – a cool way to bring nature inside, and to grow something outside once the season is over. 


Pumpkin succulents and other garden themed centerpieces


Bring the outside in with some unique table d├ęcor this holiday season! “Pumpkin succulents” are pretty easy to make. I am a fan of NOT carving out the pumpkin and instead just glue moss to the top of the intact pumpkin, and then attach succulent cuttings. I find they last much longer this way, in fact, it’s quite surprising how long these last! When the pumpkin starts to look a little mushy, you can either peel the moss off and plant it with the succents intact, cut of the top of the pumpkin and plant it with the succulents growing on top, or, just plant the whole pumpkin up to the top. With that last option, you’ll get a succulent garden, some compost, and likely some pumpkins growing from the seeds the following year!

Living wreaths


The trend of ‘living wreaths’ has been gaining traction for years now. In a nutshell, it’s about taking branches and shaping them into a circle (you can buy premade ones at most craft stores), and in a similar way as you would with succulent pumpkins, adding moss, and then attaching a variety of succulent cuttings to it; you can find lots and lots of ‘how to’ videos of the process online.  You can easily give such wreaths some holiday flair by including pine cones, faux or real (dried) red berries, ribbon and other seasonal bling to your creation.


Making the wreaths is also a great group activity for holiday parties and gatherings. Rather than watch TV together on Thanksgiving, enjoy the California sunshine and go outside and make some living wreaths and bring a bit of nature into your holiday celebrations!



We hope this holiday season finds you and yours enjoying nature and getting lots of time to play outside. Bring some plants into your holiday celebrations this year, and get your nature fix!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Fall Harvest


Fall Harvest


It’s almost pumpkin spice time! Regardless of if the weather cooperates with our #fallvibes or not, moving into the autumn months is one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe it’s the new school year, but I’ve always associated this time of year with new starts, new beginnings and potential. It’s also one of my favorite times of year as a gardener. With that in mind, for those with plants on the brain, there are three areas to focus on for the upcoming months: cleaning up your garden, replanting outside, and making sure you are well stocked on houseplants for the winter months to come!


Fall and early winter months are ideal times for getting your ‘garden house in order’. Think of it as spring cleaning…only in the fall, and you know, in your garden! This is the time of year we clean up our little nursery, as well as our clients gardens. Prune, round up leaves and other debris (compost ‘em but don’t let them rot in beds!) bring in some fresh soil amendments, and do some general ‘sprucing up’.


Rudbeckia, poppies and salvias are your ‘standard cottage garden’ plants to put in the ground this time of year, setting up your garden for guarantee blooms in the months to come. Hardy and tough, these are great additions, and do well when planted in the fall and early winter months.  Plus, these plants will continue to show up in your garden year after year: let poppies go to seed, and rudbeckias and salvias get cut back in the winter so that they can look stunning in the spring.


Looking for some indoor plant ideas? Indoor plants aren’t as dependent on seasons as outdoor plants are, though availability does differ based on the time of year. If you are looking to bring some blooms indoors, check out the trusty “Christmas Cactus”, technically a cactus native to Brazil called “Schlumbergera”. They bloom near the end of fall and start of winter, and are a great way to bring some cherry blooms indoors! We love Caladiums, too – though they don’t bloom, they provide great color and are easy to grow.


Are you in the ‘I want to grow houseplants but I don’t know where to start” club? There are three plants that you can’t go wrong with. Sansevieria (commonly referred to as ‘snake plant’) comes in all sorts of cool colors and shapes. This plant is super forgiving (couldn’t we all use some more forgiveness?): they are easy to grow, can tolerate a wide range of light conditions and doesn’t need much water. That description could also apply to the Pothos family, too – we love them for their color, hardiness, and Instgramability! Rounding out our list of ‘you can totally grow this indoors’ would be the always popular Philodendrom family: lush, happy, and easy to grow, they are a great addition to your houseplant family. Worried you don’t have enough sunlight in your place to grow houseplants? You can get a “grow light” that replicates the spectrum of light provided at the sun, and you don’t need a special light fixture – there are bulbs available that fit standard lamps, we have seen them at Home Depot for less than $5!


We hope you get a chance to enjoy the changing season and all the promise that comes with it. We’ll be having a garden party as part of Country Roads annual Holiday Open House on Saturday November 6th – join us!


Enjoy the pumpkin spices and the sunshine!