By William Moss
- Peruse seed catalogs. You can find a plethora of interesting seed companies online. Sometimes just reading the catalog can be exciting. There are still people traveling the world and collecting exotic plants that will bring a bountiful harvest or a spectacular display to your garden. Now is the time to dream big. Have fun making your wish list. But before you order, take a reality check. Do you have the proper conditions for germinating seeds? Does your garden have the right sunlight, soil, and space needed for the plants on your list? Once your wish list squares with your actual conditions, then you can order. Combine your order with others to get bulk rates and reduced shipping charges. Give extra seed (and you'll have plenty) to community gardens, schools, and churches.
- Carry the holiday spirit into February by hosting a repotting party. Gather friends and family on a lazy weekend afternoon to divide, repot, and revive houseplants. This is a great opportunity to learn about and receive new plants with some personal history, and to gather special plants for gifts for the elderly or infirm.
- Don't limit yourself to giving cut flowers to your sweetie. Potted plants make beautiful, memorable gifts. If you choose wisely, they can last as long as your love, and in many cases longer. Garden centers, supermarkets, and big box stores have large selections. Mini roses, bellflowers (campanula), and primroses (primula) are colorful, floriferous, and low maintenance. In spring they can be planted in the garden to provide blooms year after year. Houseplants that make decorative, long-lasting gifts include the eternity plant (Zamioculcas sp.), butterfly orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.), and Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema spp.). Just think of how cool (and hopefully appropriate) it would be to give your sweetie an eternity plant on Valentine's Day.
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